How to Ask for an Internship

Dana Guterman
Updated: June 21, 2023

After reading this article, you’ll:

  • Understand how to effectively ask for an internship via email, LinkedIn, in-person, and at networking events, including how to use personal connections and alumni networks to your advantage.
  • Learn how to prepare for and navigate informational interviews to gather insights about your desired role or industry, and how to build a strong professional relationship that can potentially lead to internship opportunities.
  • Discover strategies for finding and applying to remote internships, and learn how to adapt your application and communication strategies to the virtual context.

There are thousands of internship opportunities out there—and, for the most part, they’re yours for the taking with a little time, preparation, and elbow grease. But studies show that at least 70 percent of jobs are never posted or even made public, and the same goes for internships. So, sometimes you need to create your own opportunities, and that means going straight to the source and asking for an internship.

Yep, it’s pretty intimidating. But we’re here to walk you through it. In the end, it will feel pretty good to know that you forged your own path.

How to write an email asking for an internship

Interested in hacking the hidden internship market? We have an article for that. The best place to start is with an email or letter that highlights your unique value-add for the organization.

If you want to email a company asking for an internship, first try to make personal contact. Do you have a third-degree LinkedIn connection who’s an alum of your school? Send him a message. Does your friend’s uncle’s cousin work there? Email her. Having a point of contact will ensure that your message actually gets read.

In your email asking for an internship, include:

  • A clear subject line, including why you’re writing. If you don’t know the person well, include your name, too (e.g., Carla Chen: Internship Opportunities with ABC Company).
  • Your basic information.
  • Why you want to intern with the company, based on your research.
  • Your unique value-add for the organization, supported by examples.
  • A copy of your resume, so that they can easily share it.
  • Any letters of recommendation that you have.
  • Your contact information.

If you don’t get a response, write a follow-up email 7–10 days later. After that, move on to the next company. If your contact responds positively, congratulations! Move ahead however they suggest.

Sample emails asking for an internship

If you’re still stumped, here are two example emails to get you started. First, here’s a more casual email, reaching out to a family friend:

Subject: Internship Opportunities with ABC Animation

Dear Lilly,

I hope your week is going well. It was so great running into you downtown yesterday; I hope your dinner party went off without a hitch. I’m writing because I’m in the midst of looking for a summer internship, and I know you work as a script writer at ABC Animation. As a visual art major, with a focus in animation, I would love to learn more about internship opportunities with ABC Animation.

You can view samples of my work, including my animated short that won second-place in the “Best Under 30 Seconds” category at last year’s Student Animation Awards, at

I’d love to meet up for a coffee next week, at your convenience, to talk about opportunities at the company. And if you know anyone else who might be willing to speak with me, please feel free to share my portfolio and contact information.

Thank you so much for your time, and I hope to see you at the farmer’s market this weekend!



Here’s a similar email example, but this one is written to an alum of the applicant’s school. Connecting with alumni on LinkedIn is a great way to make an immediate connection.

Subject: University College Student ’22: ABC Animation Internship

Dear Chloe,

My name is Carl, and I’m a sophomore majoring in visual art, with a focus in animation, at University College. I noticed on LinkedIn that you graduated from University College, too, and just like me, you were a member of the Sustainable Food Initiative. What a small world!

I’m writing because I’m in the midst of looking for a summer internship, and you work as a script writer at ABC Animation. I’m a huge fan of ABC Animation’s work (in fact, “The End Land” inspired me to go into animation), and I would love to pick your brain and learn more about your time with the company. I know you’re extremely busy, but I would be so grateful for the opportunity to jump on a quick call with you next week. I’m free any day, any time.

You can view samples of my work, including my animated short that won second-place in the “Best Under 30 Seconds” category at last year’s Student Animation Awards, at If you know anyone else who might be willing to speak with me, please feel free to share my portfolio and contact information.

Thank you so much for your time! I truly appreciate it.

All the best,

Carl Smith

How to ask for an internship in-person

Email is great, but if you can, it’s always easier to make a connection in person. For that reason, you want to set up an informational interview. Then, based on how things go, you can inquire about internship opportunities.

