Internships are not easy, especially if you end up spending most of your summer doing grunt work. That’s why Eric Woodard — the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Internships: 100 Steps to Get a Great Internship and Thrive in It” — says students need to target what he calls “high-impact” positions to make sure they are on the path to success. We asked Woodard for his tips for the best way to get a meaningful internship:

Create a career story: “You have to build career capital,” Woodard says. “There’s a difference between someone who has a résumé that’s all over the place and someone who crafted a story. You want to find an internship that contributes to that story.”

Mentorship: “Study after study shows that mentorship is key,” Woodard says. “You’re almost better off finding the not-so-great internship that’s at Bob’s Tackle Shop — not the shiniest — but if Bob is the best mentor in the world, that’s better than doing an internship at a more impressive company.”

Be Yourself: “If you are really genuine in your application, very good internship hosts are going to be attracted to that,” Woodard says. “For example, I ran into a situation recently where an applicant wrote us and said, ‘Hey, there’s an error on your website.’ He’s putting himself out there — that’s brave. That’s going to make your résumé a compass to point in the right direction and a magnet to really attract great internships.”

Be an attention grabber: “Get attention with your applications. You want to stand out,” Woodard says. “If you do that, you’ll find that the good internships are the ones that are going to notice that you’re being remarkable.” Look for signs “If you’re applying to an internship, you look for the language they use, and if there’s language that talks about how an internship is aimed at developing a student or they care about learning — that’s a really good sign,” Woodard says. “I can’t tell you how many internships are out there that don’t even mention that.”

Take risks: Don’t do everything by the book. “Lots of internships out there are looking for a carbon copy. They take the same students in the same way,” Woodard says. “The way to attract good internships is to take risks.”

Collect those contacts: “When I first started as an intern, one of the first things that someone gave me was one of those old Rolodexes, and I have three or four thousand contacts now — some of them I met 15 years ago,” Woodard says. “Building those contacts from the beginning is really important when trying to find jobs.”