Advice For International Students Seeking Internships in the United States

30 03 2009

I’m constantly amazed by the amount of International students that find my site and are applying for my internships on Students in France, London, Ireland, Austria, Japan, Canada and Germany are some of the most frequent visitors to my webpages. I read tons and tons of cover letters and resumes displaying ambition and desire to come to the United States and work in the Journalism, Fashion, Publicity, and Entertainment industries. It is interesting that in a time like this we have such strong interest from students abroad to come to the United States and intern – but the numbers are there and increasing daily.

I held 15 internships when I was in college and through all of those internships, I only knew one student (a close friend) that had come from another country, Canada, to intern in New York City. Alyson Campbell (@alyamp3) and I met at NYU where we were both staying for internships during the summer of 2003. Aly was interning at Arista Records at the time (a hard-to-get internship in the music industry). Aly did tell me about the challenge of getting a VISA and coming to the US to intern – but she had a “go getter/can-do” attitude about it and she got it done. Aly loved New York so much that she ended up moving back after graduating college. She now runs a super successful start-up PR Firm called, AMP3 ( We continue to be close friends. If Aly can do it – you can all do it. So get out there and do what you need to do to come to the United States and intern. I asked Aly to explain what she went through and to get her advice for other students:

As a Canadian, interning in the United States was a valuable and life-changing experience for me, because of the industry I was pursuing (music/entertainment business). Finding an internship was no easy feat, though.  I applied to numerous opportunities, but ran into many situations where it required that I was working for college credit (at a US-based college only) or several organizations that simply weren’t willing to go through the time and effort of the due-diligence involved in hiring an international student under the proper regulations.  A word to the wise, if you’re a Canadian student looking to intern in the U.S., you’ll need either a B-1 Visa or a J-1 Visa (both of which can be attained as long as you have a legitimate job offer and you apply at least 6-8 weeks in advance).  The J-1 “trainee” visa is also a great option for recent grads who are open to taking on an internship (verses an entry-level position), as it is a relatively easy work visa to secure, as long as you are within 18 months of when you graduated.  My first internship was between my 3rd and 4th year of university, and looking back, I wish I had been doing internships all along like my girl, The Intern Queen!  My first internship at Arista Records in New York City was truly a life-changing and career-changing opportunity that I will never forget!” 







1.       GET THE INTERNSHIP. Companies will look at your resume even though you live out of the country. Send your materials in like any other student and be sure to include when you plan on coming to the US in your Cover Letter. Find out if your school can provide you with any type of internship credit or recognition. Many companies will wave their “credit only” policy if they see that you are an International student. Apply for as many internships as you can. I normally suggest that US students apply for 10-15 opportunities each semester. As an International Student, I would double that number. Make sure you are aware of the VISA process and what you will need to do to get to the US before getting on the phone with an internship coordinator for an interview. You want to be knowledgeable about the process you have ahead of you. Most internship coordinators will NOT know how to help you get to the United States. You will have to take the lead on this one.

2.       FIGURE OUT WHAT TYPE OF VISA YOU NEED. The number one problem I hear about from International students is getting the proper VISA to visit the United States. The best resource I found for this was on the US DEPARTMENT OF STATE Website, You can search by your specific country and find out what type of VISA you need. Each country has different specifications.

3.       GET YOUR PASSPORT ASAP. Students will definitely need Passports to travel internationally. This is something that can be done quickly but keep in mind it does take 2-4 weeks to get your Passport back. Do this as soon as you decide you will be traveling abroad.

4.       START THE PROCESS EARLY. Getting an International student VISA is a headache in itself. There are so many different forms to fill out and all kinds of documents that need to be prepared. Make a checklist of all of these documents to make the process run as smooth and organized as possible. Examples of documents you may need include: school transcript, any standardized testing scores, bank statements from your parents (proving that they can cover your expenses while in the US), etc. Each student will also need to contact  the local Embassy about setting up an interview. Everyone must set an interview before their VISA can be fully processed.

5.       120 DAY NOTIFICATION. International student VISAS will not be approved or denied until 120 days (or less) before your internship start date. This does cause a bit of a time crunch. Be prepared  for this and make sure to determine when that 120 day mark will be.

6.       KEEP YOUR TIMEFRAME ORGANIZED. The National Homeland Security allows International students to come into the United States only 30 days (or less) prior to the start date of the internship. When you make your travel plans keep this timeframe in mind. If this is a problem, there are several additional “special” permits students can apply for on the US Department of State Website.

