What You Need to Apply

How do you apply to internships?

Generally, you apply to internships by submitting application materials to the organization. These may include a personal essay, statement of purpose, cover letter, resume, CV (curriculum vitae), character references, and letters of recommendation. It is important understand what each of these applications are.

Over-Arching Helpful Hint:

Never send a cover letter, resume, or email without proofreading it first or asking someone else to proofread it for you!

Many employers want a written statement from the applicant, either explaining why they are applying to the job or responding to a given prompt. Cover letters/personal statements accompany the application materials and are usually the first application item that an employer will review. The letter should give an overview of your intentions for applying and accent the following application materials. The letter should be articulate, clear, and well-written; your cover letter also serves as a writing sample. Be succinct. 

Essentially, the cover letter is your personal contribution to the application materials, which mainly consist of documentation of your past experiences and achievements. The cover letter is an opportunity for you to tell the employer why your past experiences and achievements are relevant to the position you’re applying for and why they are important. This is where you tell the employer what your application materials simply cannot.

A statement of purpose is similar to a cover letter in aim but different in length. A statement of purpose is generally shorter than a cover letter and, as the name suggests, is a statement informing the employer why you are applying to the position and why you are qualified. Statements of purpose can be written on a separate sheet but can also be included as part of a resume or cover letter. The statement should be concise, strong, and to-the-point.

Personal essays can vary from being exactly like a cover letter/personal statement to a response to a given prompt by the potential employer. For example, an employer may ask you provide your opinion to a contemporary issue in your field, or ask you to explain why you chose your field of study. For these essays, it is important to be truthful and articulate your ideas clearly.

Click Here for a Cover Letter Example

  • Resumes and CVs are a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous experience, typically sent with a job application (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). There is a difference, however, between the two.

    A resume is a summary of your work and educational experiences, personal achievements, and credentials. The resume should be short, concise, and to-the-point. Generally, a resume is one-page long, consisting of bulleted items and descriptions. Your resume should have a certain organizational format. For example, many people organize their resume chronologically, starting with the most recent experiences followed by older ones. Others organize by relevance, listing the experiences that are most closely related to their job first followed by less-related ones. Regardless of your choice of organization, your resume needs to reflect organization. The document should be clean, and formatted with the same style throughout. Use a text-editing software such as Microsoft Word to create your document.

    A curriculum vitae (CV) is similar to a resume in that it provides a summary of a person’s related educational and work experiences. CVs include information about educational/work experiences such as degrees, educational experience, research, publications, awards, scholarships, achievements, presentations, etc. and are often geared toward applications to academic, international, research-oriented, scientific, and grant/fellowship positions. Unlike a resume, a CV provides concise explanations of the experiences/achievements listed. Remember to create your CV specifically for the job/position you are applying for. Like with a resume, choose and stick to a formatting and organization for your CV, whether it be chronological, by relevance, or by some other format.

    In both cases, list only the coursework that is relevant to the position you're applying for and remember to be factual and honest--don't embellish. 

    Click Here for Resume Tips
    Example Resume Business
    Example Education Resume
    Example Health and Human Services Resume

Office of Career Services

Aimee Piccin
Associate Director of Academic and Career Advising
Wintergreen Building
(203) 392-6517
All juniors, seniors, and graduate students 

Paige Slack 
Graduate Assistant
Wintergreen Building
(203) 392-6539
All freshmen & Sophomore students


Academic Success Center

Writing Tutors are available by appointment to help you with your cover letter/personal statements, personal essays, and statements of purpose.


Other links

Other Resources

  • Ask faculty members in your department to help you.
  • Off-Campus Resources for writing your cover letter 
  • Online resources
  • Private writing tutors
  • Friends/family

Letters of Recommendation/References are requested by an employer because they want to hear from someone other than you about your experiences, achievements, and your character. Here are a few helpful tips.

  • Letters of recommendation are typically sent by the recommender directly to the organization/employer, however, sometimes you may have to upload the letter yourself.
  • Be considerate when asking for recommendations.
  • Make sure that you are giving the recommender ample time to complete the letter and keep in mind that professors/professionals likely have many other students asking for recommendations around the same time you are.
  • It is your responsibility to make the entire process as easy as you can for the person writing you a recommendation and doing you this favor. Therefore, it is your responsibility to let the recommender know exactly what you are applying for and key information about the organization.
  • Let your recommender know about the certain questions/points that must be addressed in the recommendation.
  • You should not use a letter of recommendation that is more than a year old; also, do not expect a recommender to continue writing you updated letters.
  • Sometimes, organizations only want applicants to provide a reference. If you are thinking of putting someone down as a reference, make sure you notify them and ask their permission to do so.
  • If they agree, make sure you let them know exactly who they should expect to be hearing from, how many times, and when.

Need Help?

Aimee Piccin
Associate Director of Academic and Career Advising
Wintergreen Building
(203) 392-6517