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Applying for an internship can be daunting. I wouldn't know because I'm a first-year; I barely even know what a cover letter is. Upperclassmen, on the other hand, do know a thing or two about the internship application process (many of them even pride themselves on being veterans in this frequently unpaid struggle).

To get you the best advice, I talked to Carolina Gonzalez, BC '19, Juliana Kaplan, BC '19 (both of whom are current staffers at Spectator), and Kathy Yuan, BC '18, a Barnard peer career advisor.

The Search:

In order to apply for an internship, you must find one first (even I know that one). The most obvious sources are online networking sites such as NACElink and LionSHARE.

These databases give you an overwhelming list of positions and make you feel a bit sad but still optimistic about your future.

Less apparent sources for internships can be found through 1) who you know, and 2) social media.

I've been told from a young age that the majority of opportunities come from your connections. Specifically, look to high school and college alumni networks as well as familial connections to get a leg up on the competition.

Additionally, who knew that scrolling through Facebook would actually put you on the path of a successful future! What wonderful times we live in nowadays…

In most times, probably the latter. In this case, definitely a wondrous former.

Smaller organizations might post internship opportunities on their Facebook pages, so being proactive on your Facebook timeline can open all sorts of doors. (Including the one that leads to procrastination, but that's another story.)

There are also FB groups just for Columbia students. The Jobs and Internship page is specifically for postings about internship opportunities, and sometimes your very own peers will post openings in your class page.

The Résumé

The most important part to an internship application! Every student at Columbia is familiar with the résumé. In very basic terms, it is a way to shamelessly brag about yourself and your accomplishments. Plain and simple.

Actual footage of the demon that lives inside all Columbia students.

Don't be discouraged if you don't have much experience. If you start brainstorming now, you can pimp your résumé and impress future employers with experiences and references that you didn't know you had! It's time to bullshit like you never have before (including your first Lit Hum essay).

Go to the Career Development Offices

It's a great place to hone your résumé. They have super handy templates to help make your résumé look professional. Columbia's Career Development office is located at the lower level of EC (enter through Wien courtyard) and Barnard's Career Development office is located on the second floor of Elliott Hall.

If you are a first-year, reminisce about your high school days and figure out how you kicked ass

Use positions of leadership to your advantage. Examples include being president of a club, an event coordinator, poster designer, etc. Barnard PCA Kathy Yuan, BC '18, says, "All high school leadership experiences are really good to have. We like to focus on something called transferable skills". These are skills that you can use in the internship.

Include specific skills

Such as your ability to create a listserv, Wordpress, operate a Facebook page, etc. These social media skills are good to show when the job calls for them. A lot of student interns' jobs include managing a company's social media.

Quantify your experience

It's easier for your employer to judge how well you did your previous jobs if you quantity them. For example, instead of saying, "I helped increase sales at my last job," say, "I increased sales by 30 percent when I was [insert job title]." (Which we all know is code for I may have had a minor influence in this swing of events, but they don't really need to know that.)

Finishing Touch: Curate your social media to complement your résumé.

Your social media accounts do not have to be something you're ashamed of! Use them to your advantage by tweeting about your current project or things related to your desired profession.

Transform those 4am tweets from this:

To this:


Drunk John Appleseed: @allmcnally / via Instagram. Vet John Appleseed: @dr.evanantin / via Instagram


The Interview

No, not the movie about about Kim Jong Un.

The interview is another crucial step in the internship application process. Here are a few strategies you can use to rise above.

Research the company and its competitors.

Point out areas where they might be lacking and present a plan on how to fill those needs. This approach shows that you will go above and beyond to improve the company.

Selling yourself

Use the interview as another opportunity to emphasize your drive, dedication, and work ethic and how those qualities are reflected in your résumé and your experience.

Thanks, Obama!

Ask them about how they got into the business and their personal experience

People looooove talking about themselves, and they'll looooove you for giving them the opportunity to do so.

Low-key suck up

After the interview, send your interviewer a personalized thank-you note. Nothing says I'm qualified for the job more than a Hallmark thanks.

You have nothing to lose when applying to internships, so shoot high. Use those alumni networks, past experiences, and charisma to land yourself your dream job. You may not be getting paid, but at least you are getting more experience to use when applying for a REAL job *gasp*.

Isabella Monaco is a Spectrum trainee staff writer and a Barnard first-year. She is searching for an internship in sleeping. Reach her at

All gifs courtesy of


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