Sending an email asking about an internship may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. As a college student, you can make it easy for yourself to secure an internship space by asking how to send an internship email.
Knowing how to prepare an amazing intern email is a vital skill you will need to acquire.
If you are applying for an internship, you will likely need to include a cover letter as part of your email application.
Your letter should be tailored to the specific internship and contain examples from your professional, academic and extracurricular experience.
You just need to follow these steps in this writing to come up with a good internship email (including reading some sample emails to help you write your own).
Why is an internship important?
Internships help students and prospective applicants gain the hands-on experience they need to develop and apply their knowledge and skills in the workplace.
An internship offer letter is a formal letter informing a student or individual that they have been selected for an internship position with your company or organization.
While job boards and online postings can be useful leads, networking is key. Reaching out directly to a recruiter or people you know can make all the difference in your internship search.
Whether you’ve been searching for a while and haven’t been lucky enough to get interviews or just want to be proactive, take the time to get a personal message to a professor you’d like to work with or an alum of your School currently employed by your dream company. It can really make you stand out from the crowd.
How to send an internship email
1. Do your research
First, start by brainstorming who to connect with about internship opportunities and keep a running list. Is there a particular company that you are interested in doing?
Use online tools like LinkedIn and your school’s alumni directory to find connections to your top companies. Are there professors whose work you particularly appreciate? Add their names to your list.
Now that you’ve identified all of the people you might want to reach out to, it is a good idea to prioritize and plan the order in which you will reach them.
Use your interest in the opportunity or organization and how comfortable you connect with the person as two guides.
2. Compose your emails
Now that you’ve identified a list of the people you want to reach out to, it’s time to start composing the actual messages. How to write it:
Use an appropriate greeting
Always use an appropriate greeting when reaching out. It’s one of the first things the recipients see and, let’s face it, the first impression counts.
- When emailing a recruiter or someone you have never met, it is a safe bet to leave with “Dear Sir / Madam / etc. [Last name]. “Just make sure you do your research to avoid using the wrong word of honor or pronoun; if you really don’t know which to use, try” Dear [first name] [Last name].”
- If you have reason to believe that you are satisfied with less formality (e.g. if you work in a startup with a casual culture), you can select “Dear [first name]”.
- In the case of a professor, write “Dear Professor / Prof. [Last name] “is the right way to greet someone.
- When you are more comfortable with the person – for example if they are a friend or mentor of the family – you can start your email with “Hello [first name]”.
Pay attention to your tone
If you’re cold-emailing a recruiter or professor you’ve never spoken to before, it’s better to be wrong on the formal side. When emailing a family friend, it’s okay to follow the lead of your past conversations and be a little more casual than with a stranger.
Reference your connection
Always make sure to highlight the way in which you are connected with this person. Are you an alum of your college? Is that a family friend you saw at a meeting last month?
When emailing a professor make sure you either refers to the courses you have taken with them or some way you can connect to their work.
Even when reaching out to a recruiter, mention how you heard about the company or if another connection referred you (just make sure that connection is comfortable with you using their name).
Highlight What Interests You
It’s important to show the person you’re emailing that you’ve done your homework, rather than simply sending bulk emails about internship opportunities.
The best way to show your interest is to highlight what excites you most about that internship, research project, or company.
When you’re applying for a specific internship, it’s easy: just make sure you mention certain aspects of the position that you find interesting and exciting.
However, sometimes you can send emails without a specific internship in mind. Perhaps the organization doesn’t have a formal internship program, but you would like the opportunity to work on a specific team or project.
When contacting a professor about research opportunities or potential laboratory work, mention how their work aligns with your academic interests and long-term goals, and what you have already done to contribute to their project.
Make a specific request
Don’t be vague. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the person on the other end to understand what you are looking for and respond to your request.
When emailing about a specific internship, include either the reference number or a link to the job posting in your note.
In any case, you want the reader to know what’s going to happen next, be it a phone call, an email introduction, or a meeting.
Keep the email short
Show that you value others’ time by keeping your emails short. Introduce yourself, highlight your interest, insert your question, and quickly and concisely suggest the next step.
People often want to help but are also busy – so they are much more likely to respond to your request if your email is concise and they can easily do what you ask.
Attach an updated résumé
Make sure you include your current resume. In some cases, you can also include your cover letter – for example, if you applied separately for a specific position and would like to add your cover letter as an FYI.
Your documents should be tailored to the type of internship you are looking for – or, if so, to the exact position you are applying for.
It’s impossible to put all of your credentials in that one short email, so take the opportunity to further demonstrate your interest and qualifications.
If these documents are a good fit for the role you are interested in, then it is much more likely that someone will respond or put you in touch with another person.
3. Check out these sample emails for inspiration
Check out these sample emails for inspiration as you start designing. This is what it could look like if…
… you send an email to an alum from your school
Reaching out with an alum can be a great strategy in finding an internship. If you’ve noticed an alum working for a company you’re interested in, then you should send them a message like this.
Subject: MIT Undergrad – Materials Science Internship
Dear Mr. Cho,
My name is Jane and I’m a junior at MIT studying mechanical engineering. I recently started looking for a summer internship and realized that the Bosch Group is currently looking for an engineering internship in your department in the summer.
I saw on LinkedIn that you work for the Bosch materials science group and realized that not only are you a graduate in mechanical engineering, but like me, you were also a member of the on-campus pedagogy course.
I really wanted to get in touch with you as I am very interested in this internship opportunity and would like to learn more about your experience at Bosch and your advice on the hiring process.
Do you have time for a quick phone call next week? I know that you are busy and I would love any time very much. I have also attached my résumé and cover letter I submitted with my online application in case it is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.
…You’re Emailing a Professor
When emailing a professor about a potential research experience, use the following example to walk you through your design.
