How Extracurriculars Can Help You Land an Internship

How are you supposed to get an internship with no previous experience? This is perhaps one of the most puzzling and anxiety-provoking aspects of the internship application process.

Many postings say at least one previous internship is preferred, so what do you do when your work experience consists of babysitting gigs and that one waitressing job you held back in high school?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… extracurricular activities can count as professional experiences. Did I just blow your mind? It’s true.

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Jennifer

For a student, this can mean…

Getting Involved on Campus

Joining a club can be rewarding in many ways: it allows you to explore an interest, meet new people, make connections, and provides leadership opportunities. So check out the clubs at school and make yourself useful – get on the executive board of an on-campus organization and put that position on your resume.

It will show that you can handle responsibilities outside of schoolwork, demonstrates initiative, and could even be a conversation starter with an interviewer. If you need help boosting your resume, consider these tips.

If clubs take up more time than you can allot, a more flexible option is…


Living in a city means infinite opportunities to get involved and gain professional experience. New York City is the setting for a number of festivals (such as the Dumbo Arts Festival and New York City Wine & Food Festival), many of which could always use a little help. Even the New York Public Library often has openings for volunteers in various fields.

Likewise, many event companies are on the lookout for some part-time helpers with relatively flexible schedules. Even FindSpark is always looking for writers, campus ambassadors, and community advisors to help out!

VolunteerMatch is a fantastic resource if this interests you.

Looking for something more industry-specific? Consider…

Joining a Professional Organization

Becoming a member of a group like PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) shows initiative and provides opportunities to meet people in the industry; learn more about current issues, successes, and concerns in the field; and provides access to internship/job postings that may be unavailable to the public.

Or, if you are looking for an option that won’t decrease your bank account balance…

Work On-Campus

School employees understand that many students have minimal work experience which makes a position on campus the ideal first job. So head over to your college career center to check out the available opportunities and start sending out those resumes.

Last but not least, remember…

It Never Hurts to Apply

My biggest regret in my internship search thus far has been my hesitance to send in a resume for a position I felt unqualified for. Even with several internships under my belt, I am hesitant to take that leap but push myself to look past that. You never know what skills or experiences will stand out to an employer or recruiter and you only disadvantage yourself by hiding from failure.

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Mariya is a junior at NYU studying for a B.S. degree in Media, Culture, and Communication and currently serving as a FindSpark campus ambassador. She is rarely seen without a mug of green tea, admittedly watches a little too much TV and Googles everything. You can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter .

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