Writing an Internship Essay in 8 Steps
Let’s say that you’ve found an incredible internship opportunity at a well-known company that is offering the chance to work alongside them and learn some real skills. You’ll want to do everything you can to try and get that place. With the change in today’s job market, it’s likely that there’ll be many eager candidates applying too, so what can be done to set you apart from the others? An essay gives you the chance to put yourself out there as the best potential candidate. Showcase your personality, drive and skill set with a compelling piece of text. Think of it as a written interview that will allow you to advance further and display some knowledge and personal attributes that will make you rise up among the rest as the stand out candidate.
Although many internships require essay submissions, a lot of them may also want you to write an essay upon completing an internship. You may also be asked if this essay can be put up on the company blog to boost their profile and for PR purposes. If this is the case, you should strive to keep your essay about the positive qualities you gained from time as an intern, analyzing its effect on your personal life, career, academic aspects and skill sets. If this is the kind of essay you’ll be writing, you can read up about some of the information below to help you out, but most likely your line managers have specific ideas that they’d like you to convey.
For internship application essays, there are many popular topics you may be asked to write about, some popular titles include:
- Please discuss how your participation in our internship scheme will fit in with your academic and career goals.
- Please provide an account of a time where you demonstrated a solution to a problem at work. How did you address this problem and what were the consequences?
- What knowledge and skills do you possess that in your opinion make you the perfect candidate for our internship program?
- Please provide an account of one time where you worked well as a member of a team.
So whatever kind of internship essay you’ll be writing, can take note of these key tips to help you compose a unique and credible essay that makes you stand out as the shining candidate.
- You’ve really got to get the reader’s attention, so make sure you open with a punchy attention grabbing sentence. It’s likely that the person reading your essay has also been reading hundreds, and they’re not likely to read every one of them thoroughly, so you’ve got one chance at the start to immediately come across as someone special. The best way of grabbing someone’s attention is to reveal something interesting and unique – some sort of detail that hasn’t been heard. Don’t be afraid to go a little zany and make the sentence short and snappy – your personality could really shine through! Following an eye-catching opener should come an introductory paragraph whereby you outline details that are specifically related to the internship in question. If you’re applying for an internship in the veterinary sector, for example, mention that you’ve looked after some pets. If you’re writing for a place as a mechanical engineering intern, talk about all the things you’ve fixed, from your dishwasher to your car.
- You’ll need to wrap up your first paragraph with a thesis statement that will help guide the rest of your essay’s direction. This thesis statement should be narrowly focused towards the kind of internship you want – there’s no room to be vague and wishy-washy here. You’ll need to get to the point in a clear and succinct way. Following on from the veterinary example made earlier, your thesis statement may read “My work in volunteering with animals lead to me realise that I connect deeply to their well being and have a great attention to detail. An internship will help me hone in on my skills and build upon my experience”.
- Put some focus into why YOU and only you would fit in well with the company. Why would you be a key asset to them? Every applicant will be stating that they want to work and describing their personal attributes, so think about the value you can bring individually to make you stand out from the others. What are the most unique and personal qualities that you could bring to the table? You need to focus on yourself of course, but also about how your personal qualities can bring added value to the organization. Try and put yourself in their shoes. What is it that you’d want to see in a person if you were a key member of the organization?
- It’s time to back up your star qualities with some relevant experience. The key word here is “relevant” – an IT company isn’t going to be interested in your babysitting job, however, if this is all that you have, you could try and spice it up and explain that it demonstrates some maturity and responsibility. Think about what your experience could bring to a role and elaborate on the skills you’ve gained through your experience that would make you a perfect candidate. Even experience that may not demonstrate hard skills may display some important soft skills, for instance, if you’ve done some travelling, that’s great! You can mention how it’s made you a stronger person and has broadened your mind. It’s all about relating your experience to the internship at hand.
- The reader is going to want to know that you can take the job seriously, so the next stage is to prove your diligence and hard-working attitude. It’s important that you can also state how you connect with the company’s ethos. Whether you’re going to be paid or if it’s an unpaid internship, you need them to know you see this as a potential meaningful experience regardless of payment. Other than writing with a mature and succinct style, work on other ways that you can prove your professionalism.
- Imagine how you’d feel if you read a statement along the lines of “I will be the best intern you’ll ever have” – it’s unlikely that you’ll feel anything other than boredom at best and anger at worst. Avoiding cliches and making obvious remarks is a key step to a successful internship essay. There’s no need to make the statement above because anyone could say this and it’s a cliche. Instead, be specific – if you believe that you’ve got what it takes, you’ll need to conjure up specific examples of why that is. Talk about your specific skills and how you’ll be able to use them to advance as an intern.
- It may seem like a fairly obvious point, but if word limits exist, you better be sure that you’ll stick to them. Writing more than you need won’t impress anybody, and it could show that you’re incompetent in following instructions. On the other hand, writing a minimalist essay composing of the bare minimum suggests that there’s nothing much to you. You’ll want to strike the perfect balance and do what the guidelines tell you first and foremost. If the guidelines weren’t there to tell you what to do then what would be the point of them? If you’re unaware of how many words you should aim for, it might be a good idea to email a member of staff yourself, or check online through forums and examples of other internship essays to help you decide. As a rough guide, however, you’ll want to keep it slightly shorter than an ordinary academic essay, perhaps between 400 and 500 words.
- Conclude with a brief summary summing up all your points in a succinct and easy to read manner. Just like this current section, aim to keep it short and sweet.
So there you have it! Unadulterated essay writing advice for the perfect internship essay. Remember that before you start writing to have your CV handy with you to give you ideas. You may find that you’ll need to get a bit creative to boost your profile if you haven’t got much on your CV, or else you may find you’ve got too much to talk about, but whatever your experience has been, you’ll now know the right ways to go about writing.