Want to intern at NPR? Tips from Andy Carvin.

The following tips were pulled from Andy Carvin’s AMA on Reddit. 

As someone who’s hired interns at NPR for the last last five years or so, here are some tips/suggestions/ideas/whatever:

  • Focus your application. When you apply, don’t tell us you’d like to apply for an internship at 10 different shows or desks. When I review applications, I try to look for people who’ve chosen to focus on our desk - the social media desk in my case - or who’s picked no more than two or three possibilities.

  • I’ve never picked an intern for NPR Music, but I imagine it’s very, very competitive. The interns I’ve interact with from their team have always been really solid.

  • If you’re interning at the station, try to get involved in as much as you can. Learn to cut audio. Help manage the website or social media platforms. Pitch a story and produce it. We’re always happy to receive applications in which someone has experience at a member station, and especially happy if they have some technical chops to go with it.

  • Be as specific as possible when describing what you want to do at NPR and why - and how it’ll help you into the future.

  • Tell us what you’re really good at. Well, at least stuff that could be relevant to having an NPR internship.

  • Tell us about your experiences in college that could be relevant to an internship.

  • Don’t try to be funny in your cover letter. Unless you’re genuinely a hilarious person. If your jokes flop, it won’t go over well.

  • On your resume, we’re not particularly interested in the Dairy Queen job you had at age 14. We know you’re just kicking off your career, so don’t fill it with stuff that really doesn’t tell us about who you are. If you’ve done volunteer work, our done anything that shows your leadership abilities, emphasize it.

  • We love interns who work well in a group environment and are also self-starters. If you’re like that show us some examples.

  • Writing/audio/content samples from your portfolio are always welcome, especially if the department you’re applying for is involved in content production. One exception: research papers. Seriously, tl;dr.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions about interning at NPR.

You are human. We are human. Call us crazy, but we think that actual people make the best decisions when it comes to evaluating a resume. When reviewing your application, we don’t rely on robots or keyword-matching software to select the strongest candidates. We rely on humans. Most often, this human is a member of the recruiting or HR team. Sometimes it’s the hiring manager or someone who works closely with the hiring manager. In short, the people who know most about the position are reviewing each application to find the best candidates for the job. Read more in the NPR Applicant Experience Pledge.