7.       HAVE PATIENCE. We all know that this can be a long and drawn out process. Be as patient as you can, use your checklist, and stay calm. Be as respectful as possible to everyone you speak with at the Embassy. Speak with your professors and make sure you are doing everything in your power to help execute the process.

8.       BE FRANK WITH YOUR INTERNSHIP COORDINATOR. Make sure that your internship coordinator understands where you are traveling from and the entire process. You want to come across organized and make sure you sound confident in the process. You want your internship coordinator to feel like they can totally rely on you to be present at your start date. If they feel that you aren’t confident, they might start to feel the same way and get someone else to replace you. Stay in communication with them and let them know that you have everything under control.

9.       MINIMIZE THE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE GAP. There are going to be many challenges when interning in the US. You are dealing with a new language (sometimes), new ways of doing business, and new ways of communicating. Practice your English as frequently as possible and try to read newspaper articles, web articles, magazines, trade publications about the industry you are interning within. It’s important to try and understand the nature of the field you are going into. Conducting research will also help you identify commonly used terms in that field. You want to make the language/culture barrier as minimal as possible.

10.   BE CONFIDENT. Students come to the US everyday to Intern. This can be done. Know that it will work out, know that you will get the paperwork done, and know that you are the ULTIMATE INTERN and that any US company would be LUCKY to have you. A few obstacles never hurt anyone J Good luck !


I asked my friends on Twitter what they thought about International Internships:

Why have the number of International students coming to the US to intern increased ?

jjaime@InternQueen It gives a broader experience, a look at new industries and finally the contacts they make.

hanztarore@InternQueen Cause US is a high standard that they use to increase bargain pwr 🙂 Many still want to work there despite current crisis there.

DisneyEC@InternQueen Because the US is the LAND of OPPORTUNITY and people all over the world realize it, even when we forget at times.

AlyAMP3@InternQueen to answer your other Q about why international students come to the U.S., “It’s all about the American Dream”

katrynad@InternQueen The opportunities in film industry. There is just not the same amount of opportunity here, there never has been.

Kissandtell@InternQueen for me it offered greater opportunities.

internSHARE@InternQueen from what I’ve heard with internSHARE it has a lot to with opening the door for future employment and eventually moving there.

ericleebow@InternQueen it’s because they are not offered the same exact opportunities, and it gives them a reason to travel to the US. Why not?

nateerickson@InternQueen No clue. Do they want Americans overseas or would they rather hire their own?

rosettathurman@InternQueen well, according to all the political pundits, the whole world is having an Obama lovefest, so that may be a factor.

Jmal18@InternQueen awesome esl programs

rjjago@InternQueen The US govn’t. is opening up new internship programs like the W.E.S.T. program for Koreans.

What do you think about International Internships ?

juezou@InternQueen I want to know the answer too since I’m an international student here.

USCherie@InternQueen visa issues aside, why not? Esp for companies interested in global business and the interns have what it takes.

jaime@InternQueen Being international it’s been difficult looking for internships, even if you’re studying in the US.

ambranykol@InternQueen as a former Campus Recruiter I’d say that Int’l students will have better bets going after internships at software companies.

Helpful Links/Resources:

US Dept. of State:

University of Dreams Programs: :










Start An Internship Program For Your Company

24 03 2009

Attention Employers  ! This blog is written just for you. I get hundreds of employers contacting me each week and asking if they can start an internship program. The answer is, YES ! I put together a few tips for companies trying to launch internship programs.

How to Launch An Internship Program

  • PICK AN INTERNSHIP COORDINATOR. If your company is big or small you should have one person that is in charge of your internship program. I would suggest giving this responsibility to some sort of assistant or junior level position. If your receptionist or office secretary is a high turn-over job, give this responsibility to someone more permanent. This person will be in charge of collecting resumes, promoting the position, sorting resumes, coordinating interviews, and providing work and space for the interns.


  • OUTLINE YOUR PROGRAM. Ask yourself and other employees  what you want to accomplish by starting an internship program. Create a mission statement. An example could be “The Intern Queen Internship Program provides students with a hands-on experience. I show them how a start-up is run, the daily tasks that go into managing a business, and have them help out with brainstorming, necessary organizational and administrative tasks, social media, press releases, and marketing campaigns while taking their future interests into consideration and providing each student with a personal mentor and guide throughout the duration of their internship.”


