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Advice / Job Search / Networking

Asking for an Internship via Email? Use Our Steps, Examples, and Template

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Bailey Zelena; Xavier Lorenzo/Getty Images

As a college student (and TBH as a human at any phase of their career), it can often feel like everyone around you has everything all figured out. And when you start hearing from your peers about the internships they’ve secured, that feeling only gets worse—especially if you’re still searching for an opportunity of your own.

There’s still time. As a career advisor who’s worked with many students going through the internship search process, I promise that not everyone has it nearly as together as you may think, and it’s possible that the only things standing between you and a great internship are a few well-crafted emails. (The same is true for non-students looking for an internship!)

While job boards and online postings can be useful leads, networking is key. Reaching out directly to a recruiter or to people you know can make all the difference in your internship search. Whether you’ve been searching for a while and haven’t had any luck securing interviews or just want to be proactive, take the time to write a personal note to a professor you’d like to work with or an alum of your school who’s currently employed by your dream company. It can really set you apart.

Sending an email to ask for an internship might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! In general, people are very open to giving advice and helping out when they can. Not sure where to start? Follow these easy steps for reaching out and check out our template and example emails for different situations.

Read More: 40 Templates to Help You Handle Your Toughest Work Emails

How to write an email asking for an internship

Regardless of what kind of internship you’re after or who you’re asking about it, you can follow these directions for writing your email.

1. Do your research.

First, start brainstorming who you might want to reach out to about internship opportunities and keep a running list. Is there a specific company whose work you’re interested in? Use online tools like LinkedIn and your school’s alumni directory to find connections at your top companies. Are there any professors whose work you particularly admire? Does a family friend work for a company you’d be interested in interning for? Add their names to your list.

2. Decide who you’ll contact, why, and in what order.

Once you’ve mapped out everyone you might want to reach out to, be sure to prioritize and plan out what order you’ll reach out to people in. Use your level of interest in the opportunity or organization and level of comfort connecting with the person as two guiding factors.

As you’re making and refining your list, make sure you know why each person is on it. You’ll want to craft a personalized message every time and have a specific goal for each note. For example, are you looking to land a particular internship or is this more of an exploratory email to see what might be available at a certain company? If you start thinking about these questions early on, you’ll be ready to go when the time comes to sit down and write your emails.

3. Start your emails with a professional greeting.

Always use an appropriate salutation when reaching out to someone via email. It’s one of the first things the recipient will see and, let’s face it, first impressions matter.

  • If you’re emailing a recruiter or someone who you’ve never met, it’s a safe bet to start with “Dear Mr./Ms./etc. [Last Name].” Just make sure to do your research so you avoid using the wrong honorific or pronoun. If you can’t tell which you should use for sure, try “Dear [First Name] [Last Name].” Using a full name is always better than misgendering someone.
  • If you have reason to believe they’d be happy with less formality (e.g., if they work at a startup with a casual culture), you can go with “Dear [First Name].”
  • In the case of a professor, write out “Dear Professor/Prof. [Last Name].”
  • If you feel more comfortable with the person—if they’re a family friend or mentor, for example—it’s acceptable to start your email with, “Hi [First Name].”

4. Be mindful of your tone.

If you’re cold emailing a recruiter or professor you’ve never spoken to before, it’s better to err on the formal side. When emailing a family friend, it’s OK to follow the lead of your past conversations and be a bit more casual than you’d be with a stranger.

5. Introduce yourself and reference your connection up front.

Be clear about why you’re messaging right in your opening lines by saying who you are (if necessary) and highlighting how you’re connected to this person. Are they an alum of your college? Is this a family friend that you saw at a get-together last month? If you’re emailing a professor, make sure you reference either the classes you’ve taken with them or a way in which you 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).

6. Be specific about why you want this internship.

Show the person you’re emailing that you’ve done your homework and aren’t simply mass emailing about internship opportunities. So highlight what excites you most about this internship role, research project, or company.

If you’re applying to a specific internship, it’s pretty straightforward: Just make sure you reference certain aspects of the role that you find interesting and exciting.

At times, however, you may be emailing without a specific internship in mind. Maybe the organization doesn’t have a formal internship program, but you’d love to have a chance to be involved with a particular team or project. That’s OK, too! But explain why you’re interested in working with that company or department and be specific. This is essentially your way of asking for an internship to be created, and people are much more likely to want to help you do that if you come off as genuinely enthusiastic.

When reaching out to a professor about research opportunities or possible lab work, mention how their work aligns with your academic interests and long-term goals as well as what you’ve already done that sets you up to contribute to their project.

7. Make a direct request.

Don’t be vague or forget to make a clear ask. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the person on the other end to understand what you’re looking for and act on your request. Are you asking to meet up and hear more about the organization they work for or for them to put you in touch with the hiring manager? Are you interested in one specific internship posting or hoping to see if an internship could be created? If you’re emailing about a specific internship, include either the reference number or a link to the posting in your note. In any case, you want the reader to know what it is that you hope will happen next, whether it’s a phone call, an email introduction, or a meeting.

8. Keep your internship email short.

Show that you appreciate people’s time by getting to the point ASAP. Introduce yourself, highlight your interest, insert your ask, and propose a next step quickly and concisely. People often want to help, but they’re also busy—so they’re far more likely to respond if your email is succinct and it’s easy for them to do what you’re asking.

9. Attach an updated resume.

Make sure you attach your most up-to-date resume—which should be tailored specifically to the role or company you’re emailing about or the type of internship you’re looking for. In some cases you might also choose to attach your cover letter—if, for example, if you’ve applied to a specific posting separately and want to include your letter as an FYI.

