How to Ask for an Internship
- Start your internship search early and research the company and internship manager.
- Try to maintain a professional tone and err on the side of formality.
- Keep your email concise and direct.
With so many students actively seeking internships while still in school to build up their resumes, you'll likely need to search for an opportunity rather than waiting for one to come to you.
Read on to learn how to properly ask for an internship, what to include in your email, and where to find relevant contact information.
When to Ask for an Internship
Determining when and how to ask for an internship depends on several factors. Some colleges do not allow students to take on an internship until at least their junior year. Applicants should begin seeking out internships as early as their university rules allow. Internships, especially paid internships, tend to be highly competitive.
Understanding how to ask for an internship is as important as knowing when to begin your search. Some companies provide a formalized internship application process, while others prefer applicants to reach out directly for opportunities. Following directions closely can make or break a student's chances.
Research and Contact Companies
Finding a company that aligns with your career goals is an important part of the process. The last thing you should do is take an internship that doesn't advance your goals.
Start researching companies early to determine availability. Consider whether an in-person internship best supports your goals or if a virtual opportunity may work better with your schedule. Create a list of prospective companies early on so you can start reaching out.
Email is usually the best mode for initial contact. Most companies provide a contact page. Alternatively, you may be able to find the email for an internship coordinator on the website's "About Us" or "Team" page.
How to Write an Email Asking for an Internship
Figure Out an Appropriate Greeting
Whenever possible, try to figure out the name of the relevant person when crafting an email for internship opportunities. Even if you send an email to the generic address first to ask who you should contact, this can help demonstrate your commitment to details.
When you know the name of the contact, always use the appropriate title. If they hold a Ph.D., make sure to use "Dr." If you're unsure of your contact's gender, follow "Dear" with their full name.
If, after exhausting your resources, you still do not have a specific name, a generic greeting will suffice. Standard options include "To Whom It May Concern" and "Dear Hiring Manager."
Be Straightforward With Your Request
Keep your request simple. The internship manager likely has other responsibilities, making their time valuable. Still, you want to demonstrate that you did your research, understand the company, and feel drawn to specific values or functions.
State that you would like to apply for an internship for a particular time frame, ask about the process, and quickly relay relevant experience. If you know someone who works at the company, you can also briefly mention them as a connection.
Maintain a Professional Tone
Whether applying to a multinational consulting firm, a tech startup, or a local social media company, err on the side of formality in your first email, especially if you're reaching out for the first time to someone you don't know.
After hearing back from the contact, you can follow their lead in terms of formality. Always keep a professional tone throughout the discourse.
Attach Your Resume and Cover Letter
After making contact and ascertaining whether you can apply for an internship, you should send your resume and cover letter. Internship managers understand that you want to gain experience you may not already possess. Your resume should include any high school and/or summer jobs, along with any volunteer work.
If the company offers several types of internships, include a cover letter demonstrating your interest in a particular opportunity and highlight relevant skills or interests you can bring to the role.
Internship Email Sample
- Sample Email
Subject Line: Summer Internship Opportunity With Cofleet Industries
Dear Ms. Patel,
My name is Laurel Montgomery, and I am a senior communication student at Vanderbilt University. While reviewing your company website, I came across the summer internship program and quickly decided it closely matched my goals for building real-world experience in social media marketing.
Per the internship application requirements, I applied for the position using the online form supplied on the website. I am following up with you to attach my cover letter and resume and to also express my sincere interest in the position. Reading about Cofleet's commitment to social media engagement with underserved communities aligns with my senior research interests.
I hope for the opportunity to discuss this role with you at a convenient time. You can find my email address and phone number in my resume header as well as in my signature.
Feature Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images