How to land IT internships in New York City

by Adam Calica
October 23, 2015
No matter where you’re from, scoring an internship in New York City, the metropolis of opportunity, puts the average IT student in great shape when it comes time to enter the workforce.
 
IT internships in NYC are highly competitive, and only highly talented or extremely well-prepared applicants will make the cut.
 
Besides the fact that internship opportunities in the city are available in most every field, there are abundant opportunities to join big-name corporations. In fact, landing an internship in NYC with a prestigious company could mean you’ll have your pick of places to work in the future.
 
NYC is a great place to look for IT internships because the opportunities are surprisingly diverse. The city is large enough that tech work can be found in almost every field, from the performing arts and fashion to finance and IT itself.
 
Because of the amazing opportunities that come with an NYC internship, competition is fierce. It won’t be easy to land one of these positions, but if you’re lucky enough to get one, you’ll reap the benefits of real-world experience and a handsome resume.
 
If you’re hoping to land an internship in New York, here are a few things you’ll want to do to prepare.
 
Appreciate the Culture
 
NYC is undeniably one of the largest and most diverse cities in the US. It boasts a rich, stimulating culture that’s unlike anywhere else.
 
Even people who’ve grown up in another large city can find transitioning into that chaotic world extremely difficult. Luckily, the culture is something that can be learned.
 
Take some time to study and appreciate the culture. When you interview for an internship in NYC, you want to look like you belong there. Find interests you share with the city, identify current fashions, and how IT fits into the general economy.
 
Know When to Be Aggressive
 
You don’t need to be cutthroat to make it in New York, but an edge of competitiveness will certainly help. It’s important to know when you should stand up for yourself and your ideas, and when it’s okay to be quiet and compliant.
 
Keep in mind, though, that being overly aggressive won’t impress most interviewers. As an intern, you’ll be about as low on the totem pole as you can get, so show that you know how to respect authority even if you assert your opinions now and then.
 
Understand the Economy 
 
You may have majored in IT, but you’ll need to know at least a little about what’s going on in the NYC business arena. It’s arguably the most competitive place for companies to grow and develop, and not every IT firm will make it there. Knowing the current state of the startup will give you a healthy outlook on whether it's a good fit.
 
Know Where to Look for Internship Opportunities 
 
You can Google search “IT internships in NYC,” but that’s what every other NYC-bound IT student will be doing. The competition for those internships will be extremely high.
 
Many large corporations looking for interns won’t post those opportunities on the familiar, run-of-the-mill job listing sites. To get the best results out of your NYC internship search, it’s wiser to look at specialized job listing websites that focus on IT internships in the NYC area.
 
Join the Right Societies
 
Volunteer work can be just as important as work experience, so joining societies is a great start. These associations don’t have to be IT-related. In fact, it’s better if you are participate in more than just IT societies. This gives you something to round out your portfolio and make you a more marketable internship candidate. 
 
One of the best societies is the NYC Summer Internship Program. Members must first apply and be accepted before entering the program, but it’s a superb society for facilitating development of the necessary skills to qualify for an internship. It may also put you in contact with amazing opportunities.
 
Show Some Passion 
 
When it comes to interviewing for IT internships, passion may outweigh grades or anything else that’s on your resume. You’ll need to begin with a great resume to get you noticed, but after that, success may center on the way you present yourself in the interview.
 
To show the proper amount of enthusiasm, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the product or services the hiring company offers. Research the operation extensively so you’re ready to answer any questions with enthusiasm instead of tentative generalities.
 
Also, find ways to demonstrate your knowledge. That’s one of the best ways to reveal your passion for the industry.  
 
Be Choosy About Unpaid Internships 
 
Realistically, you may have to take an unpaid internship. There’s so much competition for IT positions in NYC that not a few companies offer only unpaid internships.
 
They know students will take the internship even if there are no compensation and benefits attached. Such internships are often still highly valued for the sake of the training and experience.
 
That being said, some unpaid internships can be duds in companies looking for free labor. Before accepting an offer for a free internship, try to make sure it will give you the best opportunities for learning and growth.

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