How To
9 min read

How to Cold Email for an Internship: Tips & Templates

Soniya Jain
November 20, 2022

What you'll learn

What you'll need

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to cold email for an internship that can turn your dreams into reality with the click of a mouse. It’s not what you say as much as it is how you say it when it comes to cold emailing.

You can say the same thing multiple ways and attain a different outcome based on wording alone. While a bit humorous and hyperbolic, playing with words and their subsequent meanings is fun. Let’s try an example that may make you chuckle.

If you walk up to your significant other and state; when I look at you, time stands still, you are likely to reap affection. On the contrary, you could approach them and say; you have a face that will stop a clock, and you’re likely to get clocked.

Words and context matter, and we’re dealing with building your future. Take heed of what you learn in this article.

One good internship can boost your resume and kickstart your professional career if you're a college student or recent graduate.

Internships help you build your resume with real-world experience that employers want to see. 

They’re also a great way to get your foot in the door in your chosen industry or even a specific company you’re interested in working for. The right internship can turn into a full-time position or connect you with people who can help you find jobs after graduation.

However, landing an internship isn’t always easy, so it’s important to be proactive and put your best foot forward.

After all, you may be competing with dozens or even hundreds of qualified candidates. And many of the best internships are never even publicly listed!

This is where you can deploy the power of cold emails to land even the most competitive internship opportunities in your field.

Regardless of your background or experience, cold emailing allows you to reach out to anyone in the professional world. That said, there’s a right way to send a cold email, and you don’t want to risk putting off potential employers with an unprofessional message.

This in-depth guide will cover all the basics of writing great cold emails. We’ll even provide free templates to help you get started!

How to write a cold email to get an internship

Regardless of the type of internship you’re trying to land, there are a few specific steps you should always follow when writing a cold email to a potential employer. 

Define your goals

Before anything else, it’s important to think critically about what you’re looking for in an internship in the first place. Here are a few critical questions you should answer to stay on the right track:

What kind of internship do you want?

Your internship experience will likely influence your future full-time job opportunities. Carefully pick internships that support and align with your desired career path.

For example, if you want to build a career in content marketing, apply for internships that will help you practice writing, search engine optimization, and other skills involved in that discipline.

Do you need a paid internship?

This may be an unfortunate surprise, but 40% of internships are still unpaid

This means you will have a smaller pool of opportunities if you only want to apply for paid internships. Consider your decision carefully, especially if you have college loans to repay.

What types of companies do you want to work for?

If you’re already familiar with your industry, you may have specific companies in mind that you’d like to work for.

For instance, if you’re looking for an internship in the music industry, you’ll probably want to apply to major record labels like Sony, Universal, or Warner Music Group. If you want to work in tech, you may be interested in internships at big tech companies like Apple and Google.

Make a list of your dream companies and search for internships at those companies first. You can even create a detailed spreadsheet tracking every internship you want to apply to! 

Prepare your resume

Think of your cold email as your cover letter. It will be your first impression to recruiters or hiring managers and provide an overview of your candidate profile for the internship you want.

To provide a detailed breakdown of what you have done in your career, you should draft and attach a resume supporting your pitch in the email. Make sure to tailor your resume to the specific position you’re applying for, and include only relevant information!

Research and build a cold emailing list

Sample LinkedIn advanced search for "hiring managers"

Now it’s time to build a list of potential recruiter emails to execute your cold email outreach.

Here are some useful tips for building a solid list of prospects:

  • Use a spreadsheet or similar software to organize your research information by name, email, company, possible roles, personalization points, and more.
  • Use LinkedIn's advanced search feature to search relevant profiles to your goals.
  • Run Google Search with advanced search queries (e.g., "internship AND writing").
  • Browse internship listing sites.
  • Find target professionals on other social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit.
  • Use an email finder tool like to get accurate email addresses for everyone on your list.
  • Leverage your alumni network.
  • Use group email addresses where personal emails are hard to find.

Make your subject line specific

Your subject line is the first thing your potential employer will see when they get your email. 

If it's not interesting or engaging enough, chances are they won't even bother reading the rest of your message, no matter how much effort you put into crafting the perfect pitch.

Here are some valuable tips for writing strong internship request subject lines:

  • Use keywords like "internship application" to make it easy for recruiters to find your email
  • Include a mutual connection (if you have one)
  • Highlight what you can do for them
  • Mention a common school
  • Propose that you are willing to work for free (if you are able)

Pro Tip: Quickly generate multiple versions of your email subject line and pick the best one with this free, AI-powered email subject line generator.

Give a compelling introduction

Source: Credit

A good introduction is one of the most important parts of your cold email. A clear, compelling introduction will grab the recipient’s attention and make them eager to continue reading.

