Securing an internship has become increasingly difficult. Indeed, with so many students and graduates competing for the same spot, what was once an easy task has now turned into a battlefield.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! With a captivating cover letter and a personalized email, you can wow potential employers who weren’t even looking for an intern.
So, whether you need to secure a work placement for credits or you’re just really trying to get your foot in the door of your dream company, we’ve listed all the details to help you create a credible internship enquiry email.
As with any professional email, you need to stick to some basic formatting rules to ensure your enquiry reads well.
Your email should comprise the following components:
- Salutation: As with any formal email exchange, the reader should be addressed by name. Many young interns blast emails without finding a direct contact first — don’t blow your chances in the introduction, and instead hunt down your potential boss.
- Opening paragraph: This is where you should introduce yourself and show what you have to offer the company. You can list your educational background and any other placements you’ve had that can give you an edge over other candidates.
- Middle paragraph(s): Within the body of your email, you should describe how you found the company, explain what you admire about them, and even suggest ways that you can help improve their business. If you’ve already got something to offer, then it’s a sure-fire way of getting an interview. You should also explain what the internship is for and list your availability within this section.
- Final paragraph: In the last paragraph, explain again how much you admire the company and add a call to action. For example, you could say: “If you’re interested, I’d love to set up a call next week to discuss opportunities.”
- Closing: Finish off as you started with a professional “Kind regards” or “Yours sincerely”.
- Your name and signature: Sign off with your full name, followed by your telephone number.
Make sure to write a catchy subject line for your email. As hiring managers receive hundreds of emails a day, it takes a lot for them to pay attention to yours. You could opt for something like “Hire an Eager Intern”.
So, how do you write an email requesting an internship? Here are some handy tips to guide you through the process.
1. Do your research
Before you even start working on your application for an internship, you should first do your research to find out all you can about the business and the people that you will potentially be working with. And in today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever before!
You can begin your research by connecting with professionals on LinkedIn and following the company’s progress from articles that they’ve shared. During your company research, you’ll also need to find the correct person to address to show that you’ve gone above and beyond to find all you can about the company.
2. Personalize your emails
Although most of your requests will be similar in nature, it’s important to personalize each email instead of sending out a generic template that shows minimal effort. To do so, try to establish common ground. Maybe you’ve researched your contact and found that they share a common interest. Use this to your advantage by mentioning it within your internship enquiry.
The aim is to keep the hiring manager engaged and force them to read your cover letter until the end. If you manage to do this, you’ve likely bagged yourself a spot on the shortlist.
3. Highlight your skills
It’s important to highlight the skills that you already have and what you can bring to the table. Understandably, as an intern, you won’t have the depth of industry experience, but you should use university or school projects to showcase what you’ve achieved in the past.
You can also include transferable skills like social media expertise, interpersonal communication, problem-solving and time management. Just be sure to back up your claims with real examples of when you have demonstrated these skills.
4. Explain how you’ll contribute
Not only will you need to explain why you want to intern at the company but also what and how you’ll actually be able to contribute. You’ve talked about your education and skills, but thinking of scenarios where these skills can contribute to the company’s goals will impress the person you’re emailing — it will also show them you’ve dug deep and figured out what their goals are!
5. Ask questions
You’ll be adding a call to action in your email, but it’s also worth thinking of any (worthy) questions you might have. If you do have questions that you haven’t had answered in your research, you could always ask them in your email. By doing this, you’re showing further interest in the role, and there’s a higher chance they might respond to you and answer your question.
Each email you write will be different, as every company has different values and goals. Here are some examples for different scenarios to help you.
1. Make sure your email is professional
If you’re applying for internships by email, make sure your email address is professional and clear. You don’t want something like “xXjuicy_lucyXx” to pop up in the manager’s inbox. It’s best to use your name or initials and your surname in some shape or form. That way, they’ll know your name right from the start!
2. Don’t forget to attach your résumé and portfolio
Before you hit the “Send” button, make sure you’ve attached your résumé and a link to your portfolio (if you have one). There’s nothing worse than trying to recall an email because you’ve been careless enough to send your request without the attachments you mention in the email.
3. Explain what you want from the internship
While you’re trying to convince the hiring manager to give you an internship, it’s also vital to outline what you want to get from the experience. There’s nothing worse than turning up and realizing that it’s not what you expected.
If you plan on working on real projects instead of fetching tea and coffee all day, let them know! Explain how you want to get stuck in and do the same work that permanent employees would do. This shows that you have a great work ethic and are willing to work hard during your placement.
As with any professional correspondence, you should read over your email to ensure there are no grammatical errors or typos. Nothing ruins your chance of bagging the internship of your dreams faster than a badly written request.
If you need additional help proofreading your cover letter, you can use tools like Grammarly or Ginger. Alternatively, you could ask a friend or family member to read over your request before you send it.
5. Follow up
Sometimes people need a little nudge to notice you. So, if you haven’t heard back from the hiring team since your initial response, don’t be afraid to contact them again! Persistence often pays off — just make sure you don’t overdo it!
Set yourself a calendar reminder to follow up after a week if you haven’t heard from them before then. And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and speak to them in person. Communication is often more friendly when done over the phone.
In a nutshell, here’s everything you need to remember when writing an email asking for an internship:
- Tailor your email to the company, and address it to the hiring manager.
- Follow a clear, logical structure, and highlight what you bring to the table.
- Make sure you attach your résumé and use a catchy subject line.
- Don’t forget to proofread your email before sending it.
So, there you have it! Now you’re fully equipped to secure not one but multiple internships that will add great value to your résumé.
Have you ever written an internship email request before? Were you successful? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published on 11 August 2014. Updated by Hayley Ramsey.