Internship Dreams, DO come true – “How to land the internship you want”

By: Abegayle Neri

Top Photo: Intern lunch in Washington Square Park
Bottom Photo: My farewell lunch with Penguin Young Readers Publicity Staff


I never thought that I would be able to land a prestigious internship in New York City. Penguin Group (USA) is part of the globally distinguished Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishing houses in the world. The only reasons I got the internship with Penguin were because I executed every step of the application and interview process flawlessly. If I can reach my dream internship, ANY PIRATE CAN by following a few simple tips.

Tip 1: Know what you want and why you want it

If you choose a company that embodies your values and passions, it is evident during the application and interview process. After reading through the tips, you will see why this factor was the key to my success.

Penguin Group Publishing Company’s internship program was named one of the top 17 internships in the country by Seventeen Magazine. As an avid reader and book worm, I began working on my application for an internship with my dream company.

Tip 2: Evaluate ALL of your connections… even the ones you don’t know you have.

You never know whom you are connected to unless you take the time to explore every facet of your network. Perhaps start by making a networking tree to help map out and organize your contacts.

Trying to exploit every connection I had, I turned to my sister, a NYC resident. Exhausting all of her resources, she found a friend of a friend’s contact at Penguin Group. That contact became my first “In” with the company.

Tip 3: Perfect your resume and cover letter.  

When writing your cover letter, let your personality, strengths, and enthusiasm for the company shine. Also, get a second opinion on your work and have someone review it.

It was easy for me to write about how my abilities would match well with Penguin’s standards and mission because of my love for books. After refining my resume and cover letter through the ECU-COB Career Center, I was ready to send my application to Human Resources and my contact at the company.


Be patient and positive! There is no harm in making a follow up e-mail or call to the company.

Anticipating the worst after months of hearing nothing from the company, I decided to start applying for other internships. After patiently waiting, I was rewarded with a phone call.

Tip 5: Prep and practice for the interview… a lot.

Wow the interviewer with your knowledge of the industry and the company. Review standard and expected industry or company interview questions with another person. Leave them with a lasting impression by showcasing your personality and excitement for your opportunity to learn.

Many of the 50 Penguin interns came from academic heavy weight schools including Yale, Columbia, and Princeton. I ultimately got offered a position because I nailed all four of my phone interviews. I also proved to them why working for their company was significant to me by gushing about how my favorite books changed my life, and how books can have the same affect on other peoples lives.