Creating Your Own Internship
The handout Choosing an Internship That Meets Your Needs has good information on requesting an internship with a company that does not have a position posted.
Before approaching a company about creating an internship, you must first identify your skills and what you want from that internship. Communicate that basic information with your potential internship site.
What do you bring to an internship? You already have many skills you can offer to an organization: writing, researching, analyzing, leadership, working in teams, presentation, and more. Remember to highlight how your campus activities, group work, class projects, and previous work experience have contributed to your skills and knowledge.
What skills would you further like to develop? State why you would like to work for them. “Your organization would be a good place to learn more about…… because ……”
Who to Contact? In small businesses or small non-profit organizations, contact the executive director, manager or coordinator of programs. In larger organizations, contact the Human Resources Department or head of the department/unit where you wish to work. For example, if you wish to work in the marketing department, call the general number and ask for the director of marketing.
How to Contact – Use phone or email? There are pros and cons for each approach. Calling can get you directly to the source at times, and then you know that you have been able to actually communicate with the right person. However, calling can sometimes lead you down the path of phone tag. Some people don’t respond to phone calls and are more apt to respond to email.
Emails are fast and extremely easy. You don’t have to worry about getting nervous, like you might on the phone. However, with email you are unsure whether your message has actually been received and read. Your email should be short and to the point. Below is a sample email message:
Dear Ms. Smith,
I am a junior at Lock Haven University majoring in Communication Media. I am very interested in learning about the marketing of programs at a non-profit organization such as American Red Cross. Although, I realize you have no official internship program in place, I would be very interested in working with your organization as an unpaid intern this summer.
The next paragraph should include information about your background and experience. You should also emphasize your interest in the particular career field and in particular, the organization. Let your reader know your skills specific to the job. Attach your resume.
Your final paragraph is the closing and contact information. Here’s another example from the same email.
I hope you consider my proposal and look forward to hearing from you. You may contact me at 570-XXX-XXXX or (email).
If you don’t hear back, follow up with a phone call or a second email.
If the company or organization is interested, but they would like more information on how to set up an internship, they will find useful resources on the Employer section of the internship website.