How to Get an Internship at Starbucks

Illustration of woman sitting in a Starbucks shop and a barista

Working at a globally recognised business is an aspiration shared by many. If you’re a college student or a recent graduate, you could belong to the lucky few who make that dream come true!

Coffee giant Starbucks offers internship opportunities in a range of fields and provides its interns with opportunities to expand their transferable skills by working within specific sections of the corporation. Undoubtedly, it’s a great opportunity that could also result in future job prospects after graduation!

Here’s everything you need to know about getting an internship at Starbucks and gaining valuable work experience at one of the world’s biggest companies.

1. Know the Basics

Before you dive in, you first need to be aware of the available opportunities and their specific requirements. Indeed, the more informed you are, the better the chances of getting selected and becoming a partner (Starbucks avoids the word ‘employee’).

The first thing you need to know is that Starbucks’s internship programmes run for 10 weeks every summer. To be an eligible candidate, you need to be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate programme related to the role and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. It’s also necessary that you’re a semester to a year away from graduation. Moreover, interns are expected to move to the city where the internship is offered (typically Seattle, Washington).

This might also be a good time to mention all the perks you’ll enjoy, which are plenty! As an intern, you’ll be entitled to:

  • competitive salary
  • free housing
  • social events
  • travel expense reimbursements
  • opportunities to work on individual projects
  • seminars and professional skills coaching
  • networking events with company executives
  • in-store discounts and free products

2. Find the Right Role

As an intern, you’ll have the chance to work on projects that concern the company’s operations and performance. The only matter at hand is finding which position is the right one for you!

Starbucks offers a wide range of roles that you can pick from, and their internship programmes allow you to explore different areas within that role. However, while some take a broader approach, others are divided into more specialised business units. For example, you could apply for programmes that will require specific abilities, such as software development.

Also, the programmes you’ll be eligible for will depend on your degree subject, while it’s important to have background knowledge of the area your role will cover.

Options mainly include:

  • Finance Internships (this programme includes working with retail operations, consumer products and international businesses)
  • Marketing Internships (this includes positions in Product and Project Management and Product Design)
  • Supply Chain Internships (this involves coming up with cost-effective solutions in specific areas such as transportation, distribution and manufacturing)
  • Technology Internships (this includes programmes in Data Science Engineering, Information Security, Digital Products Design, and Application and Software Development)

On a side note, all these programmes take place at the company’s headquarters in Seattle. However, technology students also have the option to apply and work at the Starbucks Technology Centre in Scottsdale, Arizona.

3. Submit Your Application

There are different ways that you can apply for an internship at Starbucks. An excellent way to start is by checking for opportunities on campus, as the company has its own university recruitment team. Make sure to check if there will be company representatives in the next careers fair at your college, or if there are opportunities to network with them in other events on campus. If not, however, you could always apply online through Starbucks’s dedicated internships page on their website.

Once you select the programme you want to join, it’s time to work on your application - and I’m not just talking about crafting an impressive CV! Indeed, having a spotless online profile is as vital as a good CV and convincing cover letter. It’s essential, then, that you look professional on all fronts – especially those that can be Googled!

A good way to go about this is to set up a LinkedIn profile, if you haven’t already, make sure you include any information that could be relevant and useful to your recruiters. This, of course, also applies to your CV, as tailoring its content to the specific role will make you a more attractive candidate.

Starbucks looks for candidates from diverse backgrounds and is looking to recruit people who share the same values as them. So, before you click ‘Send’, make sure you first do some research on the company’s aims. Referring to key objectives in your application will help you stand out from others and boost your chances of getting selected.

4. Ace the Interview

Once your application passes the test, you’ll be given more information about the next stage of the process. In other words, it’s time for you to prepare for the interview!

The interview process is relatively straightforward. Interviews usually take place on-site or at your university’s campus and, depending on the role you applied for, you may also be asked to complete a practical test. As for the content of the interview, it will mostly consist of run-of-the-mill questions, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare an impressive repertoire of answers.

According to past interviewees, questions asked include ‘Tell us about a challenging situation you overcame’, ‘Why did you choose Starbucks?’ and ‘What are your long-term goals?’ Of course, you’ll also be asked to share your knowledge of the company and its brand persona, and this will be your moment to shine.

Recruiters will be looking for someone who has a genuine interest in the company, and who, of course, has an appreciation for coffee. This doesn’t mean you should be a coffee connoisseur, or even like coffee, but you should show awareness of Starbucks’s efforts and its role within the community.

Another critical point is to come up with questions of your own to ask the recruiters. Asking about the company’s plans and enquiring about the specific team you’re hoping to join will help you make a lasting impression. Not only will it demonstrate that you’re well informed, but it will also show recruiters that you’re eager to learn more. A smart way to go about this is to visit a local store and ask staff about Starbucks’s latest products and projects. After all, the more informed you are, the less likely you’ll be caught off guard when they ask your opinion of the latest Frappuccino drink!

One more thing: be mindful of your body language. The way you conduct yourself during the interview will affect your overall performance, so it’s essential that you’re engaging and that you make eye contact with the interviewers!

5. Get an Offer

And now you wait – but not for too long. Based on user-submitted reviews on Glassdoor, it can take between one to three weeks before you hear back from the Starbucks recruitment team. However, if it takes them longer, it might be a good idea to get in touch and follow up on your interview. Showing initiative will count in your favour!

If you’re thinking of going the extra mile and sending a ‘thank you’ note, meanwhile, make sure its content is meaningful. Use the opportunity to expand on a point further or clarify something that was covered during your interview. Undoubtedly, your recruiters will be impressed.

If you get the internship, well done! It’s time for you to prepare for your time as a partner at Starbucks and gain valuable work experience!

However, if you don’t get an offer, worry not! There’s an array of top-notch internships out there which you can apply for, instead, which include programmes at companies like Google, Apple and Facebook, so why not give those a go, too?

Have you ever applied for an internship at Starbucks? Got any useful tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!