It’s impossible to fit all of your credentials into this one short email, so take the opportunity to further demonstrate your interest and qualifications. If these documents align well with the role you’re interested in, you’re much more likely to get some kind of positive and productive response.

An email template that’ll make asking for an internship way less stressful

Want more guidance? You can use this template to help you write your internship emails. Just don’t forget to tailor it as needed for each situation. For example, you probably don’t need to introduce yourself to a close family friend or tell a professor you’ve had which school you go to.

[Dear/Hello/Hi] [Name],

My name is [Your Name] and I’m a [year] at [school] in [major/concentration/program]. [Another sentence or two highlighting what you’re interested in and how you’re connected to the recipient.] I’m currently looking for a [season/semester] internship.

I’m reaching out because [I’m extremely interested in this internship opportunity/I saw that your organization is hiring interns/I was wondering if you had any availability for an undergraduate researcher/any other request you’re making.] [Another concise sentence or two adding details to your request, sharing your availability or qualifications, or making an alternate, smaller request.]

I’ve attached my resume [for your review/for reference/in case it’s helpful to you]. Please let me know if you have any questions! Thank you so much for your time.


[Your Name]

Example emails asking for an internship

Still hesitant? Take a look at these sample emails for inspiration as you start to draft—no matter who you’re emailing

Internship request email example for an alum of your school

Reaching out to an alum can be a great strategy during your internship search. If you’ve noticed an alum working for a company you’re interested in, you might think about sending them a note like this.

Subject line: 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 my summer internship search and discovered that the Bosch Group is currently hiring for a summer engineering intern in your department. I saw on LinkedIn that you work for Bosch’s materials science group, and noticed that not only are you an alum of the mechanical engineering department, but like me, you were also a member of the MIT Robotics Team.

I wanted to be sure to reach out as I am extremely interested in this internship opportunity and would love to hear more about your experience working at Bosch and any advice you might have about the hiring process. Do you have any availability for a quick call next week? I know you’re busy and would really appreciate any time you have. I have also attached my resume and the cover letter I submitted with my online application in case it’s helpful. 


Jane Walker

Internship request email example for a professor

If you’re emailing a professor about a potential research experience, use the sample below to guide you through your draft.

Subject line: Summer research

Dear Professor Jones,

My name is Jane, and I’m a junior studying mechanical engineering. I am very interested in biotechnology and am fascinated by your medical device research in particular. Currently, I am taking several related classes, including medical device design and a microcontroller lab class.

I am wondering if you have any availability in your lab for an undergraduate researcher over the summer. I would love the opportunity to commit 20-25 hours a week toward a research project in your lab. I noticed your work is currently focused on continuous glucose monitoring—a topic I’m deeply interested in (and knowledgeable about) due to my Type 1 diabetes.

Do you have any availability to discuss possible opportunities? I am happy to attend your office hours on January 9 if that is most convenient. Additionally, I am free on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. In the meantime, I’ve attached my resume for your review. Thank you so much for your time.


Jane Walker

Internship request email example for a recruiter

When emailing a recruiter, it’s important to reference a specific open role and/or to talk about why you’re interested in the work a company—or better yet, a specific department or team—is doing. A note like this one would be a great start.

Subject line: Summer engineering internship application for Medtronic

Dear Ms. Hernandez,

My name is Jane and I am a junior studying mechanical engineering at MIT. I was thrilled to see a summer engineering internship opportunity advertised with Medtronic (posting ID #7648) because I have a deep interest in engineering and medical device design, and am particularly fascinated by Medtronic’s work on patient engagement.

I’ve applied for this role online, but am attaching my cover letter and resume here for your review. I believe my microprocessor coding skills and machine shop experience from my previous internship would be a good fit for this position and hope to have the opportunity to discuss with you in more detail how I could help support Medtronic’s patient engagement initiative this summer.


Jane Walker

Internship request email example for a family friend

When emailing a family friend it’s OK to be a bit more casual, especially if you’ve met and been on good terms in the past. The sample below is one way you could reach out to someone in your personal network.

Subject line: Looking for a summer internship

Hi Mary,

I hope all is well! It was great to catch up with you at the Chatterjees’ Christmas party last week. I’m reaching out because I’m currently in the process of searching for a summer internship, and I remembered from our conversation that you’re a product designer with Medtronic.

As you know, I’m finishing up my junior year, and would really love to spend my summer as an engineering intern with Medtronic. I’m wondering if you have any time next week to meet for coffee and chat about opportunities at the company. Additionally, if there’s anyone else you think I should connect with, I would appreciate any introductions you could make.

I’ve attached my resume for reference. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else I can send you that might be helpful. I really appreciate any guidance you can offer and hope to see you soon.



Don’t be afraid to follow up!

Once you’ve sent your emails, be sure to give your contacts some time before following up. Waiting can be stressful, but remember that everyone is busy, and they may just need a few days to get to your note. If it’s been a week or so and you haven’t heard, you can follow up with a friendly reminder.

Here’s an example of what this could look like:

Dear Ms. Hernandez,

I hope this message finds you well! Just wanted to be sure to follow up on my previous email. I am very interested in working with Medtronics and would love the opportunity to speak with you regarding the engineering intern position. I appreciate your time and hope to have the chance to speak with you soon.



You might feel awkward and nervous about sending these types of emails, but it’s worth trying to reach out anyway. Keep in mind that even if an email doesn’t directly result in an internship, each connection you make is still a valuable opportunity to network and learn about potential career paths and internship possibilities. And you never know, someone you connect with now might remember you a few years down the line when another great opportunity comes up.

Regina Borsellino also contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.

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