Recommendation Letter Examples for an Internship

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These days, almost all college students must complete internships before moving onwards and upwards in their career path. Perhaps a young person you know has asked you to write an internship recommendation letter for them. Or you may be a student who would like to know what a letter of recommendation for an internship should include.

Recommendation Letters for Internships

Some universities require that students complete an internship in order to graduate. Even if it's not required, some students opt to do an internship to gain on-the-job experience. Internships can be used to beef up a resume, and grab the attention of a prospective employer when mentioned in cover letters and during interviews. Some young adults intern as a foray into a particular profession for which they have no training.

No matter what a student's chosen field may be, having a letter of recommendation from a qualified adult can go a long way towards securing a solid internship. So if someone requests that you write a recommendation letter, it’s worth taking the time to write a top-notch letter.

If you're a student requesting a recommendation letter, follow these tips: 

  • Choose your recommender wisely: Reach out to someone who knows you well, and has a positive opinion of your work and character. 
  • Ask politely: Writing a letter takes effort, so make your request politely. Plan ahead and give the person time to write the letter—a few weeks is ideal. 
  • Provide background information: Professors, for instance, write a lot of letters, and they also have a lot of students. Make their task easier by providing information about the internship and a reminder of how they know you. In addition, you can share a copy of your resume. 

What to Include in the Letter

A letter of recommendation needs to be positive, so if you don’t feel like you can endorse the student, you may prefer to politely decline the request. Do this right away so the student will have time to find another recommender.

Once you agree to write the letter, you’ll want your recommendation to shine a bright light on the student’s aptitude and abilities as well as explain why you believe this person would be a perfect fit for the internship.

If you’re not sure exactly what the internship is about, it’s a good idea to ask the student for more information about the type of internship they are seeking.

A copy of the student’s resume, if they have one, will also provide insight into the person’s qualifications and attributes.

The letter should include:

First Paragraph. Explain your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, and for how long.

Second Paragraph. Mention why the student would be a good fit for the internship, and what they can contribute to the organization. Include examples of the individual's expertise and qualifications.

Third Paragraph. Summarize your recommendation, stating that you "highly recommend" the student or that you "recommend without reservation." These definitive phrases show that you truly stand behind the recommendation; anything less enthusiastic will make it seem like you do not truly endorse the person. 

Final Paragraph. Offer to provide more information and include your email address and phone number. Another option is to include a phone number and email address in the return address section of a printed letter or in the signature of an email recommendation.

Letter Closing. End the letter with a formal letter closing and your name and job title. If you are mailing a hard copy of the letter, include your signature underneath your typed name.

In addition, having an example internship recommendation letter to follow may help give you some ideas for your own letter. Be sure to tailor your letter so it’s a strong match for the internship requirements.

Recommendation Example for an Internship

This is an example of a recommendation letter for an internship. Download the recommendation letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online).

Screenshot of a recommendation letter for an equestrian internship
©TheBalance 2018

Recommendation Example for an Internship (Text Version)

Susan Driver
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
555-555-5555
susan.driver@email.com

September 1, 2018

Diana Lee
Director, Human Resources
Acme Stables
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Lee,

It is my understanding that Ellen Smyles is applying for an internship with your organization, working with children in your therapeutic riding program. I have known Ellen for over ten years and have had the opportunity to work with her in many capacities. Ellen was a riding student of mine in elementary through high school, during which time she grew from a beginner herself to help teach the basics of horse care and equitation to newer students.

As well as a teaching facility, we also breed a few horses and ponies each year, and Ellen has always been very involved in working with the youngsters. She has helped to provide ground training and grooming to our weanlings, as well as help with saddle training and schooling green horses.

In addition to helping with the horses, Ellen has also been a fantastic babysitter for my three rambunctious children.

I have absolute confidence in her maturity, and ability to make the right decisions to keep children and animals safe and happy. Ellen is a bright, honest, sensible young woman, and I'm sure she would be an asset to your summer program.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone or email.

Sincerely,

Susan Driver

Recommendation Example for a PR Internship

Mary Cole
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
555-555-5555
mary.cole@email.com

September 1, 2018

Evelyn Lee
Director, Human Resources
Acme Public Relations
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Lee,

I understand that Ellen Smith is applying for an internship with Acme Public Relations, working in the media relations department. I was Ellen's student advisor during her junior year at NYU and worked closely with her throughout the school year. 

As you may know, NYU is known for its media department and has a track record for educating students in the many facets of public and media relations. Many of our students go on to successful careers in journalism, work for major corporations, or secure jobs with the top PR firms in the country. 

Ellen not only completed her media relations coursework with the highest grade point average but the feedback from her professors was consistently positive. Ellen's professors noted that she was smart, eager to learn, responsible, and had an innate knack for the workings of both traditional and digital media in today's shifting media landscape. I am confident that Ellen would be an asset to your organization and excel in your fall internship program. 

Please call my land phone, cell phone, or email me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Mary Cole

Article Sources

  1. National Association of Colleges and Employers. "Study Shows Impact of Internships on Career Outcomes," Accessed Oct. 30, 2019.