How to Bag Yourself an Internship at YouTube (Step by Step)

YouTube and Google

For many young students and graduates, an internship at YouTube is a dream come true. YouTube is owned by tech Giant Google where young engineers can thrive and learn techniques that aren’t taught in other types of internships. You have the chance to take ownership of your own projects and pitch ideas that can impact the whole world.

So what does it take to bag this in-demand internship? We’ve compiled a guide of how you can apply, what’s required of you and tips to get through the tough interview process and bag yourself a perfect summer job:

The details

YouTube has a range of internships positions available from programming to design, marketing and finance. Their BOLD Internship program runs for 10 – 12 weeks during the summer offering interns housing, travel arrangements (Google’s very own shuttle bus), housing, gym memberships and access to the Google wellness centre, free food, fun social events and a generous salary. Applications for the 2018 BOLD Internship Program closed on November 12th, 2017. Applications for 2019 will open in Autumn of 2018 so keep your eyes peeled. Applications for other positions like Software Engineer, PhD, will be accepted until February 2, 2018, at 11:59 pm PT.

Unlike many other internships, where the assistants send faxes and grab coffees, YouTube interns work on real products that will be used by the world. An ex YouTube intern said, “This internship allows you to have a lasting impact; you can make a change by putting a dent in the way people operate online.”

The how

Internships at YouTube are, as you can imagine, in high demand, with over 40,000 applicants each year, so the key is to prepare correctly and apply once the program is officially open. The tips below should give you a lot of help with the application process:

  • Search the Google Job board for internship opportunities: keep an eye out for the opening of the Bold Internship application process and follow the instructions on the Google website. You’ll need to provide some details like personal information and a copy of your CV and answer some questions. You can also regularly check Linked In for more detailed internships for MBA and PhD students.
  • Start something: Launching a small project, company or website will demonstrate innovation, entrepreneurship, initiative and a passion for technology. It’s something that Google take into great consideration when selecting their candidates. Having an already existing YouTube following will likely rank you at the top of the intern list.
  • Create an online portfolio:  If you’re applying for an internship at YouTube, it should be no surprise that an online portfolio is key. Use it to showcase your accomplishments so far. Abhimanyu Deora fast-tracked his interview process because he “completed the first 3 stages of a Google coding challenge/recruiting tool called Foobar.”
  • Make an eye-catching CV: With so many people applying for the same program, your CV is what will make you stand out. Read the application carefully and make sure your experience and education are clearly articulated and laid out in a logical and appealing fashion. If you have the option to submit a cover letter, then make the most of it, showcasing your passion for the company and role.
  • Tap into your network: Do you know anybody at Google? Or connect with someone on LinkedIn who works at YouTube. Having a referral will only get you past the resume screening process. After that, the procedure is same for everyone.
  • Practice: Practice coding, designing, building, reviewing or managing projects.  Almost all of the former interns who spoke to Fast Company said: “that previous practical experience helped them tremendously in landing the internship.”
  • Understand the product inside out: This may seem like a no-brainer, but understanding YouTube’s products inside out will help you tremendously in the interview process. Do your research and learn about products that may not be so well-known.
  • Start your journey early: If your dream is to intern with YouTube, start planning while you are in your first year of college. You could get another related internship that will look good on your CV and boost your chances.
  • Get some experience: An ex-intern told the Business Insider that "Google is really looking for experience…They want to find engineers who are motivated, so activities outside of school really At the same time, you need to know your basics. You need to understand simple algorithms and how to apply them. Google is all about application." A good idea would be to get some basic experience at a local business or online project.

The requirements

To get a foot in the door at Google and become an intern for the online video platform that dominates the industry you’ll need the below requirements:


  • Be currently enrolled in a 4-year BA/BS program, in any major, at a university in the United States with an expected graduation date between December 2018 and June 2019.
  • Be able to complete an 11-week program beginning in May or June 2018.
  • Have the authorisation to work in the United States.
  • Analytical skills and an interest in taking on business problems.
  • Interpersonal and organisational skills, with the ability to navigate an ambiguous environment.
  • Interest in the technology industry and Google’s business.

If you want to end up in Software Engineering you’ll be required to have the following skills:

  • Implementation skills with one or more general purpose programming languages including but not limited to: Java, C/C++, C#, Objective C, Python, JavaScript, or Go.
  • Research experience in Algorithms, Architecture, Artificial Intelligence, Compilers, Database, Data Mining, Distributed Systems, Machine Learning, Networking, or Systems.
  • A solid foundation in computer science, with strong competencies in data structures, algorithms, and software design.
  • Excellent communication skills (able to communicate technical concepts to a non-technical audience)

The interview

As you can imagine, the interview process to becoming a YouTube intern is no walk in the park. Unless you’ve been fast-tracked, it’ll go like this:

  • You’ll receive a one-on-one interview through Google Hangouts. This process usually lasts between 30-45 minutes where you’ll be asked general questions about your CV and yourself.
  • The next stage is called host matching: this is where you fill in a questionnaire and essentially request what department you would prefer to work in. During your application process, you will need to identify that your passion lies in the online video technology. If you are in touch with a recruiter you will have to tell them that your passion is to intern for YouTube. The hosts will link your skills to specific projects they have and will then contact you for a personal interview.
  • If successful, you’ll have a second telephone interview that’ll edge on the technical side. Here is where you’ll be asked the talked-about ‘terrifying Google Interview Questions’ and will be required to showcase your analytical thinking skills.
  • If you’re applying to be a software developer, you’ll then be required to code using Google Docs; you’re usually given 45-minutes to complete the task.

Tip: Remember that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should send a thank you letter to your interviewer after each round.

Landing an internship at YouTube will change your professional career for good. The credentials will look amazing on your CV, even if you don’t manage to land yourself a permanent job at the end of your internship program! The good news is that Google and YouTube highly rely on interns to take full-time positions that become available.

Have you applied for an internship at Google or another major tech-company before? If so, let us know how it went in the comment section below…


This article was originally published in July 2014.