Writing Internship Proposals Similar for Students and Employers

September 29, 2011
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Proposals allow you to think out what you want to do before you do it.  It’s a form of planning that will make you more secure.  Students can approach employers cold with a proposal to establish an internship.  

     Employers likewise should know in advance what they expect of a student when seeking an intern.  The two proposal approaches are similar in terms of covering the same ground, as the following internship proposal-writing advice outlines.

Ryan Dewey

I was recently asked for help in writing an internship proposal.  I am not an expert on this, although I did once write a 20 page proposal to successfully create an internship for myself.  Anyway, in thinking it over here are my top suggestions about writing proposals to demonstrate why someone should want to give you an internship, or a job, or an education for that matter: [NB: This all assumes that you already know the organization you are approaching, that you see how you fit into their brand and identity, and that you probably have some inside contacts already...if none of those things are true, make them true before you take the advice below.]

#1) Show how your personal narrative makes this next step (i.e., the internship) the most logical choice for you in your trajectory. If you can’t show yourself how it fits into your plan, then it will be much more difficult to show others how it fits into your plan.  You have to be crystal clear about this.  Be as explicit as possible.  Be as transparent as possible (of course this advice depends on how cut-throat the organization is which you are trying to join).

#2) Define the role you want to fill. Basically you are writing your own job description, and this is great. You want to be able to show how your best skills can augment the productivity of the organization you are trying to join.  For internships this is a little tricky, especially in the US because of the laws about interns who get paid a wage vs. those who do it strictly for the experience (I am not exactly sure, but I think if you are getting college credit for an internship it has to be unpaid) and what type of work they can do and how much a company can profit from the work of an intern.  Irrespective of the pay issue, the role issue is most important.  Define the level of work that you will do for a company. Define the suite of skills that you bring to the workplace and explicitly state how your skills will converge in the role you have defined for yourself.

Read more steps in this process . . .

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