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How to Write a Letter for an Externship

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Externships are similar to internships in that they allow a student to gain valuable working experience by shadowing experienced professionals in a work environment. The difference is that externships are shorter, lasting only a few days or a few weeks, rather than months or a year like an internship. Organizations still desire the best and brightest students for the externship, however, because many students eventually apply for positions at companies in which they have familiarity. To apply for an externship, you need a professional and persuasive cover letter.

Type your address and skip a line space. Type the full date and skip another line space. Type the recipient's name and title, company name and company address on separate lines. If you do not know the name of the person to whom the letter should be addresses, call the company and inquire. This extra step shows initiative and may be the one item that gives you an edge over another applicant.

Create the salutation by typing "Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. (Name)" followed by a colon. Skip an additional space.

Begin the letter by stating which externship you are interested in and where you heard about it. Always give the name of the externship because a large company may have more than one externship opportunity. State that you would like to be considered for the position.

Explain your educational background, briefly discuss your career aspirations and how this externship fits into those career goals. Persuade the recipient of the letter that you have the qualifications to complete the externship. Discuss relevant courses you have taken, as well as your experiences in extracurricular activities that relate to the position, such as completing a relevant workshop through a professional society that you belong to.

Provide information about your applicable work and volunteer experience. In this instance, the organization is not necessarily looking for someone who has performed the exact duties before, but they want someone who can function well enough to learn in their work environment.

Close the letter by stating that you would appreciate the personal opportunity to discuss your qualifications in more detail. Provide your contact information that is not in the header, such as your phone number and your email address. Thank the reader for her time.

Type "Sincerely" and skip three lines. Type your full name. Print the letter and sign your name above the typed name in blue or black ink.


Proofread your letter carefully. Your attention to detail demonstrates your professionalism and errors make you appear sloppy or uncaring.

  • Proofread your letter carefully. Your attention to detail demonstrates your professionalism and errors make you appear sloppy or uncaring.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

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