top of page

How to get that first internship: A guide for freshmen and sophomores

When I entered Georgia Tech’s business program, I was confused about how to go about finding my first internship. I had heard competing stories about internship searches; that it was tough to get one as a freshman, that I should just apply to a ton of internships, and that it was just not possible at all. However, I eventually learned that all of these are incorrect.

There are many ways to get that first internship: the one that sets you up for other internships, which people often say is the hardest one to get. As a freshman or sophomore, oftentimes you see that the internships which you want are only for your summer after Junior Year. Many large companies only offer internships then, but there are many ways to get internships before your first 2 years are over. Here are a couple of ways that I have found very helpful to find internships, and they are broken down below.

Using your Network to find an internship

People always told me my network was very powerful. But what is my network? It is your friends, family, and everyone you know. Your best friend’s dad may be able to get you an internship for the company he works for, you may be able to intern for your high school or an alumni, and you may be able to intern for your uncle’s friend. Once you start to see the power of your network, all of the opportunities become clear (I will go into more detail in a future blog post about Networking). If you know someone who might be able to get you an internship, start by reaching out to them. See if you can get on the phone with them, and first learn more about the company. Afterwards, send them an email seeing if there are any internship opportunities, even part time ones. Many people make their internship search too transactional, and start by asking for an internship. First you should learn more about the company and them, coming prepared with a list of questions showing them you researched their company and came prepared. Then, once you have had a great conversation with them, you can follow up asking about internship opportunities. Oftentimes they will offer/bring up internship opportunities without you saying anything about it.

No Application does not equal no internship

Just because a company does not have an application for an internship does not mean they are not willing to have an intern. This is especially true for small companies. If you cannot find an internship through your network, you can look for nearby companies in your field using a google maps search. From there, you can look at their websites for how to contact them. Try the same strategy as the last paragraph, except this time it is with someone you don’t know. Just send them an email, and try to get them on the phone as well. Look for someone you have something in common with, such as attending the same college or mutual connections on linkedin. Those mutual connections might even be able to make an introduction for you. I have a friend who got his freshman internship from calling local engineering companies and seeing if they were looking for interns, and he ended up getting an internship that way. The point is sometimes you are able to find internships with companies even when there are no applications, it just takes a little effort on your part.

Finding an internship through your college

This seems like the most obvious one, but many people don’t take full advantage of their college resources to find an internship. You can start by talking with your career center about potential internships. Often you have to make appointments with them or check out their websites, but it can be well worth your time. Even as a freshman or sophomore, you can go to career fairs and introduce yourself to recruiters. Many people don't think about going to one until they are upperclassmen, but sometimes there are internships for underclassmen as well. Finally, older students are great mentors to help you find internships. Find students who have gotten an internship in a field you want one in, and try to grab coffee with them. This may seem intimidating to some, but most students are very willing to help as they have had people help them as well. They can even give your recommendations and referrals to companies they have interned at.

The Ball is in your court

Many students just don’t know how to go about getting that first internship. It can be a confusing and unknown process. Through the methods mentioned above, I hope that students can be aware of strategies and ways to get internships that they might not have been aware of before. This is not a holistic list of ways to get an internship, rather a few you might not have thought about. Hope it helps!

  • Matthew Pinto

692 views0 comments

Sign up to recieve my free newsletter!

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page