How to Write an Email Asking for an Internship

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In today’s digital world, using email to ask for an internship is increasingly normal. If you see an internship posting or would like to inquire about possible internships, email the listed contact person. Be sure to write your email as formally as you would write a letter. Use proper salutations, closings, and grammar. Double check your work and get ready to receive responses.


EditSample Emails

Sample Application for Intern

Sample Email About Public Relations Internship

Sample Email About Event Planning Internship

Sample Internship Coverletter

EditPreparing to Write Your Email

  1. Create a professional email address. When sending business correspondence, use a professional, clear email address. Avoid nicknames or unnecessary symbols and numbers. A variation of your name can work well. For example: would be fine.
    Write an Email Asking for an Internship Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • If your current email address is connected with a social media profile that contains any unprofessional content, create and use a different address. Also, adjust your privacy settings on social media.
  2. Research the company. Before you ask for an internship, research the company at which you would like to work. Visit their website. Read any news articles about them. If the company has an accessible product, like social media, use the product for a week to test it. Use your insights to craft your letter. Prospective employers appreciate candidates who know something about the company and can demonstrate this knowledge coherently.
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  3. Find a mutual contact. It is beneficial to have a connection at a company. Use social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to conduct keyword searches for the company. If contacts come up, check their positions. Politely request a phone or in-person interview. Ask for tips regarding your internship application.
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    • With LinkedIn you can see which of your contacts’ contacts work at a firm. Do not hesitate to ask your contact to connect you with one of their contacts. Do be tactful, though, and do not ask the same person for assistance repeatedly.
    • Many universities provide online alumni databases. You can search for people with certain jobs or workplaces through these sites. Alumni who provide their contact information often are open to receiving emails or phone calls from students.
    • When discussing the company with your contact, mention that you are interested in an internship. Ask about the company’s organizational structure, work environment, goals, etc.
  4. Determine the recipient. Does the internship posting include the name of the contact person? If so, use that person’s name and email address. If there is not a listed contact person, call the company to ask who is in charge of internship recruitment. If no one is in charge, address your email to a senior person in human resources at the company. If you speak to any person at the firm, you can mention this in the beginning of your email.
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    • When you cannot find the name of any employee, address your email to “Dear Sir or Madam.”
  5. Be specific with your subject line. You want your email to be noticed in a high-volume inbox. For example, you could write, “Company X Internship Application: Joanna Smith.” If applicable, use the specific subject line requested by the employer.
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EditWriting Paragraph One

  1. Address the recipient formally. In the first line, begin your email with “Dear Dr./Mr./Ms./Mrs. Smith” depending on the contact person’s name, title, and gender. Do not write “Hey Mary” or “Hello.” Use the same formality you would use when writing a professional letter.
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    • If you cannot determine the person’s gender, address the person with his/her full name. For example, write “Dear Bobbi Reynolds.”
  2. Introduce yourself. Tell the recipient your name and your status (e.g. Third year biology major at University X). State how you found out about the internship, whether online, in the newspaper, or through a contact. If you have a mutual contact, state this as soon as possible. For example, you could write: [The program director / My professor / etc.], [title and name], suggested that I contact you.
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  3. Mention your availability. State your potential starting and end dates and whether these are flexible. If you would be available, for example, for a spring semester internship plus a full-time summer internship, share this as well. Specify the number of hours per week you can work.[1]
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  4. State the purpose of the internship. Do you need an internship for course credit? If applicable, indicate you are pursuing an internship primarily for experience and are flexible with job responsibilities and compensation. Write what skills you hope to gain from the internship.[2]
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  5. Share what you admire about the company. Bring up something that you know or think the organization values about itself. Avoid mentioning any negative news stories. Keep your letter positive. For example, you could state: [Name of company] has a reputation for excellence, and I value your commitment to [budgeting free care for abandoned animals].
    Write an Email Asking for an Internship Step 10 Version 3.jpg

EditWriting Paragraph Two

  1. Discuss your qualifications and experience. Through several sentences, share information about coursework, previous work experience, and any applicable skills. Demonstrate how your knowledge can benefit the organization. Include information about work and volunteer positions and how these experiences have prepared you for this role. Emphasize how you can contribute to the organization.[3] Your potential employer needs to believe you can handle assigned tasks.[4]
    Write an Email Asking for an Internship Step 11.jpg
    • Describe work experience with strong verbs. Rather than writing: “I was a marketing intern for two years,” declare “As a marketing intern, I created fresh content, designed digital and print brochures, and managed social media outlets for a business with fifty employees.”
    • Skills can include social media, event organization, or myriad other things.
  2. Mention academic or extra-curricular successes. Write about your academic qualifications. If you have had leadership roles, describe your duties and/or accomplishments. Have you lead a committee? Have you coached a team? Keep these explanations brief so that you do not lose your reader’s attention.
    Write an Email Asking for an Internship Step 12.jpg
    • Instead of using adjectives to describe yourself, use concrete examples that show your qualities. For instance, rather than saying “I am an ambitious student,” write “I have consistently remained in the top 10 percent of my class.”

EditClosing the Email

  1. State when you will be in contact. Discuss when and how you will contact the employer to follow up on the status of your application. Give your contact information, i.e., name, email address, phone number, and availability as well. You could write: I am reachable by phone or email. If you cannot get back to me, I will call you [next Monday].
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  2. Close the email. It is polite to thank the reader for taking the time to review your materials. End with a cordial closing, such as “sincerely.” If you have spoken to the person via phone or in person previously, you might use a greeting like “best regards.” Do not use “Thanks” or simply “Best” as closings in formal correspondence. Sign your full name, e.g. Joanna Smith rather than just Joanna.
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  3. Evaluate attachments. Do not attach your resume to an unsolicited internship email. Unless the company is actively seeking interns, they may not want to open your attached copy, especially if they have a workplace policy about attachments. If the posting asked for a resume, attach your document as a PDF (as opposed to a Word document, where the formatting may be lost/altered when opened on a different system).
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    • Some employers may specify that they do not open email attachments. If so, include your cover letter and resume in the body of the email. Make sure to space them apart to make it easier for the employer to distinguish each document.
  4. Follow up as promised. If you have not heard back from the organization, email them again – or, preferably, call them. You could write: Dear Dr. Hansen, my name is [name] and I am following up on an email I sent you last week about a [fall] internship. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the position. Thank you. Sincerely, Joanna Smith.
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  • Attaching a cover letter brings formality, as email messages tend to be a casual means of communication. If you attach your cover letter, your email message should be brief but respectful, addressing the employer, mentioning who you are, for what you are applying, and that your resume and cover letter are attached. Sign the message and provide your contact information.
  • Do not make your email look like a form email. Customize every email you send so that the company knows you aren’t taking a scattershot approach to your internship search.

EditSources and Citations

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