Whether you're about to graduate college or you're looking for a new career, getting an internship is a good way to get your foot in the door with an employer. Most internships are unpaid and the work isn't glamorous or enviable, but it's still surprisingly difficult to convince an employer to accept you. For well-known companies, you might even be wrestling with hundreds of other applicants, or more, for a single internship position. The way you request an internship, including what you say and how you say it, can convince an employer to choose you over all the other applicants.
Do some research on the companies where you want to apply. Look for facts, sales figures, goals or future plans on a company's website. This research will come in handy when an internship interviewer asks you questions about yourself, such as why you want to work for the company or how your skills will be useful to the team.
Put your resume together or make sure it's updated with your most recent information. Have someone, such as your school's career counselor, read over the resume before you submit it.
Check out the websites of companies where you want to work and look for an internship request form. If a company has one, fill out the requested information and send it in. Many companies consider this your official application, and for some, it may be the only way you can request an internship. If your application meets the company's needs, someone will contact you to set up an interview. You may need to attach your resume to the form, so have it saved on your computer before you do this.
Call the company's human resources department if you can't find a place to apply for an internship on their website. Ask how you can apply for an internship or who you would need to speak to about applying. Be polite to the person on the phone; if you're rude, chances are good that she'll tell others in the company.
Write a letter or email requesting an internship to express interest to the employer. Describe your skills and career goals in the letter, and mention any experience you have in the field. If applicable, name your college and month and year of graduation. Ask the employer if she's interested in giving you an internship or helping you get more experience in the field. Look at an example letter or template to learn how to format the letter.
Call the person responsible for hiring interns, if directed to do so by the human resources department. When calling, give your full name and clearly state that you'd like an internship with the company. The hiring person may ask why you want an internship there, so know what you're going to say in case that happens. If you researched the company well, you should have little trouble thinking of how you and your skills can help it meet its goals.
Leave a message if the hiring person doesn't answer the phone. When leaving a message, speak slowly and clearly. Say that you want to discuss internship opportunities with the company. Leave your name and a phone number so the person can call you back.
- Consider going to the company where you want to work to request an internship in person. It's a bold move, and it may attract the attention of the person in charge of hiring interns.
- Don't apply for just one internship. Competition for that position is likely very fierce. Increase your chances of landing a position by applying to as many internships as possible.
- If your first-choice company doesn't offer internships, don't despair. Contact someone in human resources and volunteer to work for free in exchange for a chance to prove yourself.
- Update your social networks, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, with relevant information that lets employers get to know you. This is especially important if you're going after an internship in the technology field. Even if you don't give out your Facebook profile to employers, they may find it on their own, so put your best foot forward.
- U.S. News Money: How to Get the Internship
- Forbes: How To Get An Awesome Internship
- Do Something.org: 11 Ways to Get a Summer Internship
- Quintessential Careers: Internship Do's and Don'ts for College Students
- The Street: Ten Ways to Land an Internship
- St. Cloud State University: Making Job/Internship Inquiries by Phone
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