A successful internship can be the key to a thriving and fulfilling career. However, there are several things you need to consider before accepting any offers.
That’s why we asked experts to provide their insights on how to accept an internship offer. Let’s find out:
Table of Contents
- Ensure that you have reviewed the opportunity and are ready to accept
- Time limit
- Do not accept to decline afterward
- Things to include in the acceptance letter
- Ask important questions before accepting an offer
- Give it some serious thought before accepting an internship offer
- Reply in a timely manner and respond professionally
- A good acceptance letter from an intern should be informative and appreciative
Director of University Partnerships, Virtual Internships
Ensure that you have reviewed the opportunity and are ready to accept
If you are wondering how to accept an internship offer, you have already done the hard work, so congratulations! Prior to accepting, ensure that you have reviewed the opportunity and are ready to accept considering:
Do you have applications out with other internships that you are waiting to hear back from?
If this isn’t your first choice, and you run the risk of accepting and backing out, try to ask for a little more time before you commit. Most answers should be given within 3 business days, 5 at the latest, but you can email them stating your enthusiasm but asking for a few days to confirm.
Are you able to commit to the time and effort required from this opportunity? Will this internship get you the skills, experience, and opportunities you need for your future career management?
Most likely, if you are considering a response, you have answered a resounding yes to the last two questions and can move onto the next part, formally accepting!
In your response, ensure that you:
- Show your enthusiasm and excitement for the opportunity.
While there is a balance between enthusiastic and over-enthusiastic, your acceptance letter doesn’t have to be overly formal and should show your genuine happiness at receiving the offer.
- Ensure that you are clear about what you are accepting.
There should be a sentence towards the start of your email stating: “I am happy to accept the position of XXX Intern at XYZ Company beginning on XXX date with starting pay of $$$ (or provision of credit or stipend).”
HINT: If you cannot fully complete the blanks on the above sentence, you should hold off accepting until you can confirm the start date and pay.
End the message asking for the next steps and how you can support in between now and your confirmed start date. This point is often forgotten when accepting but shows initiative and allows you to get clarity on what to do next. Once you have officially confirmed, make sure you don’t go silent until the start date, and check-in at least one week prior to the start of your internship to ask how you can prepare for your first day.
HR Manager, Proprivacy
The first thing is the reasonable time limit. I recommend you not to take more than ten days to respond. If they would need to hire early, then they might decline you from the finalized list. So, respond within ten days.
Do not accept to decline afterward
If you are only accepting the offer to decline it before joining, then it is a big question mark on your professionalism. Maybe a company would add your name and details in the blacklist to not consider you for future opportunities.
Things to include in the acceptance letter
The next thing is “how to respond.” Make a checklist of these five things:
- position title
- start date
- acknowledge the terms agreed upon
Including the aforementioned things would show your professional attitude towards an organization and also clear all the ambiguities.
Additionally, as a courtesy, you can remind them that you are open to fill out any required information and to land documents. So, if any document has been missed or they want it on the first day of the internship, then you could arrange it timely.
Founder & CEO of DOCUdavit Solutions
Ask important questions before accepting an offer
For young professionals and college students looking to jumpstart their careers, internships are a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and network with people working in an industry that you’re presumably interested in. They also present a catch-22.
With many employers offering unpaid internships, young, enthusiastic kids who want to make a name for themselves get taken advantage of.
Intern candidates often don’t have much power in negotiations, but it’s important for them to leverage what they have. Here are a few key questions to ask before accepting an offer:
- “What will my day-to-day responsibilities look like?”
- “Who will I report to? Have they ever had an intern before? If so, would it be possible for me to speak with the previous intern?”
- “Have you hired previous interns for full-time positions? If so, what might that timeline look like?”
- “In your opinion, what are the most important characteristics that enable interns and employees to succeed at your company?”
By asking questions like these, the intern can flip the script and regain a bit of control in negotiations. If the interviewer doesn’t offer satisfactory answers, it might be a sign that the internship is not a good match.
Asking these types of questions as an interviewee exudes confidence and self-respect — qualities that any prospective employer wants in a new team member.
