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How to Ask for an Internship

Internships are the bane of the Millenial’s existence. The average internship is essentially a means of getting either a coffee-runner or drudge-worker for dirt-cheap or even free. Meanwhile, the intern themself is usually paying for rent and food while doing said drudge-work for free (or possibly even paying for it!), all in the hopes of one day, maybe, eventually getting a job.

However, the internship is still considered a prime way to “get into” the music industry, and as such schools are starting to require them for graduation (the school thereby getting paid by the student for the privilege of working for someone else). If you need an internship, especially in music, you’re going to need to go and find one. I just recently got my own internship figured out, and to get it I cold-contacted one of my former directors pretty much out of the blue. As nice as the idea of a simple, clean application process is, it’s not going to net you a great internship 95% of the time. With that in mind, here’s how to ask for an internship.

Be polite. Use correct grammar in your emails. Start the conversation with a polite “Hello, [title] [name],” and make sure to proofread the entire thing for spelling mistakes. End the email with “Thank you for your time, [your full name]”. Be careful to request, not demand. Wait at least a week before sending a follow-up if you get no response, and if your second email goes unanswered, assume they are uninterested and drop it. The kind of person you would email for an internship is usually VERY VERY busy, so be respectful of them and their time.

Give your background in a sentence or less. This is tied to them being busy – for them to know what might be relevant to you, they need to know something about you. However, they also usually just have no reason to care who you are, so make it brief. Usually, saying your name, what you study, and a super super brief reason why you want an internship is enough. An example would be, “My name is [name], I am a Music Industry major at [school], and I am currently looking for an internship to help me gain skills in [actual specific part of the field].”

Ask if the person knows about any internship opportunities that you may apply for. This is better phrasing that simply asking “for an internship.” It shows that you understand that the person may not have an available internship for you, and that you do not feel entitled to anything.

Mention your availability.  If you know when you’re going to be available during the time period for which you would like an internship, mention this. It can help the person you’re contacting get a better idea for what would be a good fit for you.

Be succinct. Keep messages and conversations short – again, this person is busy! By keeping your message to a few sentences, you raise the likelihood that the recipient will read it all and not simply delete it.

Finding an internship is nerve-wracking, I know. But you can do it. Go forth and email like a pro.

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