An internship can provide career-building experience and be a stepping stone to your dream job. In order to get an internship, you may be asked to write an essay with your application. This essay gives you a chance to express your personality beyond what can be gleaned from other aspects of the application. Think of it as a written interview and use it as an opportunity to convey your passion for the field and personal motivations. This type of well-crafted "interview" can separate you from the other candidates by demonstrating your strength in written communication.
Hook Your Reader in the Introduction
Start with an attention-grabbing opening sentence. Whoever is reading your essay will likely be reading many of them, so you need to establish yourself as a special individual by revealing a detail that is relevant but interesting and unique. Your introductory paragraph should be specific and directly related to the internship. For example, if you're applying for a veterinary internship, mention your experience as a pet foster parent or your volunteering experience at a shelter.
Create a Thesis Statement
Conclude your first paragraph with a clear thesis statement. Your thesis will guide the rest of your essay, and should be narrowly focused to the internship you want. For example, your thesis might read, "My volunteer experience working with animals has helped me develop compassion and attention to detail, and an internship will help me hone these skills even further."
Share Your Strengths
Focus on why you would be an asset to the company, business, organization or clinic that you want to intern at. Every applicant will be writing what the internship opportunity will do for them, but you can set yourself apart by highlighting what you will be bringing to the internship. Think about the most important qualities you will bring to the table, and make sure to thread these details throughout the entire essay, which should be about a page long unless otherwise noted on the application.
Discuss Your Experience
Relate relevant experience. Remember that experience can be anything from a leadership position on a sports team to a babysitting job. If you are including your resume and/or transcript, don't restate their contents. Instead, use the essay to elaborate on the skills and qualifications you have that make you a good candidate.
Demonstrate Your Work Ethic
Prove you will treat the internship like a job. Whether or not you will be getting paid or working full time, show that you understand an internship is a meaningful professional opportunity and not a “job lite.” You can do this by adopting a mature and professional tone in the essay.
Avoid Stating the Obvious
Avoid cliches or stating the obvious by being as specific as possible. There is no need to say, for example, that you are applying for the internship to gain experience since that’s typically one of the main goals of any internship. Instead, talk about the specific skills you hope to learn and how you will use them in your career.
Follow the Guidelines
Stick to the guidelines. If there are published word limits, writing far more or far less will show that you do not know how to follow directions. If the application does not specify how long the paper should be, use your judgment and try to stick to 400-500 words.
Personalize the essay. You do not want the reader to think you wrote a form essay, but that you have done the research on their company and can point to reasons you will be a good fit for the internship.
Have someone read over the essay to catch any grammatical or spelling errors you may have missed.
- Personalize the essay. You do not want the reader to think you wrote a form essay, but that you have done the research on their company and can point to reasons you will be a good fit for the internship.
- Have someone read over the essay to catch any grammatical or spelling errors you may have missed.
Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Sarah Nyako has been writing professionally since 2008. Her area of expertise is health, fitness and the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently working towards a master's degree in medical writing.