If the intern candidate does his/her due diligence and analyzes the internship opportunity like the employer analyzes the intern’s resume, the intern candidate should be able to make an informed decision whether to accept an offer or not.
Give it some serious thought before accepting an internship offer
The single most important thing to do before accepting an internship offer is to give it some serious thought– there’s a very good chance that this will be your next employer.
Try and make a list of what you want from experience, so you can make an informed decision once the offer comes in. The likelihood is that the person who interviews you will be the person you work for, so try and figure out during the interview if this is someone you feel comfortable working with, and if the environment feels right.
The worst thing you can do is just accept the first offer that comes.
If you accept and then backtrack on that decision, you’ll be in a worse position than a polite rejection. We’re not naïve enough as employers to think that you’ve only applied to one organization at a time, so it’s understandable for you to take some time to weigh up your options.
However, once you give the go-ahead, then various departments will be readying themselves ahead of your arrival. Changing your mind causes disruption. It wastes time and, consequently, money. That may not matter to you now, but the working world can be smaller than you think. If you’re applying for an internship in the sector you want to work in the future, there’s a strong chance you’ll encounter the same people further down the line.
I once had someone renege on an internship around three weeks after accepting an initial offer. Several years later, that same name applied for a permanent position on one of my teams at a different company. Their resume looked great, and they interviewed well, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they would either do the same or wouldn’t hesitate to leave us in the lurch again.
Having a better offer on the table, or something more suited to your skillset of future ambitions, is fine. But wasting people’s time and energy now can put you in a tricky spot at a much more important stage of your career. So, before accepting an internship offer, make sure that you’re 100% certain that this is the route you wish to go down.
Founder, The Corporate Con/noisseur
Reply in a timely manner and respond professionally
Internships are, generally, the best way to jumpstart your career and enter into the professional workforce. Internships allow students to gain relevant, real-world experience while simultaneously building and creating networks within their chosen industry. In addition, nearly 65% of all interns are accepted into full-time positions at the end of their internship, making the time spent on the internship all the more valuable.
With so much on the line, it is important to not only create a great first impression but also to continue providing value and professionalism throughout the length of the internship. When it comes to accepting an internship offer, you should do so in a professional, mature manner. This means that you should provide a response, accepting the offer, within 24-hours of receiving the email.
Within the body of the email, you will want to thank both the hiring manager and the human resources recruiter for their time and for the opportunity. The email should be roughly a paragraph in length, as you will want to avoid including any unnecessary information and don’t want to ramble on. After providing your appreciation for their time and the opportunity, you may ask a few relevant questions.
These may include:
- start date of the internship
- the length of the internship
- confirmation of where the internship will be located.
Typically, these questions may be answered in the initial offer letter, but if not, you can go ahead and ask those questions.
So long as you reply in a timely manner and respond professionally and maturely, you should be okay. Continue to act in a professional manner throughout the length of your internship and remember that while some internship work may seem boring or unnecessary, it is an important first step in your career and one that you will likely look fondly upon.
Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
A good acceptance letter from an intern should be informative and appreciative
Informative, because some internship programs may accept a number of interns at the same time. Make sure to include a summary of your skills in your letter. State very clearly in bulleted form what skills you will bring to the internship and how this makes you a great candidate.
If you have a good idea of the project or topic of the internship project that you’d like to do, this will also demonstrate that you have done your homework regarding the projects that will be meaningful for the organization that is offering you the internship.
Finally, the acceptance letter should be appreciative. Don’t sound like you had taken it for granted that you would be accepted to the internship. Make sure to state that you appreciate the opportunity and that you are committed to doing a great job.
Resume Expert | Career Advice Writer, ResumeLab
When you land an internship and receive your first job offer from an employer, it feels great. After all, you hustled your way into it, and you have all the right to slap an ‘S’ on your chest. That being said, if you fail to craft a robust acceptance letter, you might come off unprofessional or lacking motivation to join the company.
The good news is, you can flip things around and be in charge of your internship success right from the get-go. To accept an internship offer, you need to pen a strong acceptance letter includes the following core sections:
- An expression of gratitude for the internship offer.
- Verbiage that says you accept the company’s offer.
- A rapid-fire recap of the agreed-upon salary and benefits as you understand them.
- The date you’ll start.