  • MAKE EACH TASK BENEFICIAL FOR BOTH PARTIES. I suggest each company make a list of the types of tasks that interns should be asked. Before making this list, think about the “double-sided benefit” of each task. Each task delegated to an intern should serve two purposes: 1. The task should be of assistance/benefit to the employer. 2. The tasks should be of benefit for the intern to learn how to do.    They should be able to find this useful in some manner for their future.


  • ACCEPTABLE TASKS. Employers must assume that most interns come into the workplace with little to no prior experience. Therefore, any filing, copying, phone answering, database sorting, cold calling, pitching, sitting in on meetings, faxing, typing up reports are all acceptable tasks for intern. Internships have a bad reputation of being all about making coffee and running personal errands. Every once in a while, a personal errand or a coffee is necessary to make something in the company run smoothly. For the sake of your companies internship program and for the sake of the intern, try to keep the personal errands and coffee runs to a minimum. Interns are definitely a convenience in the office but try to assign them to tasks that are mutually beneficial. Having an outlined list of company “acceptable intern tasks” will help make sure that all employees understand what  they can and cannot ask of their interns.


  • OFFER SCHOOL CREDIT.Many internships are unpaid and that is the nature of the word. Unpaid internships are fine as long as College Credit is offered. The big misconception about college credit is that the company needs to do something about it. College Credit actually lies in the  hands of the student and their specific career center. Before interviewing a student, ask them via email if they can receive some sort of college credit or transcript recognition for their internship. The student will have to ok it with their career center at school and then will provide you with an answer. I encourage to you make sure student’s can get some sort of credit/recognition before you interview them. Once the school tells the student that they are able to receive college credit for the internship, the student will bring in papers for the company to sign. Depending on the school, the papers might consists of a company summary, biweekly evaluations for the employer or student to fill out, and usually some sort of “end of internship” evaluation for the employer to sign. This is the school’s way of keeping track of the student and making sure they are attending their internship. Companies should advertise that they are providing college credit for students interning at the company.


  • KNOW YOUR INTERN’S GOALS AND STRENGTHS.During the interview process, make sure your internship coordinator asks the student’s if they have any work-related knowledge of the internet, programs, social media networks, etc. Many students have already incorporated different social media sites into their lives. They can easily bring this knowledge and use it as an asset to your company. Many companies rely on interns to run their social media campaigns and profiles. It’s also important to know where your interns want to go. If they are really interested in PR, put them in your press department. If a student tells me they want fashion, I give them all fashion related clients and projects to work on.


  • SELECT YOUR DATES – BE SPECIFIC.To keep your company organized, and your internship program in control, set some company internship dates. I always have the internship coordinators I work with set up 3 folders in their inbox: Fall Resumes (to be looked at July 15th), Spring Resumes (to be looked at October 15th), and Summer Resumes (to be looked at March 1st – 15th). They can properly file each resume into the corresponding folder until those dates. This is so they don’t get caught up looking at resumes all day long. I suggest running Fall Internships from September 15th – December 1st, Spring Internships from January 15th – April 1st, and Summer Internships from June 1st – August 1st. These are approximations of course. I suggest always bringing interns in on a Tuesday or Wednesday for the first time, never a Monday. Things in the office tend to get crazy and the interns get ignored on Mondays.


  • BLOCK SCHEDULE YOUR INTERVIEWS. Have your internship coordinator block out 2 hours in one day to schedule a few different internship phone interviews. I always encourage people to do phone interviews first. For the summer, phone interviews are often times the only interview because many students are traveling to the locations for the summer. Phone interviews can tell you if you can really communicate with the intern. If they cannot hold a phone conversation, that is not a good sign – don’t waste your time bringing them in for as in-person interview.


I’ll be sure to write some more notes on these sorts of topics in the future. I know I get requests for information all of the time. If companies want to post internships on my site, simply email me and put POST AN INTERNSHIP in the subject line. I’ll email you back with the forms to fill out. It costs $35.00 to post with me. You can add/change/remove/edit your listing whenever you’d like.

