3 Top Internship Applications Tips to Stand Out

09 Jan, 2024 | Blog Articles, Get the Edge

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 gaining experience in an industry that interests you.

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, which services or products they offer, what they value and what their priorities are. Then try to develop a broader understanding of the industry.

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 personally.

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:

  • School projects you’ve completed
  • Awards you’ve received
  • Volunteering you’d completed
  • Summer jobs or part-time work you’ve done
  • Any clubs or sports you’ve participated in
  • Any summer schools you’ve attended

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 experiences 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 running remotely, it might be especially helpful to demonstrate your digital skills. Are you familiar with Zoom, Google Docs, Photoshop, or other software and platforms?

Think of your application as a pitch! Show the organisation why you’re enthusiastic by backing up each claim with evidence, and demonstrate where and how you’ve developed skills that might be useful to them during the internship.

Two students posing for the camera

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 applicants, 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.

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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Looking to boost your internship applications?

Recommended articles

How to Secure Strong References for Your UCAS Applications

How to Secure Strong References for Your UCAS Applications

References are a crucial component of your UCAS application, offering a holistic view of your potential as an applicant.  Your application will ask for references who can testify to your potential as a student and what you have to offer the university or college...

read more
A Day in the Life of a History Student

A Day in the Life of a History Student

It’s been over three years since I first sent my UCAS application off to Oxford University, meeting the early submission deadline by a slither and breathing a sigh of relief. Now, as a third-year History finalist on the cusp of exams, I can safely say that these...

read more