From Applicant to Intern: Your Comprehensive Guide to Success

Nothing can be more demoralizing than the process of applying for internships and not meeting the standards set by potential employers. The constant cycle of submitting applications, waiting to hear back, and getting rejected can wear down a student’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self-worth. It can make them question their capabilities, and make them feel inadequate and unqualified.

Love or hate, there’s no denying that college students can have a complicated relationship with internships. On one hand, the prospect of landing their dream internship and gaining valuable experience and skills is exciting. On the other hand, the process of applying, interviewing, and competing with other applicants can be stressful and discouraging. 

However, the benefits of an internship program stretch far beyond the pay cheque. While receiving a stipend helps to cover expenses, the exposure to the working world and the real-life experience offered by internships can be incredibly valuable. Internships provide students with valuable hands-on experience that can help them make sense of their college education. They also provide the opportunity to build networks and create valuable contacts in their chosen field.



  • Utilize internship platforms: Explore specialized internship platforms such as Internshala, Letsintern and HelloIntern, which focus specifically on internship opportunities in India across various industries and sectors.
  • Network locally: Attend career fairs, workshops, and networking events in your city or region to connect with professionals and recruiters. Join industry-specific groups and associations to expand your network and learn about internship opportunities.
  • Consider remote internships: With the rise of remote work, consider applying for remote internships with companies based in India or abroad. Remote internships can offer flexibility and access to opportunities beyond your local area.
  • Language proficiency: Depending on the region and industry, proficiency in languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, or Kannada, in addition to English, can be beneficial. Highlight your language skills if relevant to the internship you’re applying for.
  • Consider referrals: In India, referrals are often a common way to secure internships and jobs. Reach out to your network, including family, friends, professors, and alumni, to see if they can refer you to internship opportunities within their companies or networks.
  • Tap into Alumni Networks: Leverage alumni networks from your school or college. Alumni often have strong connections in various industries and can provide valuable insights, referrals, or even direct internship opportunities. Reach out to alumni through social media platforms like LinkedIn or alumni associations to seek advice and potential leads.
  • Participate in Online Competitions and Hackathons: Participate in online competitions, hackathons, coding challenges, or case study competitions relevant to your field of interest. Winning or performing well in these competitions not only showcases your skills but also attracts the attention of recruiters and companies looking for top talent. Platforms like HackerRank, CodeChef, and Kaggle regularly host such competitions.
  • Seek Internships at Startups and SMEs: Consider interning at startups or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in addition to larger corporations. Startups and SMEs often offer dynamic environments, hands-on experience, and opportunities to work closely with senior management. Research emerging startups in your city or niche industries and reach out directly to express your interest in interning with them.
  • Volunteer for Social Impact Projects: Volunteer for social impact projects, non-profit organizations, or NGOs working on causes you’re passionate about. Not only does volunteering demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility, but it also provides valuable experience and networking opportunities. Websites like iVolunteer, Goonj, and GiveIndia can help you find volunteer opportunities in various sectors across India.
  • Create a Personal Brand Through Blogging or Content Creation: Establish yourself as a thought leader or subject matter expert in your field by creating and sharing valuable content online. Start a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, or social media account where you share insights, tutorials, project showcases, or industry news related to your area of interest. Building a strong online presence can attract the attention of recruiters and companies seeking interns with unique perspectives and skills.
  • Network with Professionals in Unconventional Ways: Think outside the box when networking with professionals. Consider reaching out to professionals through unconventional channels such as online forums, industry-specific Reddit communities, or niche interest groups on platforms like Discord or Slack. Engage in meaningful conversations, seek advice, and express your interest in internship opportunities. You never know where you might find your next connection or referral.


  • Update Your Resume: Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Include any relevant coursework, projects, or extracurricular activities.
  • Build a Strong LinkedIn Profile: Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential candidates. Make sure your profile is complete and professional. Connect with professionals in your field and join relevant groups.
  • Utilize Your University’s Resources: Many universities have career centers that offer resources such as job postings, resume workshops, and mock interviews. Take advantage of these resources to improve your chances of landing an internship.
  • Apply Early: Start looking for internships early, as many companies begin recruiting several months in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply.
  • Customize Your Cover Letter: Write a personalized cover letter for each internship application. Tailor it to the specific company and position, and highlight why you’re interested in the opportunity.
  • Prepare for Interviews: Practice common interview questions and be ready to talk about your experiences, skills, and career goals. Research the company beforehand so you can ask informed questions during the interview.
  • Create an Online Portfolio: Showcase your skills and projects through an online portfolio or personal website. Include samples of your work, such as writing samples, design projects, or code snippets. This gives recruiters a tangible way to see what you’re capable of.
  • Seek Out Micro-Internships: Consider applying for micro-internships or short-term projects offered by companies. These opportunities typically last a few weeks to a few months and allow you to gain valuable experience.
  • Offer to Volunteer or Freelance: If you’re having difficulty securing a traditional internship, consider offering to volunteer or freelance for a company or organization in your desired field. This allows you to gain relevant experience, expand your network, and potentially transition into a paid internship or job opportunity in the future.
  • Start a Relevant Side Project: Initiate a side project related to your field of interest. This could be anything from developing a mobile app to conducting independent research. Not only does this demonstrate your passion and initiative, but it also provides tangible evidence of your skills and abilities.

Internships are a lot like dating: they can be stressful, frustrating, and sometimes downright depressing. But, just like finding your soulmate, the right internship can change your career in positive ways. So don’t let the rejection get you down. Keep applying, keep learning, and keep pushing forward. Because when it comes to internships, it’s all about finding the one that’s right for you.

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