I asked my friends on Twitter for ideas on Starting An Internship Program:

Jmal18@InternQueenthey def. need to accessible through the website and have an actual contact person instead having to track ppl down for info. (

LotusEvangelist@InternQueen define it before you hire for it. (

nateerickson@InternQueen get on twitter and let people know. i guarantee they’ll have no trouble finding lots of interest. (

NancyVanLeuven@InternQueen My 2: Come up with meaningful intern work, somebody commits to supervising folks, make it worthwhile for all. (

Helpful Links on Starting an Internship Program

UCR Career Center Blog:

Washcoll on Starting and Maintaining an Internship Program:

InternWeb on Designing an Internship Program:

How To Manage An Internship AND A Job

23 03 2009


The number one excuse I hear from students on why they cannot intern is, “I have to work over the summer. I can’t intern for no pay.” Ladies and Gentleman, I have exciting news ! It IS possible to have both a summer internship and a summer job. With the proper time management skills, you can have the best of both worlds. Income is top priority but internships are extremely important as well. With the job market in the state that it is, internships are a way to ensure that you are properly prepared to get out there in the real world.

INTERN QUEEN STORY: The summer between my Sophmore and Junior Year of college, I interned in Los Angeles. I interned Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9AM – 3PM at BWR Public Relations – a high-profile celebrity Public Relations Firm. I interned on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM – 4PM at Warren Cowan Public Relations – a boutique Publicity Firm. I worked at Islands (Fine Burger Joint) Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 5:30PM – 11PM and Sunday mornings from 10AM – 2PM. Anything is possible. Pick your schedule and then go make it happen.


Ways to Manage Your Job AND Your Internship

·         KNOW YOUR NEEDS. Make a list of what you NEED to do over the summer. If you need to make a certain amount of money, write that down. Also, tally up the amount of hours each day you must work in order to make that kind of money.


·         WORK AT NIGHT. If you don’t have a summer job yet I suggest looking for a “night” job like waiting tables. If you can find a job that doesn’t require you to be there until 5 or 6PM that is ideal.


·         MAKE YOUR HOURS. Look at your schedule and figure out which hours you can realistically devote to an internship. If you wait tables every night from 5PM -11PM, you could be available to intern 5 days per week from 8 or 9AM until 3 or 4PM. If you have a job that requires you to work during the day, try to block schedule. Perhaps you can work 3 days per week from 9AM – 6PM and then intern 2 days per week from 9AM – 6PM.


·         INTERNSHIPS CAN BE FLEXIBLE. Most companies will be flexible and will understand that  you need to work and support yourself. Most of my summer internships only required me to be there 2-3 days per week. Be honest and explain your situation clearly.


·         MANAGE YOUR EMPLOYER’S EXPECTATIONS. With both your employer and you internship coordinator be very specific with them about your time commitments. Don’t  say that you might be able to stay past 4PM some days at your internship if you must be at work at 5PM. Don’t over commit yourself. Decide which hours you 100 percent can commit and tell those hours to your boss.


·         BE PUNCTUAL AND ALERT. Since you will be splitting your time, it’s important to be extremely punctual. You want to show both employer’s that you can juggle two things at once and it won’t cause you to be late, procrastinate, etc. If you are tired, hide it! Make sure that you are bright eyed at your internship and at your job. Both places won’t want someone that  seems to be “dragging”.


·         BE PREPARED. If you know you have to go from one place to another quickly – be organized. I’m really big on Snack Bars (granola bars or fruit bars) or packing a sandwich to eat during your in-between time. Also, make sure you pack a bag with whatever change of clothes you will need, any information you need to bring, water bottle, snacks, etc.


·         SHOW THAT YOU CAN HANDLE IT. If you excel at both places that means double the letters of recommendation, double the experience, double the number of items to add  to your resume. Your parents, employers, co-workers, fellow interns will all be impressed.

Tips From Time Management Coach, Elizabeth Saunders (

“The key to balancing a job and internship over the summer is to find complementary matches. For instance, if you’re passionate about interior design and want to intern at an architecture firm during the day, seek out a job that values people working nights and weekends (such as a restaurant). On the other hand, if you dream of being on the nightly news and want to intern at a TV station, look at jobs like doing administrative work during the day at a temp agency.


By finding complementary positions, you can avoid conflicts and stress over scheduling everything in–you’re happy and you’re manager is happy.”




I asked my friends on Twitter what they thought about managing a summer job and a summer internship:

jocelleuntalanIcon_lock@InternQueen It’s all about priority. An internship provides the practical experience you need for the future; a job is a job, not ur career.

mzmadness@InternQueen wow! i’m desperate for that answer. i work full time & go to school so if there are any suggestions, i’d love to hear them.

AMCreations@InternQueen It helps if you have a job w/night hours, or an understanding boss that’s willing to keep you with less hours for a few months.

