How to Get an Internship Without Any Experience

Published: Aug 25, 2016

 Education       Grad School       Internships       Job Search       Resumes & Cover Letters       
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Are you struggling to find an internship because you don’t have any work experience? When almost every internship requires some level of experience, it can seem impossible to make your foray into the working world. However, if you frame the experiences you do have by highlighting your skills that would be useful in a work setting, you’ll find that landing an internship is anything but impossible. Here are some ways you can build out your résumé to become a more desirable candidate for an internship, all while you’re still in school.

Join a club

If you’re not already part of one, join an extracurricular group on campus. Even if the activity seems unrelated to the industry you’re trying to enter, it can provide you with transferable skills that you can leverage in a job interview or cover letter. For example, if you’re an athlete, you can emphasize your ability to work well on a team or serve as a leader, both of which are skills that apply to a work setting.

Get a student job

Student employment can offer similar benefits to extracurricular clubs in terms of helping you excel in the internship application process. Yet a job provides some additional advantages, such as actual work experience that you can list when applying for an internship. No matter what your student job, you’ll report to a supervisor who can advocate for you and attest to your capabilities down the line. Many companies will ask you to provide references as part of your internship application, and your supervisor can serve as a wonderful resource for you.

Take relevant classes

Take advantage of any classes your school offers that are pertinent to the industry you wish to enter. You can list these on your résumé and reference them in an interview to demonstrate your initiative to learn as much as you can about a certain field. If you attend a liberal arts school that offers no preprofessional courses, that does not mean your classes are useless to your application process. Consider how you can leverage skills from your classes such as critical thinking or problem solving in an interview. And no matter what your career aspirations, take a writing course in college. To land a role at any company, you’ll need to be able to write a compelling cover letter to even be considered for a job.

Expand your skillset

To make your résumé stand out to employers, it can be helpful to list skills that differentiate you from other applicants. You can take online courses or even watch YouTube tutorials to become proficient in Photoshop, Excel, InDesign, and many other programs that will make you a more desirable candidate. Whether you know how to code or how to create a large social media following, make sure to emphasize the skills you have that can give you a competitive advantage over other applicants.


Perhaps the easiest, most surefire way to gain experience to add to your résumé is to volunteer. With companies caring more and more about corporate social responsibility, volunteering can only benefit you. It shows employers that you are committed to giving back to and getting involved in your community. You might even be able to volunteer in an area related to your anticipated career path; say you’re interested in education, and you volunteer by tutoring underprivileged children. This real-world experience can be just as valuable as that of an internship or a job, in the eyes of an employer. Ultimately, if you engage in activities that offer opportunities for you to highlight your skills to employers, you will have no problem accumulating enough experience to secure an internship.

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