3 Top Internship Applications Tips to Stand Out

Jun 16, 2021

There’s no two ways about it: internship applications are hard. All the refining and editing will be worth it when you land the placement of your dreams, though, which is why we’re trying to make the process as simple as possible for you.

An internship is a great way to get a taste of what your future might look like when you finish school. This might mean gaining insight into a field of work you’d like to learn more about, or experience of one that definitely interests you. With Oxford Scholastica Online’s internships, for instance, you can contribute to a research paper written in collaboration with a mentor from a world-leading university in your field while gaining valuable academic skills.

Before you can embark on an internship, you’ll first need to apply. This may involve writing a CV and cover letter, or filling in an application form. You want to make sure your internship application stands out to give yourself the best chance of securing such a valuable experience.

Read on for three top tips to make sure your internship application is the best it can be.



1. Understand the internship and organisation


Before you do anything else, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the industry, the host organisation, and the projects or tasks that you’d be working on as an intern. This will enable you to identify the relevant skills you already possess and those you’d like to further develop, before refining your application accordingly. Being able to demonstrate knowledge of the role will also show that you’re genuinely interested in the internship and know exactly what you’re applying for.

Make sure to also research the host organisation; look at their website, find out what they do, what service or product they offer, what they value and what their priorities are. Then try to develop a broader understanding of the industry. You’ll find some useful introductory guides to various sectors here.

Work out which elements interest you and begin to think about how your studies and any experience you’ve had so far might illustrate your interest. You don’t have to know it all – the point of the internship is to learn – but understanding a bit about the organisation and its place in the wider field will help to show your enthusiasm.

Lastly, make sure you’ve properly read over all the details provided about the internship. Familiarise yourself with what you’d be doing, what would be expected of you, and any skills and experience they’re explicitly looking for. The better you understand the internship, the easier it’ll be to really make your application stand out. You might find it helpful to make a note of a couple of keywords that you feel are really central to the opportunity for you.



Internship application



2. Show experience relevant to the internship application


Now you’ve got to grips with the industry and what the host organisation is looking for, it’s time to show what you’ve got to offer. You might feel like you haven’t had much experience, which is completely understandable and normal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills. 

Describing your interests is great, but they need to be relevant. One way to help you highlight the relevant experience you do have is to brainstorm absolutely everything you could put in your application (including any school projects you’ve completed, awards you’ve received, volunteering, summer or part-time work you’ve done, and any clubs or sports you’ve participated in). Don’t forget any summer schools or online courses you’ve attended, such as those offered by Oxford Scholastica. Once you’ve got a list of all of these things, you can narrow it down to the most relevant. 

Referring back to the keywords you noted down earlier about the internship and organisation, go through your list of experience and think about how each of them might be relevant. Did you develop leadership and communication skills as captain of your school netball team? Or perhaps you had to work in a team to come up with new and creative ideas to overcome a particularly difficult problem in a group project? 

While it isn’t helpful to try and squeeze in absolutely everything you’ve done, an activity or achievement doesn’t have to be immediately relevant in order to show an important skill or interest – it might just point to your commitment and drive, for example.

With many internships happening remotely at the moment, it might be especially helpful if you can demonstrate some digital skills. Are you familiar with Zoom, Google Docs, Photoshop, or other software and platforms? If you’ve completed any projects or voluntary work since the start of the pandemic, explain how you’ve been able to adapt to remote working.

Think of your application as a pitch: show the organisation why you are enthusiastic by backing up each claim with evidence, and demonstrate where and how you have developed skills that might be useful to them during the internship.



Internship application


3. Remember it’s your internship application


The third, and perhaps the most important tip, is to keep it all about you. You want to stand out amongst other applications, and the best way to do this is to let your own interests and enthusiasm come through.

Show that you understand the organisation and industry, but most importantly, use this to demonstrate what you specifically have to offer, as outlined above. Avoid generic statements about your skills and interests that aren’t backed up by personal experience – anyone can say they’ve got a skill, but not everyone will have developed it in the same way. Equally, don’t just list off various things you’ve done, but emphasise what you learnt from them. If there are important areas you haven’t got much experience in, explain why you want to learn!



Extra tips


And finally, some extra tips to bear in mind:

  • Check your writing over for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. Proofread it yourself a few times, and send it to a trusted friend, family member, or teacher to look it over as well.
  • Keep your language personal, but formal. You don’t want your application to sound like it could be adapted by anyone for any internship, but you should also keep a professional tone.
  • Lastly, if you aren’t accepted for the internship, don’t be discouraged. It might take a few tries, but do keep applying. The more applications you write and the more experience you get, the easier it will become.



Next steps




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