PRluna@InternQueen Be up front and honest with your employers from the start; tell them you appreciate their flexibility.

MNMarquez@InternQueen During the school year, I usually have a part-time internship and work around 20 hrs a week at Starbucks. It can be done.

MiaMcK@InternQueen find an internship that only requires 1-3 days so that u can work it around ur school/job schedule.

marissa_green13@InternQueen It’s about scheduling and making sure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin with either one.

katmaund@internqueen time management skills are ESSENTIAL. im managing an internship, job, community service, and 6 classes.

MashM@InternQueen time management skills!

gradspotguru@InternQueen In college, I thought the people who got library jobs were on the ball — you basically get paid to do your own work.

JillianMoss@InternQueen It takes a lot of time management. I did it last semester with ft school, a job, and an internship. Just takes a lot of focus.

Sarah_Bella@InternQueen Usually internships only require 20-30 hours so that leaves weeknights & weekends to make that money! Stinks not having a life but the internship experience is totally worth it!! What you sow so shall you reap!

jjaime@InternQueen The day has 24 hours…it’s all about what the job is about and that it is on a different time than the internship. For example: Internship from 9 to 4 and job from 6 to 10. Considering a part time job.

RazChorev@InternQueen they do as Nike told them – JUST DO IT! party less, and work more…

gonzomehum@InternQueen Intern in the mornings, work in the evenings, party on the weekends. Just replace work with school when summer ends.

theresajohnson@InternQueen If the internship was paid or if both were part-time. This takes a lot of sacrifice.







Do Interns Become Entrepreneurs ?

16 03 2009

I’m a HUGE advocate for internships. This year has been all about starting my business and creating internship awareness through my listings, blogs, advice, tweets, appearances, speeches, etc. I’ve met all kinds of individuals – mostly students, employers, other career experts, parents, and professors. One of my observations, is that many students that were interns in college have now started their own business. Are there stats on this ? Not yet. This is just a correlation that I’ve observed.

Reasons Interns Become Entrepreneurs

1. INTERNS START THEIR CAREER PATH EARLY. As an intern, you are placed in an office environment at a young age. The earlier you intern, the earlier you start thinking about your professional life. At school, students speak about weekend plans, getting “wasted”, parties, tests, homework, study groups. In the work place, people discuss their futures. The number one question I was asked at my first internship was “So where do you want to go from here ? What’s next?” I had never really been asked that before. My parents cared about me getting good grades. My friends cared about partying,  boys, and when I was available for a trip to the mall. My teachers cared about my grades and attendence. No one had asked about my future. As an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking, “What’s next ? What’s the bigger picture here?”

2. INTERNS LEARN NOT TO GIVE UP. I learned not to give up and to always try all of your options when I got rejected from several internships as a freshman. I dealt with “internship/job-related rejection” at a very young age (18). When I was ready to start my own business, I was very used to this kind of rejection. I think that rejection is what stops lots of people from starting their own business – the fear of rejection. I got over this fear at a young age. I get different types of rejections every day, running my company, but it just makes me try different options and encourages me to keep trucking along.

3. INTERNS MUST GET THINGS DONE – EFFICIENTLY. If you’ve ever had a demanding internship, you know what it’s like to feel rushed and under pressure. My second internship was at BACKSTAGE – theatre trade publication – in New York City. The paper was published twice per week and the office was insane. I had never been around such chaos and personalities in my life. After getting yelled at for not completing an assignment on time, I realized that you don’t have all of the time in the world to complete things. Tasks must be done asap. In my business life, certain companies/people take weeks to get things done. I wouldn’t have my company if I couldn’t get the work done at a rapid pace.

4. INTERNS LEARN RESPONSIBILITY.  During my college career as an intern, I learned the “No One is Capable” mentality. This meant that I was to assume no one was good at their jobs and take everything into my own hands. It was my responsibility to make sure things got done efficiently. As an entrepreneur, we learn that we must be involved with everything – especially at the beginning. I am always involved with every part of my business. I never asssume that someone else will get the job done.

5. INTERNS LEARN THE SATISFACTION OF ACCOMPLISHING A GOAL. Interning is still a newer idea – for both parents and students. The idea of interning becoming a necessity for students is also a new idea. Many students set the goal of achieving one internship before graduating college. If the student achieves this goal, before graduating, they get to think about what is next and what their next goal will be. If you would have asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up (as a freshman in college) I would have said, “A writer.” I interned and then worked for several magazines all through college. As a junior in college, I wanted to be in Publicity. After about 4 or 5 publicity internships, I was ready to move on to the next goal which was running my own business.