Subject: Summer Research
Dear Professor Jones,
My name is Jane and I am studying mechanical engineering in my first year. I am very interested in biotechnology and am particularly fascinated by your medical device research. I am currently taking several related courses including medical device design and a microcontroller laboratory course.
I was wondering if you will be available in your laboratory for a bachelor researcher this summer. I would be happy to be able to dedicate 20-25 hours per week to a research project in your laboratory.
I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this possibility and look forward to attending your office hour on January 9th, when it is most convenient. I’m also free on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. In the meantime, I’ve included my résumé for review. Thanks for your time.
… you send an email to a recruiter
When emailing a recruiter, it’s important to refer to a specific vacancy and/or talk about why you’re interested in the work of that company – or better yet, a particular department or team. A note like this would be a good place to start.
Subject: Application for a summer engineering internship
Dear Ms. Hernandez,
My name is Jane and I am studying mechanical engineering at MIT. I was thrilled to see Medtronic’s summer engineering internship advertised (Listing ID # 7648) as I have a deep interest in engineering and device design, and am particularly intrigued by Medtronic’s work on patient involvement.
I applied for this position online, but also attached my cover letter and résumé here for review. I believe my relevant skills and technical experience would be a good fit for this position, and I hope to have the opportunity to discuss in more detail with you how I can support Medtronic’s patient initiative this summer.
… you are sending an email to a family friend
When emailing a family friend, it’s okay to be a little more casual, especially if you’ve met and got along well in the past. Use the following example to see how you can reach someone on your personal network.
Subject: Interested in a summer internship
I hope everything is good! It was great to meet you at Chatterjee’s Open House last week. I’m getting in touch because I’m currently looking for a summer internship and I remembered from our conversation that you are a product designer at Medtronic.
As you know, I am finishing my junior year and I would love to spend my summer as an engineering intern at Medtronic. I wonder if you have time next week to meet for coffee and talk about company opportunities. I would also appreciate an introduction if you think I should connect with someone.
I have attached my résumé for reference. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can send you anything that could be helpful. I appreciate any guidance you can provide and hope to see you soon.
4. Follow up
After you’ve sent your emails, it’s a good idea to give your contacts some time before following upon them. Waiting can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that everyone is busy and it may only take them a few days to get to your note.
If it’s been a week or so and you haven’t heard, a friendly reminder is available to follow up.
Here is an example of what that might look like:
Dear Ms. Hernandez,
I hope you enjoy this news! Recently, I asked about a possible summer internship at Medtronics and really wanted to follow up.
am very interested in working with Medtronics and would be happy to speak to you about the position as an engineering intern. I appreciate your time and hope to have the opportunity to speak to you soon.
You may feel uncomfortable and nervous about sending this type of email, but it’s still worth contacting.
Remember that even if an email doesn’t lead directly to an internship, any connection you make is a valuable opportunity to network and learn about potential career paths and internship opportunities.
And you never know, someone you connect with now may remember you a few years later when another great opportunity arises.
How do I write a cover letter for an internship?
A well-written cover letter should highlight relevant skills and experience that make you best suited for the position.
It should also grab the employer’s attention and convince them to keep checking your resume. In order to achieve these goals, it is important to include some important information:
1. Indicate the exact position you are applying for
Starting your cover letter with the position you are applying for shows that you have carefully considered what makes you the best candidate for that particular position.
It also means that you have created a cover letter to open instead of using a generic cover letter for all applications. It also reminds the audience of the location and provides context for the rest of your letter.
2. Use the correct keywords
Employers often scan resumes and cover letters for keywords related to the job. Carefully review the job description and company website for any pointers that you should include.
For example, if the job description mentions “time management” as the desired quality, try to include relevant examples in your cover letter.
3. Add relevant academic achievements
If you have little to no work experience, your relevant academic achievements can be helpful for employers. Add your completed courses relevant to the job description or industry. For example, if you are applying for a design internship, you should list your design courses and any major related accomplishments.
4. Name relevant skills
In the body of your cover letter, you can highlight relevant knowledge, expertise and education that will benefit the employer. Even if you don’t have any work experience in the industry, you can still include skills gained in previous jobs, volunteer work, completed courses or projects, or accomplishments in extracurricular activities.
For example, if you’re applying for a reporting intern with a local magazine, you could talk about your role as an editor for the student newspaper or how you learned the importance of time management from your previous job as an office receptionist.
5. Explain why you are well suited for the role
Add a sentence or two about your qualification for the internship. Read the advertised job description carefully to understand what skills and experience the employer is looking for.
Coordinate these with your own and decide what to prioritize in your cover letter based on the publication.
6. Describe what you think you would gain from the internship
In most cases, employers have developed an internship program to help students and young professionals better understand the industry and develop skills, experiences, and relationships that will serve them throughout their careers.
In addition to explaining what you will bring with you, highlight what you want to achieve and learn through the internship.
7. Review your cover letter before submitting it
When your cover letter is ready, take the time to look through and edit. When proofreading, watch out for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors carefully. Whenever possible, ask trusted friends or family members to review your final design from a third-party perspective.
What to expect in an internship offer letter?
An internship offer letter should include some important details about the position, such as:
- Company Name
- Title of the internship
- Dates on which the internship program starts and ends
- Anticipated work schedule during the internship program
- Information on whether the position is paid or unpaid
- Legal disclosures such as competition and nondisclosure agreements
- Name of the supervisor or manager who will oversee the position
- Declaration of acceptance and signature part with a deadline for reply
Your internship cover letter can summarize your best qualities, skills, and experience to show employers that you have the knowledge necessary to excel in the position.
With these tips, you can write a convincing letter and get one step closer to your dream internship.