Find an Internship with a Startup

So You Want to be a Startup Intern?

The most important piece of advice I can offer anyone looking for an internship during college is to “be interested, not interesting.” It worked for me. Let’s flashback to my junior year in college when I was struggling to connect the post-graduation dots. At the time I was (and still am) deeply passionate about startups and venture capital and wanted to get my foot in the door at a startup.

I would routinely crawl the web for internship positions in hopes to snatch one up quickly. I found that for every startup website I visited there were only two to three engineering internship positions and nothing else. Talk about lacking major technical chops (tip: learn to program as soon as possible). It was clear that I would have to think of different ways to add value for startups to be interested in giving me an internship.

Just like any millennial equipped with Wi-Fi, I use social media primarily as a way to follow my peers and keep up on the news. When job boards weren’t cutting it, I thought to myself “why not get to know the recruiters and founders from the companies I wanted to work for on social media?”

I started researching the mega startup evaluations coming out of Utah (Domo, Qualtrics, and just to name a few) and began tweeting about what I thought of Utah’s growing tech scene. I learned that by being genuinely interested in both the people and company you want to work for makes all the difference in your success of landing a college internship.

I didn’t ask for a job, startup swag or even an office tour. I just wanted to learn from them as much as I could. I didn’t have the immediate skills needed, but I had the passion to hustle to learn.

I was lucky enough to meet the right company on social media at the right time. I came across the Utah-based startup HireVue and chatted with their social media and culture team (remember to be genuine!).

As fate would have it, HireVue had an opening for a social media internship and asked if I was interested. They recognized that I was passionate about startups and interested in their company. HireVue recruited me using Twitter. A year later I have graduated from the University of Utah and have transitioned from an intern at HireVue to a full-time team member. And you guessed it, I recruit people using social media for HireVue.

The lessons I have learned throughout my experience are:

  • Don’t give up, create your own opportunity.
  • Add value before asking for something.
  • Be interested, and not interesting.

About the Author:

Abby Mathews Abby Mathews graduated from the U in 2016 where she conceptualized and implemented the Lassonde Institute’s social media strategy. Abby specializes in targeted social recruiting and corporate branding at HireVue. She looks for unique trends within analytics and develops social media strategies accordingly. Reach her on LinkedIn, Twitter at @abbymathewsJ or Snapchat at @abbyplz.

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