What do my Tweeps Think ?

“Not sure it’s causal, but maybe internship experience provides valuable foundational skills for entrepreneurship.” @sweetcareers,

“Some entrepreneurs find that they need to build their own thing at internships. Some others learn what is needed there.” @jjaime,

“Every job I ever had (the few that is) were working for really exciting entrepreneurs!” @ysnjen, 

 Have You Interned and Do you Want to Start a Business ?

“Yes.Zackery Moore, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Cayenne Creative. PR and social marketing.” @zakmo

” I’m Rebecca Eltzroth, my company is Ball and Buck, I interned at local music mgmt firm, maax, the empower program, Sen. Olympia Snowe. @ballandbuck, Owns an organic clothing company,

“Yes. Megan Marquez, DePaul. Intern: atBig City Bride, Jasculca/Terman, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” @MZMarquezs.

” I interned @ a black owned cosmetics company (Clear Essence Cosmetics) and i mean, it’s 2009 evry1 is tryin 2 b their own boss.” @MiaMcK

 “I interned at American Cancer Society. I doubt I’d ever start my own business.” @RaylondoCaved.

 “I am interning for The Henry Ford this semester. Yes, I think about it. in 12 years I would like to have a viable corporation.” @jrdbryan

“I would work 4 someone, but also have my own thing on the side. best of both worlds.” @MiaMCK

“PR agencies and a hospital. I’ve never really considered starting my own business, but maybe later down the road.” @heatherdamico.

“All of the time. Not a current intern but I completed 5 before graduating last Aug.” @marerockcity.

Helpful Links: Internships Create Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial Opporutnity on TechCrunch:

Tips To Land the White House Internship

3 03 2009

The big news last week was that President Barack Obama announced the White House is officially looking for interns. This would be an amazing opportunity for college students. I wanted to take a moment to discuss ways to increase your chances of getting that internship. I’d like to show you how to apply some of my frequent internship advice to this specific opportunity. 

The Wall Street Journal explained the requirements for the White House Internship

“The application requires a resume, three references and requests 300-500 word responses to three essay questions. The questions are as follows:

1. Explain your commitment to public service and service to country generally—include an instance when you asserted your leadership in a community or civic activity, what you learned, and how you think this internship could further advance your leadership and personal goals in this area.

2. Which of the president’s policies, initiatives or campaign achievements is most important to you? Why?

3. Choose one of your preference offices and explain why you want to work there and what you would bring to the office.

The deadline to apply is March 22 and the program runs from May 22 to August 14.”


1. RESUME MAKEOVER. Read the Resume Advice on my previous Blog, Create the Perfect Resume. If you have several previous internships/work experience on your resume, make sure to keep it down to one page. Try to only include relevant work. You are applying to a Public Service internship. Any volunteer work is relevant in this case. Keep your resume in standard and traditional format. No pictures, crazy colors, fonts, patterns, etc. Use a thick cream colored paper if possible. At the bottom, write *References available upon request. This is your chance to sell yourself on paper – look professional and experienced. Take a close look at all of your previous jobs and really expand on your tasks within each job/internship. You want to be clear on your skills and capabilities.

2. GREAT LETTERS OF REC. Just like most formal internship programs, this one requires 3 letters of reccomendation. I suggest college students get one academic reference (professor), one professional reference (former employer), and one character reference (from a family friend). If someone is too busy to write a letter for you, write it yourself and bring it to them. This gives you the opportunity to say what you’d like about yourself and to really make yourself shine. The employer or professor will read over it, hopefully approve it, sign it, and place it on company letterhead. If you can get a letter from a former internship coordinator that would be a bonus. Also, when getting your character reference try to do it from a close family friend that can speak on your loyalty, work ethic, personality, etc. They can sometimes reference more personal situations than employers or professors.

3. CONSTRUCT GREAT TIGHT ESSAYS. When writing your answers to the essay questions, keep your answers tight and try not to go on irrelevant tangents. Remember, someone is reading these and you don’t want to put them to sleep. If you can’t think of a time when you were of great service to the country or took on a leadership role ask your friends and family. The people close to you can help by thinking of times when your leadership skills really stood out in there eyes. It’s always interesting to get the opinion of others and find out what you’ve done to impress them in the past.

4. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. The second essay question is a perfect example of why it’s important to research the company (or in this case the President and his policies) before applying for an internship. Make sure that you don’t answer this question blindly. Research The President’s policies completely, before attempting to answer this question. Reference articles, specific Campaign activities/speeches or websites in your essay. This will make you sound more informed and make you look well prepared.

5. APPLY FOR WHAT YOU ARE BEST AT. If your experience is in Public Relations, than apply for the Public Affairs office. Go with where your experience lies. You need to get in the door and applying to a department where you have no experience is too risky for this competitive internship. Look closely at all of the offices you have to choose from, and apply for what you are best trained to do.

You still have time to apply for this so get started and good luck !

I asked my friend’s on Twitter what they thought of the White House Internship Program for Students:

“I think it’s a great opportunity and definitely will look good on any resume.” @schlossy,

“That would be an awesome opportunity 4 anyone who wanted to get in2 politics or public affairs.” @cblaser, Student at University of Oregon.

“Good idea. I bet they learn good habits there.” @bookgirl96, Publicist.

Links to WhiteHouse Internship Stories:

WSJ Blog on WHI:

WhiteHouse on WHI:

EHow On WHI:

Press Release – University of Dreams Brings Intern Queen on Board !

25 02 2009



Silicon Valley, CA – February 23rd – University of Dreams ( hires Intern Queen, Lauren Berger, to help promote their Summer Internship Programs globally.  Berger currently runs The quarterlife Internship Program Powered By The Intern Queen on, a resource for students looking for internships in media, entertainment, journalism, sports, and marketing. Berger got her title of “Intern Queen” after completing 15 internships during her four years of college. Berger will serve as a spokesperson for University of Dreams and help raise awareness about the program to students internationally. Berger will host a series of weekly conference calls that inform students and parents about the program and will provide tips and tools for students to make the most of their internships.


“Students are signing up for this experience in droves. I didn’t have the luxury of participating in a program like this as an intern. I had to secure my own internship, housing, make new friends, pay for food, and ship my car out. Students participating in University of Dreams have their food, housing, transportation, and social activities covered, in addition to internship placement at top tier companies. They don’t have to worry about making new friends because there are so many other students in the program. I wish I knew about University of Dreams,” says Berger about the program.

University of Dreams Inc. ( was founded in February of 2000. That first summer, 73 participants joined us at Santa Clara University, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, where they had the opportunity to meet other motivated college students, grow as individuals, and pursue their dreams in their desired career field with an internship. After the initial program in the Silicon Valley, we have added programs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Sydney. This summer we will add programs in Washington D.C. and San Diego. We have also begun offering Fall and Spring Internship Programs in select cities for students who want to further their career through living, working, and earning contract academic credit for an entire semester in their dream city. Enrollment in the University of Dreams programs has grown each year, including over 1,300 participants in 2008, proof that students are having fantastic experiences and are spreading the word about University of Dreams.


Intern Queen Inc. was founded in 2006 by Lauren Berger after she successfully completed 15 internships during her four years of college. Berger started to author several articles about her internship experience and provide internship tips for students. Berger picked up “Best Young Entrepreneur of The Year” at the Stevie Awards for Women In Business in 2007. In August of 2008, Berger partnered with Hollywood Producer, Marshall Herskovitz (Blood Diamond, Traffic, and My So Called Life) and his website, Herskovitz invested in her company and created, The Quarterlife Internship Program Powered by the Intern Queen, which offers internship listings and an internship advice blog, I AM INTERN. Lauren travels across the country speaking at schools and creating a strong awareness for internships.


Summer Internship Timeline

24 02 2009


The big question at this time of year is always, “When is the best time to apply for Summer Internships and is it too late ?” Have no fear, the Intern Queen is here and I have a timeline of my own that students can follow.  Follow my timeline below and you will get everything out just in time ! Keep in mind that my timeline does not apply to large companies or any company with a formal internship program. Most formal internship programs (NY Times, ATAS, WSJ, WashPost, Citigroup, etc) do have early application deadlines that can be found on their individual company websites. These deadlines are protocall for most of the media/entertainment/pr/marketing internships on my site. Good luck !




