You did it. After spending several long weeks applying for internships, you finally got an internship offer. Congratulations! But like, WTF do you do now?
First things first: Celebrate! You probably put a lot of time and effort writing an amazing resume and cover letter for internships. So, go on — treat yo’self. Binge watch a Netflix show. Eat some tasty sushi while reading a good book. Buy a German chocolate cupcake, devour the eff out of it, and then order a second cupcake. Why? Because you can. (And because German chocolate is the best cupcake flavor — don’t @ me.)
After you’re finished celebrating, it’s time to think about how to accept an internship offer. Whether you know you’re going to accept or you’re hoping that a high-paying internship offer comes your way, here’s how to respond like the professional you are.
Related: Do Interns Get Paid?
Accepting an Internship
When you first receive an internship offer, it doesn’t hurt to meet with your career advisor to discuss the opportunity. After all, he or she is probably familiar with your career goals and can provide you with guidance that may help inform your decision.
After you’ve met with your advisor, here’s how to accept an internship offer:
- Get the offer in writing. Although you may have already accepted the internship over the phone, it’s always a good idea to get your offer in writing. That way, you can see the details of the internship before you accept.
- Give your answer in the first sentence. If you’re officially accepting the internship, be sure to lead with an acceptance statement. Let the hiring manager know right away that you’re accepting the position.
- Reiterate your start date. Be clear about your availability by confirming the start date of the internship.
- Be grateful yet professional. Watch the tone of your email. You want to sound excited and appreciative without coming across as childish. No emojis or abbreviations.
Here is an example of an internship acceptance letter:
Dear Mr. [contact name],
It is with great enthusiasm that I accept the Marketing internship position with [company name]. I am absolutely thrilled to be joining your award-winning agency and look forward to taking on my first assignment. I’m confident that I will be a positive contribution to [company name’s] goals.
As we discussed, I will report to your office at 8:30 a.m. on June 1. In the meantime, you can reach me at 555-555-5555.
Thank you again for this opportunity!
Asking for a Deadline Extension
Maybe you got an offer for an unpaid internship and can’t afford to take it. Or, perhaps you got an offer for a remote internship and aren’t sure if it’s the right opportunity for you.
In either case, it’s totally OK to ask for more time to consider the offer. Here’s how to do it in a professional manner:
- Have a reason. Don’t ask for a deadline extension just because you can. You need to have a valid reason (see above) for asking for more time.
- Be reasonable with your request. Try to make your decision within three business days, if possible.
- Convey your interest. Let them know that you’re thrilled to have received the offer and are simply asking for time to evaluate it.
Here’s an example:
Dear Ms. [contact name],
I am so thrilled to receive the offer to intern at [company name]. I enjoyed speaking with you and was particularly excited about [interesting company project]. Our interview discussion was incredibly informative and I loved hearing about [cool fact you learned during the interview].
I understand the offer deadline is to expire on [month, date, year]. I am currently focusing a significant amount of my time and energy on [reason for extension, such as midterms]. Therefore, I am kindly requesting an extension for the offer deadline to [desired deadline date]. I look forward to learning more about your organization as I consider this offer.
Declining an Internship Offer
OK, so let’s say that you’re lucky enough to receive multiple internship offers. After accepting an offer, you’ll need to break the bad news to other hiring managers. Here’s how to do it like a pro:
- Express gratitude in the first sentence. In the first sentence, let them know that you greatly appreciate the company’s time and interest.
- Politely decline the offer. The next sentence should let them know that you are declining the offer.
- Provide a reason. Explain why you’re declining the offer. Be diplomatic about it. You don’t want to burn any bridges.
Here is an example:
Dear Mr. [contact name],
Thank you so much for your offer to intern with [company name]. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to speak with me and answer my questions. Unfortunately, I am unable to accept this offer.
After careful consideration, I have decided to accept an intern position at another company. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and I hope we cross paths in the future!
Remember to Follow Up
After you complete the internship, don’t forget to send a thank you letter to your hiring manager or supervisor. Expressing gratitude for all that you’ve learned is a nice touch that shows how much you care, so don’t skip it!
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