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How to Get an Internship at a Startup (And Why You Should) – Margaret Buj – Interview Coach

Historically it has been actually onerous to get an internship with out some sort of expertise. You both should be academically very gifted, know somebody within the business, or submit an impressive software. 

What’s worse is that it’s a winner-take-all situation: candidates who’ve good expertise, acquired through internships, usually tend to win further internship positions which is able to improve their expertise and make them extra more likely to safe future internships…

This results in a small minority of candidates with an virtually extreme quantity of internships and the bulk with 1 or none. 

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That is altering. Due to the rise of start-ups and the de-formalisation of the office and firm tradition that this brings, acquiring a related internship with 0 expertise has by no means been simpler. By contacting start-ups in your required discipline and providing your companies without cost, you may get expertise that was beforehand out of attain.


It’s value stating once more, historically it has been actually onerous to get an internship. By concentrating on start-ups who actually need the assistance, you should have a a lot greater likelihood of success and ending the catch-22 situation outlined within the introduction.

Expertise & Expertise

It’s a lot simpler to land a job when you could have some sort of expertise in your required discipline. Firstly, it exhibits you’re genuinely concerned with stated discipline. Who seems extra concerned with accounting to you? Tim who places “I’m actually concerned with accounting” in his cowl letter to PWC or Haydn (a lot better identify) who implies he’s actually concerned with accounting however speaking about his experiences at an accounting start-up? Secondly, you’ll truly, nicely hopefully, construct abilities and information of the business by which you’re working. You’ll be able to see for those who benefit from the work, speak to folks within the business, develop helpful abilities, and so on.. All necessary stuff.


An enormous purpose as to why this start-up centric strategy is efficient is due to the pliability that it affords. You’ll be able to select any discipline you want; there’ll in all probability be a start-up in that discipline who wants assist. You’ll have some enter into what work you may be doing. Actually concerned with progress advertising? Somebody wants assistance on progress advertising. Love constructing merchandise? Somebody wants assist constructing a product. Clearly you’re not going to be the CTO however I’ve discovered start-ups are usually concerned with discovering what drives you on an expert foundation. You’ll be able to work by yourself time and schedule. Need to work remotely? Certain. Solely 3 hours a day? Wonderful. It’s actually as much as you.

It’s Free

I perceive that a few of you could really feel that your companies are value greater than free. Suppose once more. 

When Warren Buffet, arguably the most effective investor of his era, provided to work for Ben Graham without cost he stated he was overpriced. Gary V, the proprietor of a digital advertising firm, endorses working without cost and in addition thinks that you are lucky to not be charged. We’re truly beginning to see the emergence of those reverse-paid internships.

Belief me after I say that you’re going to get extra worth out of the internship than the start-up does, for those who go about it in the appropriate method. You might be fortunate to be working without cost.



For those who’re nonetheless at college and studying this, congratulations. You might be miles forward of everybody else. Though I will surely suggest specializing in exams/having enjoyable at college, for those who do end up reaaaaally bored over summer season, or actually concerned with one explicit space, interning generally is a good method to fill your time.


This, in my thoughts, is the most effective time to do one thing like this. You may have large quantities of free time. You might be smarter and extra ready than you had been at college (I hope). You might be in critical want of some expertise earlier than you enter the office for actual.

There are 2 methods to do an internship like this at uni. Firstly, you’ll be able to full one over the ridiculously lengthy summer season break. Easy sufficient. Alternatively, you’ll be able to truly do one while at college (exterior of examination time). Don’t have sufficient time to do that due to your research? You waste an enormous period of time “finding out” at college (right here’s how to not LINK). For employability, it’s in all probability higher to get a strong 2:1 with a number of internships quite than a 1st having achieved nothing else while at uni. Employers care about expertise, not getting 83% in Introduction to Microeconomics.


Unemployed? Provide your companies without cost part-time while you search for a full-time job. The corporate might even wish to rent you full-time for those who add worth. At a job you hate and wish to change to one thing utterly new? Work without cost for 5-10 hours every week to achieve perception, expertise, and contacts into your required business (however verify your contract first).


Make an inventory (and verify it twice)

Make an inventory of all of the start-ups in your space of curiosity. Google is your good friend right here. Then go to every web site and duplicate the HR electronic mail, often jobs/hr/ This could often be discovered on the “careers” web page of the web site, which may often be accessed on the backside of the house web page. If an HR electronic mail doesn’t exist, you should use the final contact electronic mail, often whats up/data/ (we’re not hiring for the time being), or a contact type situated on their web site.

Electronic mail methodology

After getting an inventory of contacts it’s time to begin…contacting them. The contents of the e-mail will rely on what strategy you are taking however ought to embody a punchy begin/hook to get them to learn on, just a little bit about your self/your background, what you’re in search of, and a name to motion. Try to maintain it easy and brief.

There are 3 fundamental approaches to doing this:

  • Spray and pray. This entails emailing a lot of corporations (100+) the identical message with solely the identify of the corporate customised. Additionally, insert a hyperlink to your LinkedIn web page (this protects you having to ship particular person emails along with your CV attached- you should use mail merge: as a substitute). Use mail merge to contact all the e-mail addresses in your listing simply. Then submit purposes utilizing the contact pages for corporations that don’t have an electronic mail handle listed on their web site.


  • Machine gun. Primarily the identical methodology as carpet bomb however with barely extra customisation. For every firm, add a line that pertains to the work that they’re doing particularly. That is acceptable for an inventory of round 20-100. Any extra and it turns into an excessive amount of effort, any fewer and you may customise the e-mail absolutely.
  • Sniper. When your listing solely consists of 20 or fewer corporations, it’s higher to totally customise every electronic mail that you just ship. Speak about why you wish to be a part of that firm particularly, among the work they’ve achieved, the particular space that they’re in, and so on. Use their web site and google them.


Sit again and loosen up (almost)

The onerous work is finished. Sit again, loosen up and let the provides roll in. Anticipate plenty of no-replies; make sure you observe up every week and a month after – startups are busy. Anticipate plenty of “we don’t tackle interns for the time being”. You’ll chat with some corporations however it simply received’t be the appropriate match.

Nonetheless, for those who observe this methodology correctly, you could have an ideal likelihood of securing an internship in an space that you’re captivated with. It is probably not precisely what you wish to do however it gives you a significant perception into that space.

Blissful searching!




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