The Steps You Need to Take to Land a Summer Internship in New York City

When you don’t live in New York City, the thought of landing an internship here is both exciting and overwhelming. Not only do you have to stand out amongst people who have the opportunity to constantly schmooze with people IRL, but you have to convince your parents to let you live here.

Don’t fret, it’s totally possible to start networking when you’re out of state, submit stellar applications from afar, and ultimately earn your place in the city that never sleeps. Follow the tips below to get started on kicking the internship hunt’s butt.

Pick your top 5 companies and follow them everywhere.

Those dream companies – the ones with the great intern programs, the ones your friends worked for and loved it, the ones with the open roles you’d kick butt at. Follow them on every social media platform they are on, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Take it a step further and follow their CEO, VP, and anyone else you can find on social media who you’d likely work with when you land the job. Just don’t go adding people on Facebook – that can be weird, since most people prefer to use that for personal things.

Need inspiration for what companies in New York have great opportunities? Check out our highly-curated job board.


Send at least 3 really good outreach emails a week.

Once you’ve been following your dream companies and the people who work there, you should come across more and more people you admire. Reach out to them. Send them emails, tweet at them, or connect on LinkedIn with a custom message. Let them know you admire their work, and would love to learn more about X, Y, Z. Be genuine, not generic. Make them want to help you, because they see the kick ass website you link to in your email signature, or they checked out your LinkedIn through the link in your Twitter bio after you tweeted them.

Narrow your search.

Saying that you’ll take anything is going to work against you. It’s really hard for people in your network to help you when you’re vague. Get specific – it will make your search easier, and it’s easier for people to think of you when they come across opportunities.

So instead of saying you’ll intern anywhere in media,say you’re looking for an editorial internship at a large journalism-focused website. Instead of saying you’ll take any fashion internship, say you want an internship at a small or mid-sized fashion startup. Don’t say that you just want to do some sort of design work, say you’re seeking a design internship at a global advertising agency.

Plan the logistics.

You want to be ready when offered the role, so make sure you have a budget planned and housing lined up. Our awesome partner NYU Summer Housing is a top option, as they cover things like utilities, internet, cable, and 24/7 security.

Plus, they have a variety of locations and options, making it easy to find a place that works for you. Making the parents feel good about sending their little one off to the big city? Check.

FindSpark New York City of DreamsFollow FindSpark on Instagram for NYC Inspo!

Finally learn that new skill.

You know, that program you keep seeing as a nice-to-have on job descriptions that you don’t know how to use. Or that new software or tool you think will set you ahead of the pack. Think of programs like Photoshop, Buffer, Maya, Autocad, Mailchimp, Excel. Take the time to learn it on your own so you’re confident and ready when asked about it.

Spend more time on less applications.

This goes along with picking 5 companies and narrowing your search.

Do not send the same resume and cover letter to every internship you apply to. It may be faster for you, but we guarantee it’s preventing you from getting those internships. Take the time to make it beyond obvious that you will add value to the specific company through the specific role you’re applying to. We constantly hear from recruiters that is what makes people stand out.

My final tip? Start now. Don’t wait until the last minute. Networking takes time. Putting yourself out there takes time. Take action, start making progress today, and stand out with long term persistence.

What are your tips for those who want to intern in NYC? Share your ideas and strategies in the comments!



This post is brought to you by NYU Summer Housing. NYU Summer Housing offers safe, affordable, and convenient housing for students, interns, and new grads spending the summer in NYC. Spend your summer in the best, most vibrant parts of New York, surrounded by a community and resources to help you navigate the big city. Learn more about NYU Summer Housing and how to apply for Summer 2016!

FindSpark NYU Summer Housing 2016

About the Author

Emily is Founder and CEO of FindSpark. Passionate about the power of social media and networking; Emily has spoken at numerous colleges, conferences, and events including The International Youth Leaders Assembly at The United Nations, SXSW Interactive, Internet Week, Mediabistro's Social Media Bootcamp, Time Inc, Columbia University, and New York University, among others. Emily is also an adjunct professor, teaching social media and career courses at multiple colleges. Learn more about having Emily speak at your next event and follow her on twitter @EmilyMiethner.

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