Impactful Internships: How to Make Yourself Stand Out

Internships can significantly affect your career opportunities and help your resume become more well-rounded before applying for a full-time position. We sat down with Breda Brosey, chapter leader at NeW at The Catholic University of America, to get her tips on how to be a standout intern! Read on to hear about her experience as an intern for The Federalist Society. 

1 – Which experience do you think prepared you the most for your Federalist Society internship? 

As a Federalist Society intern since September 2023, I perform detailed legal research and writing projects for our nationwide Practice Groups, provide background research on case briefs, author perspective, and summary memos, research and organize Continuing Legal Education panels, and support the planning and execution of the National Lawyers Convention working closely with the national office staff. I wrote a summary of the Rogue Prosecutors book that was the subject of a Federalist Society Practice Group meeting. I am currently writing summaries of scholarly articles about polarization in state courts. I attended a national student symposium where I connected with law students at Harvard Law School. I also facilitate discussions and collaborate with legal scholars.  

The relevant experience that prepared me for the Federalist Society intern position includes my current Catholic University of America (CUA) NeW Marketing Chair position, an internship with Congressman Alex Mooney in the US House of Representatives, CUA educational and volunteer opportunities, and political action committee participation.   

As the CUA NeW Marketing Chair, I supported all NeW events, getting the word out using social media. For example, I facilitate an internship, resume, and cover letter workshop and provide professional headshots.   

As a U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Intern for Alex Mooney (WV), I communicated with constituents, provided Capitol tours, wrote op-eds for release to the public and press, attended hearings and briefings, drafted letters, and staffed a visitor desk. I also conducted background research for public and press inquiries. I responded to public inquiries in person, on the telephone, and when writing Congressional 449s and op-eds.   

My relevant educational and volunteer opportunities include the CUA Student Government Research Committee Lead and Associate, where I researched and wrote about current CUA policy and legislation topics. I researched, presented, and defended research papers. I lead mock trials for both the defendant and prosecutor roles. I took public speaking, marketing, and communications courses. As the volunteer Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Mooney for Senate campaign, I actively organized and participated in phone banking campaigns to engage with voters and promote Mooney for Senate. I conducted outbound calls to education community members. I used practical communication skills to convey key messages and gather feedback. I analyzed data analytics. I collaborated with team members to meet campaign goals and objectives. I participated in and often led political action groups at CUA. I raised funds for a Presidential candidate. I organized speeches for the Young America’s Foundation. As the College Republicans Administrative Chair and an active member of the College Republicans, I worked campaigns for multiple US Congressional candidates.

2 – What has been your biggest takeaway or lesson from this experience so far?

At the Federalist Society, I learned how to improve my writing, especially to be more precise in my summaries and case briefs. At our events, I networked with lawyers and learned about the different kinds of law to consider and what type of law I wanted to practice. While talking to law students, I learned about law school and LSAT preparation techniques.   

3 – What have you done at your internship to make yourself stand out? 

  • In my internship at the Federalist Society, it is essential to be proactive. I try to improve the product, the environment, or the process—I don’t wait for others to reach out first!   
  • Offer assistance: When all of my tasks are completed, I ask my supervisor if they need any help or if there is anything I can do to reduce their workload.   
  • I seek learning opportunities every day.   
  • I reach out first and take the time to get to know people. I’ve learned to email or text people for a coffee chat or an informational interview. You will be surprised at how much valuable information you can gain.    
  • It is better to ask than to assume you know the answer.    
  • Take notes and always be present in every conversation.   

4 – What are your best networking and experience tips for someone who wants to land a similar internship or job? 

  • Prepare to network. When networking at a professional event, my best tip is to plan and research to understand who will attend and speak. Identify the person who is a hiring decision-maker. This person is the focus of your research. I check their LinkedIn profiles to understand their history and interests. I plan to ask them questions: What is the current work focus? What qualifications are most important in today’s situations? What does a day in the internship or job look like? I build my network by connecting with others on LinkedIn.   
  • Overcome the nervousness. I am always nervous before I get to a professional event. I always attend with a friend or talk to the most approachable person first as I move around the room.    
  • Identify a mentor who can provide invaluable advice in navigating your studies, internships, and jobs. In my case, a staff member from the Federalist Society was my mentor and provided invaluable support in navigating my career path within conservative circles, which is so critical. Recognizing the importance of networking and professional connections, my mentor offered valuable career advice and facilitated introductions to key individuals within conservative organizations.    
  • Ask for more responsibility in your current role. The worst that can happen is that they say “no.” Plan for each request by offering suggestions for increased responsibility and the benefits you can provide to the internship or job.    
  • Ask for coffee with someone you admire. Plan for each request by creating a list of questions beforehand. Think through the expected conversation and anticipate questions you could receive and the questions you want to ask. Preparing questions to show interest in the internship or job is essential.     
  • Always ask for and be open to feedback.    
  • Make sure your voice is heard.    
  • Invest in your growth with professional training, reading books, and attending professional events. 

Thank you to Breda for sharing her wealth of information! We hope this info inspires you to get the most out of your internship. For more information and tips on college internships, you can check out one of our past blogs: How to Make the Most of Your College Experience. 




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