Applying for internships can be intimidating. You have to put yourself out there in a way that leaves you vulnerable to rejection and disappointment. But if you want to get ahead, you need to screw up your courage and apply.
Take it one step at a time.
- Browse the internship listings and identify some opportunities that appeal to you. Make note of deadlines. Many of the most desirable internships have application deadlines in October, November or December. But if you’ve missed those due dates, don’t despair; some internship programs accept applicants later in the winter and even in spring.
- If you don’t already have one, set up a LinkedIn account and create a detailed profile. If you’re on LinkedIn, update and polish your profile.
- Assemble your internship application materials, including:
- An attractive and concise one-page resume (see Resources for tips on resume writing)
- A digital portfolio with a bio, resume and samples of your best work (text stories, photos, videos, broadcast samples, videos, page design, etc.)
- PDFs of your 10-12 best clips (including a variety of breaking news, features and enterprise stories, ideally in different media)
- A one-page cover letter that captures who you are and why you want to work for this media organization. This letter should demonstrate your excellent writing skills, your attention to detail (no grammatical errors or misspelled names), and your reporting skills (show that you’ve researched the company and are familiar with the publication or media product). (See Resources for tips on cover letters.)
- Business cards (yes, you’re a professional now!)
4. Line up people who can write recommendation letters and/or serve as professional references. Be sure to ask people first; don’t assume that the professor who gave you a C in Media Law or the college newspaper adviser who had to nag you to spell names correctly is going to give you a glowing reference.