Nowadays, if you want to be able to get a job, there is one major thing that you need to have done beforehand: gather some experience.
Whether it’s through having worked previous jobs, having gone through an internship, or even participating in some experience opportunities while at college, employers need to know that you have practiced some key skills.
The best way to get a good amount of job experience is usually to apply for an internship.
Some of them are paid, and some aren’t, but they all provide you with a good insight into the industry you are wanting to work within, and if you do well, you could end up with some great recommendations and opportunities all lined up for you!
That being said, the world of internships is…quite competitive. And not everyone is able to get one! So…how do you go about finding one?
Well, the easiest way is painstakingly simple: ask for one. Sure, most people will wait for the window of applications for internships, but sometimes you can really just ask, and you don’t lose anything by doing so!
But…how do you ask for an internship? It can be quite daunting, so we are going to guide you through the process, and give you some great tips that are sure to help you out! Does that sound good? Then let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
What Is An Internship?
Before we tell you how to go about asking for an internship, we thought it would be worth clarifying exactly what an internship is, just so that you’re sure this is something you want, and something you actually want to ask for. And because having a better understanding of an internship will help you in the process of getting one!
An internship, but simply, is an official program provided by an organization or company, which is there to train students and graduates so that they are able to have some valuable work experience.
Basically, the intern gets some experience, while training some basic skills and learning about the industry, and in exchange, the company or organization gets the intern to perform some jobs and tasks. So it’s a win-win for both sides of the trade!
You can see an internship as a sort of stepping stone that can then launch you into multiple job careers and opportunities, as you will have gathered the necessary key skills, and the experience needed to be hired.
All while you work for the company providing you with the internship (usually unpaid for, or paid very little, since the skills gained are your actual “payment”).
As a general rule, internships will last between 1 to 12 months, although this can vary.
Sometimes internships can be prolonged, and they end up resulting in an actual job where you’ve been working as an intern! And for the most part, they will only accept students or recent graduates, as it is designed to help those starting out.
How To Ask For An Internship
Now that we have clarified exactly what an internship is…how do you ask for one?
You can go about it in many different ways. You could go and ask in person, ask over the phone, have someone ask on your behalf, or you could send an email.
As a general rule, we recommend sending an email, as this is the most effective and professional way to go about it, and you can be sure to include all the important information and questions!
When sending an email, to ask for an internship, here are the three steps you need to follow:
- Write and send the email
- Follow up (if necessary)
Let’s look into all three in more detail:
By research, we mean researching the internship opportunities and the place where you want to intern at.
What company are you interested in? What kind of internship opportunity are you looking for? Does the company in question accept interns? Does it have a specific application process that you should follow?
It would look really bad if you emailed asking for an internship, for there to then be a section answering all your questions on their website, for example. So make sure to research everything!
Also, research people, you might be able to reach out to. Do you know anyone that is connected to that particular company? Maybe a friend of a friend, or a family member, or a professor you have had. Maybe a connection on LinkedIn?
Having someone that you can reference, as a connection to the company, will up your chances. Life really is all about networking!
Lastly, figure out who you should be sending the email to. Companies will usually have a list of contacts and email addresses, in charge of different inquiries or sections of the company, and it is important that you reach out to the right one!
Write And Send The Email
The second step, writing and sending the email, is the most important. Of course, you have to make sure that it is well-written, concise and grammatically correct, with the right tone of voice, and the right information.
Here are some tips for when you write the letter:
- Do your research to ensure you are using the right greeting for the person you are reaching out to
- Make sure to keep your tone of voice formal and polite, be professional
- Reference any connections or contacts that you might have with the company in question
- Make sure to include a paragraph on why you want to intern in that particular company, highlighting the particular opportunities and skills that interest you. Show them that you have researched the company and that it is the perfect fit for what you want to accomplish
- Be direct. Make sure to state exactly what you want: an internship. If possible, state the kind of internship you would be interested in, and the time frame, as well as any other relevant conditions
- Attach an updated resume (this will give them information about you, to check whether you are the right fit for them!)
- Lastly, keep it short. Too much information will be overwhelming, and they might not answer everything!
Follow Up (If Necessary)
After you send the email, it is important that you wait. The company might be busy, and you should allow them time to get back to you when they are able to.
That being said, if a long time goes by, and you haven’t received an answer, it is appropriate to send a follow-up email.
Make sure to be polite, and simply remind them that you sent an inquiry about a possible internship and whether there is any way to get a response on the matter.
Alternatively, you could do this over a phone call.
To sum it up, in order to ask for an internship the best-recommended method is through an email, sent directly to the company in question, and addressed to the appropriate person.
It is vital that you do your research beforehand, in order to ensure you are contacting the right person, and that you are able to reference the right connections, or provide the necessary information.
And when writing the email, keep it short and formal, with direct inquiries. Then, you just hope for the best! But regardless of the outcome, asking for an internship will develop skills, and will prove to be a valuable experience!