What is an informational interview? It’s a meeting to learn about an established professional’s career path, company, role, or industry. It is not an internship interview, so stay focused on learning, not pitching yourself. Craft a two-minute introduction that explains your background and why you’re meeting with them (be it feedback, advice, etc.). Then, ask the person informed, engaged questions (that you’ve prepared ahead of time).

At the end of the conversation, thank the person for their time. Don’t ask about internships right away; instead, tell them you’d love to stay in touch and ask if they know anyone else that you should talk to. The next day, write a thank you note. Nurture the relationship with regular contact, and see if an opportunity arises naturally. Above all else, an informational interview is a great way to gain visibility and build your network—and it can put you on the shortlist when a company is looking for interns.

How to ask a friend or family member for an internship

Maybe your friend’s mom works at your dream tech start-up, but you feel awkward asking her about work. Take a deep breath and repeat: There’s no harm in asking. The next time you see that well-connected friend or family member, have your elevator pitch at the ready: Spend 30 seconds telling them how you’d add value for the company, and then ask if you could meet with them to talk more.

The key here is to draw a line between your personal relationship and your dream internship. If they decline, or tactfully change the subject, drop it. No harm, no foul, and you only spent 30 seconds on the issue. The next meeting will be a professional one, and then you can proceed accordingly.

How to Ask for an Internship Through LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for professional networking and can be a goldmine for finding internship opportunities. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use LinkedIn to ask for an internship.

Complete Your LinkedIn Profile

Before you start reaching out, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and complete. This includes a professional profile photo, an engaging summary, a detailed description of past experiences and achievements, and a showcase of your skills. Your LinkedIn profile is like your online resume, so make it as polished and impressive as possible.

Research Companies and Roles

Start by identifying the companies you are interested in and search for employees who hold positions related to the internship you desire. LinkedIn’s advanced search features allow you to filter by company, role, location, industry, and more.


Once you’ve identified potential contacts, send them a connection request. Personalize your request with a brief note explaining why you’d like to connect. If they accept your connection request, you can then send a more detailed message.

Craft a Professional and Personalized Message

In your message, introduce yourself, express your interest in the company and the field, highlight your relevant skills, and specify what you’re looking for—an internship. It’s important to make your message professional, concise, and respectful of their time. Also, make sure to personalize each message, as generic copy-and-paste messages tend to get ignored. You may ask if they’d be available for a brief conversation or if they could point you in the right direction for seeking internships at their company.

Subject: Seeking Internship Opportunities at [Company Name]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I’m a [Your Current Status] at [Your University/College], and I’ve been following [Company Name]’s work in [Specific Industry/Field] with great interest.

I’m reaching out to express my interest in potential internship opportunities at [Company Name]. I have honed my skills in [Specific Skills] through my academic and extracurricular activities, and I believe that I could bring value to your team.

Would you be open to a brief discussion about your experiences at [Company Name] and any advice you might have for someone eager to contribute? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time.


[Your Name]

Follow Up

If you don’t hear back after a week or two, it’s acceptable to send a polite follow-up message. However, if after following up you still don’t receive a response, it’s best to move on to other contacts or companies.

Utilize LinkedIn’s Resources

In addition to direct networking, make sure to utilize LinkedIn’s job search and internship search functions. You can also join relevant groups or participate in industry-related discussions to increase your visibility.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to effectively use LinkedIn as a tool in your search for an internship. Remember, LinkedIn is not just about connecting—it’s about creating meaningful relationships that can open doors to new opportunities.

The Importance of Networking Events in Securing Internship Opportunities

Networking events, whether online or in-person, offer an invaluable opportunity for students and professionals alike to establish connections, explore potential leads, and uncover hidden internship opportunities. They provide a platform for you to engage directly with professionals in your desired field, demonstrate your interest, and ask insightful questions.

