After putting in a lot of thought, you have finally decided where to apply for an internship. With your CV and a Cover Letter attached, you send an email to the HR Department. All that is left for you to do now is to wait. Weeks pass but you have not received a reply yet. Finally, you see a reply in the inbox:
We regret to inform you……”
Does this happen to you every time you apply for an internship? Do you feel that your application gets drowned amongst thousands of other applicants? If your answer is Yes, then worry not. We are here with some tips to make your internship application stand out!
Before Sending the Application Email
Read Application Guidelines Carefully
Before moving ahead with your application, it is extremely necessary to read the application guidelines carefully. Check things such as
- Format (Word or PDF) of the CV / Cover Letter
- Application deadline
- Role and minimum requirements
- Number of writing samples
- Name of the addressee
Failure to adhere to these guidelines highlights your carelessness and thus increases your chances of rejection. (Read:
Clear Your Doubts Beforehand
If you are unsure about something in the application guidelines, then call or send an email prior to sending your actual application email. Few organisations also have a FAQ section to help you clear your doubts.
Remember that your doubts should be sensible and be asked only once. Asking unnecessary things like “Should the cover letter be a separate file?” or “Can my CV be of three pages?” is a bad idea. Anything which you can easily find on Google must not be asked to the organisation (make this a basic rule in life too!).
Writing the Application Email
Suitable Subject Line
Did you know that 66% of emails do not get opened because of boring or unsuitable subject lines? While we don’t ask you to be super creative in making your subject line catchy, we do recommend you to follow the standard subject line rules. In the subject line, you should:
- First, write “Internship Application”
- Followed by your preferred dates/month
- Followed by your name and institution
Example: Internship Application for June 2021 – Jack Patel, NLSIU
Appropriate Greeting For Recipient
All formal mails should begin with “Respected”. If you do not know who would be reading your email then write “Sir/Ma’am”. However, if you do some research and find out the HR’s name and pronouns, then you can modify the greeting accordingly. If you only know their name or don’t want to assume their pronouns, you can write “Respected” followed by their first and last name. In fact, here is a screenshot of a respected lawyer’s post on LinkedIn who was unhappy with the applicants because they wrote “Sir/Ma’am”: (Source)
The body of an internship application mail should always begin with your short introduction. Mention the following in the first paragraph:
- Your name
- Year of study
- How you came to know about the organisation
- Your intention of applying for the internship
- Preferred dates
- Why you want to apply.
Mention Your Reference
Networks are important. If someone recommended you for that internship, reference that intern or associate to give you an edge over others.
Tailor The Email Body
One CV and Cover Letter should never be sent to 10 different places. According to the needs, requirements and specialisation of an organisation, each CV and Cover Letter should be updated and modified in order to highlight suitable experience.
For example: Highlight your editing skills when going for a content writing internship. Highlight your research skills when applying for an internship at a think tank and so on. Do not send the same cover letter and CV to multiple organisations by using the ‘bcc’ option. Sit down with a clear head and write a personalised cover letter for each organization you want to apply to.
Give Personal Anecdotes
While expressing your interest in an internship, you should use personalised anecdotes.
For example, in one of my internship applications to a lawyer, I had mentioned that I wanted to intern with him since the time I heard him speak at a Conference. I used some points from his speech in my application to show my interest. If you are re-applying to an organisation for a second internship, mention what you loved during the first time.
Do Not Rewrite Your CV
In the email body, you should never write what is already mentioned in your CV. Instead, you could write about your past lessons and experiences. You should write about your skills and qualities too. Make sure that the body of the email is not more than 2-3 paragraphs.
Take Note of Your Tone
Your tone should be humble, but confident. Do not say things like “I hope I will be selected”. Instead, say “I would be grateful for this opportunity to hone my skills and contribute to the organisation.” End the email on a positive note by saying things like “Looking forward to working with you!”
Lastly, go through the entire email and your CV. Check for grammar, flow and punctuation. Silly mistakes should be avoided at all costs. Use the free version of Grammarly and proofread your email at least thrice, before hitting the send button! (Read: NLU Vs Non-NLU: Solving The Biggest Law School Dilemma)
You have hit ‘Send’. Now what?
Know the Difference Between Following-up And Spamming
Do not follow up right away, but ensure that you do. Usually, the firm will acknowledge the application and tell you how long you have to wait. If they haven’t specified, do not attempt to call them just because you found their number on the website. Revert back to them maybe after 2 weeks via email and ask them what the status of your application is.
To avoid spamming, apply at least two months in advance. If you do not receive a response on your first follow-up, then it is advisable to follow-up after 3 weeks from the first one. Two follow-ups should be enough for you to predict the outcome of your application.
Remember patience is the key but don’t get lazy while being patient.
Best of Luck!
About the Author: Anjali Baskar is from School of Law, Christ University. Her interests in law include public policy, ADR/ODR, criminal law, IPR/Entertainment law, etc.
About the Editor: Snehal Dhote is from Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai. She edits blogs for Memo Pundits and has a keen interest in Constitutional Law and International Human Rights Law.