Friday, February 26, 2008Complete all of your internship materials. If you haven’t finished by Friday, finish up over the weekend. You should have the following materials prepared: Resume, Cover Letter, 3 Letters of Rec ( One academic reference, one professional reference, one character reference). Make copies of  these materials on a thick quality paper. I suggest using a cream colored paper (these should be avail at a Kinkos or any all-in-one shop). Make about 20 copies of each document. Try to use your school’s copy machine as those usually have cheaper rates. Copying can get pricey ! Get some clear paper protectors to slide one master copy of each document into (The clear plastic things). This is to make sure you always have your masters avail if you need more copies. You will also take these documents and a few copies of each with you to in-person interviews.


Monday, March 2nd 2008 – Pick Your Internships ! This is your week to research and find all of the internships you’d like to apply for. Make a Dream List of all the top companies you’d like to intern at over the summer. Do your research and make sure they offer internships in the destination you’d like to go. Next to your top ten companies, make a list of 5-10 companies that aren’t your dream company but  are similar to the companies listed. For example: If your dream magazine internship is at Us Weekly or Seventeen Magazine – your 2nd list might read “ Marie Claire Magazine or” I encourage every student to apply for between 10-20 companies for the summer. Internships are more competitive than ever before so the more you apply to, the better chance you have of nailing down these opportunities. Also, the more competitive the internship, the more opportunities you should be applying for – keep that in mind.


Thursday, March 5th 2008Time to Research. Use Thursday and Friday to go through your list of companies that you are applying for and do some research. The goal here is to send your resume to an actual person and not a random website or First, check my site and enter the company name into the Searchbar. The company name will appear if I have contacts at that company. If I do, simply email your resume to me at and include the semester and the company name in the subject line. If I don’t work with the company than check out their website. If you don’t see a name for the Internship Coordinator (you usually will not) than call the company. Ask to speak with the internship coordinator. Get their name and email address and let them know you are applying for an internship. If  they give you a generic email, ask who you can address the email to. You want to do anything in your power to get an actual name.

Keep an Excel document to store all of your information. Make columns for Company, Contact Name, Email, Status, Follow Up.


Monday, March 9th 2008 –  Send your apps !  Put a good chunk of time aside to send out your materials today. Many companies will want your CL, Resume, Letters of Rec via email. Send those out and make sure they are addressed to that company and not to another. I suggest blind copying (BCC’ing) yourself on all of the emails as a reminder to follow up in 2 weeks. Any mail applications *companies that have indicated regular mail is best* should also go out today. Good luck ! Make a note in your STATUS column of your Excel document of the date you sent your materials out.


Tuesday, March 24th 2008 – Follow Ups Begin. I suggest calling each company (unless they specifically told you to NOT call) and asking to speak with the internship coordinator. All you say is, “Hi, This is Lauren Berger, I emailed my resume to _____two weeks ago and wanted to follow up and make sure they received it.” Be as polite as possible.


**** Note, if you don’t hear anything back by the 2nd week in April, I suggest applying to at least 10 more internships. Most companies will notify interns by Mid-April.

I asked my Friends on Twitter What They Thought About Applying for Summer Internships – Here is their Advice:

 “Do it NOW”; Most common msg but nobody listens because there’s too much social activity; waiting=lost opportunity-fini.” @lauratoogood, Student Coach.


“Friends can wait until the hunt is over; they’ll just blow past U anyway; if they’re real friends they’ll B fine w/it.” @lauratoogood, Student Coach.


“DO NOT put references on a resume; biggest mistake EVER; keep the list separate; AND double check the validity.” @lauratoogood, Student Coach.


“Letters of Reference are important.” @globalsultana, Communications Professional.


“I def think anyone looking for a summer internship should start looking as soon as possible. Speed to market as they say.” @geraldinemae,


“Apply for summer internships now…we’ve been interviewing since late January.” @Alicia_Wells, Accountant Executive and Internship Manager.


“If you apply too early your resume and coverletter may be misplaced or lost and often they ask you to resend it.” @amaute, Alyssa Maute, Student at Clemson,


“The last two years in a row I’ve had mine nailed down by mid February … very reassuring 🙂 This year I’m not so lucky!” @jess_a_ca.


“No matter how tough it is to NOT procrastinate, get applications in EARLY. Most basic advice but always true.” @saramartinez, Student in Chicago.


“Don’t limit yourself to paid internships. It’s not about the money, it’s about the experience.” @DavidSpinks, Student and Blogger in New York.


“ABSOLUTELY NO MISTAKES IN THE COVER LETTER OR RESUME. No ifs ands or buts.” @karlastevenson.