Find Relevant Networking Events

Look for events that are specific to your industry or field of interest. These could be career fairs, industry conferences, webinars, alumni events, or online meet-ups. Your university career center is often a good starting point for discovering such events. LinkedIn, Eventbrite, and also list professional networking events.

Prepare in Advance

Before the event, do some research. Who will be attending? What companies will be represented? What is the format of the event? Have a few questions ready and prepare a succinct introduction of yourself, often referred to as an “elevator pitch”.

At The Event

Be confident and proactive. Introduce yourself, ask insightful questions, and show genuine interest. Don’t be shy about mentioning your search for an internship. It’s important, however, to remember that networking is about building relationships, not just asking for opportunities.

Collect Contact Information

Whenever possible, collect business cards or contact information of the people you meet. If it’s a virtual event, you might jot down the names of key individuals to look up and connect with on LinkedIn later.

Follow Up

Within a day or two after the event, send a follow-up message or email to the people you connected with. Express your appreciation for their time and the conversation you had. If you discussed internships or job openings, this is a good time to express your interest again.

Maintain Your Network

Networking isn’t a one-time activity. Keep in touch with the contacts you make. Share articles or information that they might find interesting, congratulate them on their achievements, and stay updated on their career moves. Building and maintaining these relationships can lead to opportunities down the line.

Attending networking events is a proactive step towards finding your dream internship. By expanding your professional network, you not only increase your chances of landing an internship but also gain industry insights and form relationships that could prove beneficial throughout your career.

Approaching and Asking for Remote Internships

With the rise of remote work and digital nomadism, remote internships have become increasingly popular and widely accepted. These opportunities can give you access to global companies and diverse experiences from the comfort of your home. Here’s how you can approach and ask for a remote internship:

Identify Companies That Offer Remote Opportunities

Start by identifying companies that have a culture of remote work. These are more likely to offer remote internships. Websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or can be valuable resources to find such companies.

Tailor Your Application

When applying for a remote internship, emphasize your ability to work independently, manage your time efficiently, and communicate effectively. Highlight any previous experiences that required these skills, such as online group projects, virtual volunteer work, or any independent projects.

Craft Your Outreach Messages

When reaching out to companies, mention why you’re interested in a remote internship. This might be because you appreciate the flexibility, you’re looking for global exposure, or you believe you thrive in a remote work setting.

Prepare for Virtual Interviews

Since the role is remote, your interview will likely be virtual as well. Make sure you’re comfortable with video calls and online interviews. Test your equipment, ensure your internet connection is stable, and find a quiet, well-lit space where you can talk.

Mention the Benefits

In your outreach or interview, emphasize the benefits of a remote internship for both you and the company. For you, it could be the opportunity to work with a company based in a location you could not physically move to. For the company, they get to tap into a wider talent pool and may save on resources as they don’t need to provide you with a physical workspace.

Approaching and asking for remote internships is a bit different from traditional internships but remember, the fundamentals remain the same. Be professional, show enthusiasm, and demonstrate why you would be a valuable addition to their team, even if it’s virtually.

Handling Rejection and Maintaining Relationships

Securing an internship is a competitive process and you might face rejection. Here are a few tips to handle it:

  • Don’t take it personally: Remember that rejection is a part of the process and it’s not a reflection of your worth.
  • Ask for feedback: If you’re comfortable doing so, ask for feedback on your approach. This can provide valuable insights for future applications.
  • Stay positive and keep trying: Rejection can be disheartening, but it’s important to stay positive and keep looking for other opportunities.


Even if you don’t secure an internship immediately, it’s important to maintain the relationships you’ve built:

  • Keep in touch: Send occasional updates or share articles or information that you think might be of interest to the person.
  • Show appreciation: If someone has given you advice or made an introduction on your behalf, let them know how it helped you.
  • Offer help: If there’s a way you can assist them professionally, offer to do so. This can help to strengthen your relationship and could lead to opportunities in the future. 


By following these tips, you can improve your chances of securing an internship and build valuable professional relationships along the way. In addition to applying to plenty of openings, there are many ways to ask for internship. Try them all and see what works for you!