Be competitive. Be hungry. Be prepared.

Plum internships, like the paid, full-time summer internship at the Denver Post, are hard to land. So, what does it take to become the next Post intern? City editor, Larry Ryckman, generously opened up the "reject" and "keeper" piles for our review. Here are a few insider tips to help get you noticed, and, just maybe … considered for the position. Besides having the expected minimum 3.0 GPA…

You should:

  • Include strong writing samples with your resume
  • Get a recommendation before you apply
  • Include journalism awards on your resume
  • Have a "digital first" mentality
  • Already be using social media and not just being social

What NOT to do:

  • Don’t say the reason you want the internship is so you can stay in Colorado! Nobody wants to hear that.
  • Don’t tell them what they already know. Those reviewing cover letters already know how many Pulitzer prizes the Denver Post has won.
  • Don’t expound on how much the internship would mean to you. Instead, tell them how you can help THEM. By the time they finish reading your cover letter, they should feel they can’t live without your skills and contributions.
  • Don’t apply on the last day. Be on top of deadlines. That’s going to be important for all news positions, including this internship. The Denver Post internship is posted on their site, as well as on Career Buffs.

Ok, let’s say you are chosen. Celebrate! Then…

  • Be hungry.

Check in with your editor the moment you arrive. Newsrooms are insanely busy places, and the environment can be intimidating. If your editor is too busy to work with you when you arrive, he/she will let you know. Be sure to check back once things calm down. Be inquisitive, be ready to learn from constructive criticism and be ready to work hard.

  • Be prepared.

Bring food and water in your purse, backpack or pocket. You never know how long you’ll be out in the field. Wear sunscreen. Have a change of clothes in your car. Have two changes of clothes in your car. Be ready to be sent to the courthouse, to a fire, to be out all day in the heat. Be prepared to learn a lot, grow as a writer and be surrounded by some of the best in the business. Good luck!​

Note: Unlike many employers, folks at the Denver Post do make every effort to notify all applicants of their status. If you don’t get the internship, they’ll let you know. Try again once next year, when you have more experience and stronger clips.