How to Land the Most Coveted Student Internship in America September 18, 2012

Ian Welman tells how one clever student landed a highly sought-after internship

Ian Welman tells how one clever student landed a highly sought-after internship

What’s the most prestigious internship for a college student?

If you go by the sheer numbers of applicants, the winner is working for a Senator or member of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Each year, state Senators and Congress members get inundated with thousands of applicants for these prestigious (albeit unpaid) positions.

What makes the job so acclaimed? Here are just a few of the many perks:

1.) there are very few spots available, so landing one is a major feather in your cap

2.) you’re working at the very epicenter of democracy in the free world

3.) a chance to network and make lifetime contacts with important and influential people

4.) an impressive resume-builder

5.) your fellow interns will go on to do great things – you’ll be in their Rolodex and they in yours

6.) some of the most powerful people in Washington began their careers as interns The competition for Capitol Hill internships is fierce. In some ways I’d say it’s easier to get accepted to Harvard or Stanford than to land one of these prized positions. But here’s a secret one of our clients used to land an internship working for a NJ Congressman.

What our resourceful young man did was, he volunteered to work on a local political campaign. He worked hard. Put in his hours. Volunteered for all the non-glamorous, everyday jobs that need to get done: filing, copying, stuffing envelopes, affixing postage, etc. In so doing he got noticed for his hard work and willingness to chip in.

When it came time to submit his application for a Capitol Hill internship, his resume went straight to the top of the pile, because:

a) he already had established contacts in Washington who would vouch for him

b) he had demonstrated his value, not by words on paper, but through actions and sweat equity on the job

By leveraging his referrals and insider access, he beat out thousands of other college students vying for the coveted position.

Clever, right?

Well, that same opportunity presents itself to other enterprising students. This is a big election year, so there are numerous possibilities. There’s the presidential race. The race for senator. Several congressional districts are in play, as well as mayoral races. And the one thing they all have in common is…

… they all need foot soldiers.

Consider having your student volunteer for a political campaign. Even if s/he has no dreams of working on Capitol Hill, it’s still a valuable learning experience, a terrific way to build your resume, and a great way to meet influential people who can assist you in your career. It’s also a great way to distinguish yourself if you’re a high school student looking to build a resume for your college applications.

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This post was written by admin on September 18, 2012
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Ian R. Welham, Certified College Planning Advisor  -  Tel: 973.467.0101