How to find internships at a start-up

Let’s talk internships today.

But first, to give you some context…

I started interning at the age of 18, and my first internship was as a content writer with a fashion label based out of Hyderabad. 

It was my first experience of writing outreach emails, social media captions, brochures, and pretty much all things content. I’m understating when I say this, but it taught me A LOT.

In fact, every single one of my internships has taught me skills that it’d take me an insanely long time to learn through a course or book.

More importantly, internships opened me up to the fast-paced world of working in startups at a young age.

The rush of learning new skills every day and working hands-on to build something from scratch led me to take up many more internships throughout covid and college years.

If the idea of getting into the startup world energizes you but you don’t know how to bag an internship with less or no experience…

I’ve listed my top 3 tips to get AMAZING internships in this article.

I hope you come out reading this piece with a little more clarity and confidence on how to apply (and get selected) for internships at your dream startup!

Let’s get started…

First things first, there are a few things I’ve seen my friends do, which, honestly, are not terrible ways to gain experience, but not the best either.

Here are a few things I recommend you NOT do:

1. Don’t spend HOURS filling out applications on platforms like Internshala — it’s hard as hell to stand out and sucks a lot of your time and energy.

2. Don’t seek referrals from ALL your seniors and acquaintances — it more often than not leaves you with average referrals and makes you seem desperate to seniors.

3. Don’t SLOG in an exploitative workplace for ‘experience’ — nothing will kill your drive to build cool things faster than working in a toxic company for “experience”. Leave your internship if you see red flags. 

And now that the don’ts are out of the way…

Here are 3 things you SHOULD do Instead:

#1 Show you’re valuable BEFORE you ask for work

Entrepreneurs are smart and busy people. Your best shot trying to work with someone like that is to add value to them before you ask for favors (work in this case).

Sure, passion is great. But try to back it with a more solid proposition.

Here are some great ways to add value to the people you want to work with:


    • Reach out to founders and offer to help them with a specific problem they are facing

    • Create useful content for people in the same niche as you

    • Engage with the content of people you want to reach out to

Remember: People are much more likely to remember and offer you a role if you’ve helped them out in some way.

#2 Network the right way

Guess what? Networking doesn’t have to be stressful. Instead of actively seeking ‘connections’, just try to be helpful and friendly to people around you.

Here’s what that could look like:

Help your college juniors out with assignments or collaborate on projects with your seniors.

Go to offline/online meet-ups and events related to your interests and say hi to 5 new people.

Reach out to your friend and family asking if they need help with anything in their business.

These things seem like an unnecessary hassle but often have unexpected returns in the long run.

I’ve personally landed a ton of work opportunities just because I helped out people without any expectations in return.

As they say, a little kindness goes a long way, and that’s true for the startup world as well!

And last but not the least…

#3 Build cool stuff!

Because what better way to show your skill to recruiters than to have amazing proof of work?

Remember, it doesn’t have to be backbreaking work — just something you enjoy doing that also shows your skill!

For instance, you could:


    • Write a guest post your favorite blog page

    • Shoot an intro reel for a brand you love

    • Redesign the sales page of a product you use often

If that seems beginner-level stuff, you could:


    • Create a youtube channel

    • Start your own podcast

    • Build an audience on twitter

    • Grow an email list

The list is endless really, and you’ll only be limited by your imagination (or laziness :P)

But the point I’m trying to make is simple — publish your projects online so that people can discover you! Don’t hide your work.

That’s it, those tips implemented over time should bring a lot of awesome opportunities your way!

But wait, before you leave…

If you can think of a college or school friend who could use these tips to find better internships — please share this article with them.

I’ll buy you an ice cream 🙂

Oh also…

If these pointers have helped you bag a cool internship or work opportunity in the past, let me know in the comments below!

To read a more digestible version of this, check out this instagram post.

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