William Brah is Director of the Venture Development Center at UMass Boston

Right now, over 150 of the best startup companies tackling the biggest, most difficult problems in Massachusetts are searching for students like you for paid internships.

This is your chance to something different and make an impact.

Companies aren’t just looking for engineers. In addition to people who design their product, they need people who communicate with current customers, acquire new ones, write copy, work with the media, and perform many other nontechnical tasks, too.

It’s never been easier to apply for an internship. All you have to do is submit your application, resume and cover letter to the MassTech Intern Partnership. Companies will contact you if there is a good match.

The question is, how do make sure there is a good match? We’re in a pretty good position to answer that question. During the last three years, UMass Boston created a program that has placed over 110 students into paid internships in an elite group of venture-backed startups in Massachusetts. 73% received full-time positions upon graduation.

We were commissioned by the MassTech Intern Partnership to write a “how to win an internship” book that is available on their web site.

What do you need to do to make the companies want you as part of their team? Companies are looking for evidence that you have depth in a specific area. And they are interested in what you have done or learned outside of your classes, in work experiences or free time.

So, you need to successfully communicate your skills and projects, first in a tailored resume, to get an interview, and then in person, to actually win the internship.

What are your skills?

Here is a list of the top skills high tech companies are looking for. Which ones do you feel are your strongest?

Engineering skills

• Frontend web dev (ex: HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery)

• Backend web dev (PHP, Rails, Django)

• Object oriented programming (ex: Java, C++, Python)

• Mobile dev (ex: iOS, Android)

• Databases (SQL / NOSQL; ex: MyN BVSQL, MongoDB, Cassandra)

• Data mining/analysis (ex: R, Octave, Weka, Orange)

• System administration (ex: Windows, Unix administration)

• Hardware design and simulation (SysML, HDL; ex: MATLAB, Simulink)

• User experience design (ex: WindowBuilder)

• Quality assurance and testing (ex: Bugzilla, Jenkins)

• Technical writing/documentation (Wikis; ex: Confluence)

Marketing and sales skills

• Community building (ex: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+)

• Search engine optimization (ex: Google Analytics)

• Customer relations management (ex: Zoho, Salesforce)

• Marketing analytics and measurement (ex: Hubspot)

• Outbound marketing (ex: tele sales, trade shows)

• Online demos/training (ex: WebEx, Skype, SlideShare)

• Email marketing (ex: ConstantContact, MailChimp)

• Online advertising (ex: Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads)

• Customer support (ex: ZenDesk)

• Web analytics (ex: Google Webmaster Tools)

• Marketing collateral design (ex: InDesign, web CMS)

What have you built or done?

High tech companies not only look at your skills, but what you’ve actually built or done outside of your classes, in work experiences or free time.

For example, you might know a programming language. But have you built something at a hackathon that is useful for you and your friends?

If what you’ve built or done is online somewhere, such as a personal or professional web site, make sure to provide the link in your resume. We recommend Seelio, a site for students who are builders and doers.

What is your story?

After you submit your resume and cover letter to the MassTech Intern Partnership, be prepared at all times for a company to call you for an interview.

Rehearse telling a story about your experience without using any “ums” and “ahs.”

Try to weave into the story how you persevere in accomplishing goals despite obstacles, love constant collaboration and shared projects, and have a strong appetite for learning new technologies.

At the beginning of the call, ask the company to describe the job they seek to fill, and its requirements and qualifications, so you can target your responses.

If there is a match, you’ll be invited to an in person interview. At the interview, verify that the company is using the internship as an extended interview and what you’ll need to accomplish to join full-time upon graduation.

Get ready for excitement, hard work, big rewards

The exhilaration of being part of a successful company produces pride and a sense of accomplishment that is extraordinary. Your hands-on, multi-functional experience will be a real asset for your long-term professional growth.

Here’s an example of the experience of one of our students.

Adrienne was a first generation college student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2009 she earned a bachelor’s degree in management science for marketing.

During the last semester of her senior year, Adrienne interned at a venture-backed startup providing data center infrastructure management software. Upon graduation, she was hired full time as Marketing Coordinator.

After two and one-half years, the company was acquired, and she was promoted to Marketing and Sales Operations Coordinator.

Eight months later, a big data company recruited Adrienne where she became Marketing Communications Manager. She has remained there for one year and three months.

Adrienne aims to be a VP for Marketing some day. That day might come soon. Another high tech company is recruiting her. Her current company countered with a huge bonus if she stays put.

We hope you will be as successful as Adrienne.