Here are some tips for writing a practical cold email introduction for an internship:

  • Give a brief description of who you are — name, age, college, degree, etc.
  • Mention what you are applying for or what type of opportunity you are exploring.
  • Keep it concise.

List relevant accomplishments

When applying for an internship, you must present yourself in the best possible light. 

The key is to be specific about your accomplishments and demonstrate that you have the necessary skills for success.

Here are some valuable tips for describing your achievements in a cold email:

  • Keep it specific to the role.
  • Pick a maximum of 2-3 examples.
  • Use specific numbers (e.g., increased web traffic by 200%).

Explain your "why"

The closing paragraph of your cold email should explain why you want to work for the company and how your skills can benefit them.

This section is also where you can include highly personalized content for each recruiter.

For example, based on your research, you may find out that the company struggles with social media graphic design. You can highlight this point respectfully and support it with relevant skills you can bring to the table to solve this issue for them.

Make your request clear with a CTA

Make it very easy for recruiters to take action on your email without spending too much time on it. You can do this with the help of a clear and focused call-to-action (CTA).

For example, ask the recipient if they’d be willing to schedule an introductory virtual meeting to get to know each other better. Propose a specific date and time so all they have to do is say “yes” or propose an alternative.

Close with a sign-off and signature

Finally, you should sign off respectfully and add a standard signature with your name and contact details.

Proofread and format well

Now, it’s time to refine your first draft. Start with proofreading, copy editing, and formatting to tighten your email. A strong cold email should never include typos or grammar errors!

Get a second opinion

An extra step to improve your chances of getting an internship call is to get your email draft and resume peer-reviewed. You can ask a friend, mentor, or professor to share their honest feedback so you can make changes before it’s too late.

Attach your resume and hit send

It’s finally time to attach your resume and hit the send button!

You can use cold email outreach software to simplify this process. Many of these tools can send automated follow-up emails, track click rates, and even tell you who’s opened your email.

Follow up without fail

Following up on unanswered emails is critical to keeping yourself on recruiters’ radar after you send them a cold email.

Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t give up so quickly after your first email:

  • It shows your commitment to the company and ability to follow through on tasks.
  • It gives you more chances to reiterate why you're an excellent fit for the role and what you can bring to the table.
  • Recruiters might miss your well-written email in the sea of applications they receive every month.

Valuable tips for following up on your cold email:

  • Make sure it’s clear your follow-up email relates to your initial email or application.
  • Leverage the automation features of a cold email outreach software tool if you send many emails.
  • Do a minimum of two follow-ups after your initial email.
  • Mention the context and include a CTA in every email.

Cold email internship templates

By now, you should have a firm grasp of all the steps required to write good cold emails. We’ve made the process easier by creating some cold email internship templates for popular use cases.

Feel free to copy and edit them in any way you like!

Sample cold email template for research internship

Hello [recipient name],

My name is [name], and I'm a student at [university/ college name]. I am interested in applying for the research internship position you posted on [website].

I have been following your work for some time now and would love an opportunity to work with you on your current research project. I am particularly interested in learning more about how you conduct your research and approach the challenges of new technologies such as [technology name].

I have attached my resume for your review. Please let me know if you are interested in meeting to discuss this position further.


[Your signature]

Sample cold email template for finance internship

Hello [recipient name],

My name is [name], and I currently study at [university/college name]. I am writing to ask if you offer finance internships for college students.

I have worked in the field for 3 years and have experience in accounting, investments, and management. I am confident that my skills and knowledge would be an asset to your company.

I have attached a copy of my resume and a link to an article I wrote on [topic].

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns regarding my candidacy. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your signature]

Sample cold email template for legal internship

Hello [recipient name],

My name is [name], and I am a student at [college/university name]. 

I was wondering if you have any open internships in your office — I'm interested in learning more about the role of an attorney, especially in the field of [area of law].

I have a strong interest in [area of law]. In addition to my studies, I've been working at [related job experience] since school started. I've learned a lot about the legal field there, and I am eager to continue my education in a hands-on environment.

I would love to learn more about your office, what opportunities you offer, and if any openings are available.

Please let me know if you think we might be a good match.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Your signature]

Sample cold email template for tech startup internship

Hello [recipient name],

My name is [name], and I'm a student at [school] looking for an internship this summer. I saw your job posting for a full-stack engineer, and I wanted to introduce myself.

I have a passion for programming and have been coding since I was 12. My club team won the state championship three years running in high school. Last year, we even competed in the national hackathon.

I love working with people who are similarly passionate about what they do, which is why I'd love to work at [company name].

Please contact me anytime if you've any questions or want more information about me and my background.


[Your signature]

Sample cold email template for an internship that doesn't exist

Hello [recipient name],

My name is [name], and I'm a junior at [college name] studying [subject]. I'm writing to you because I'm interested in interning with your company, and I wanted to see if you had any open positions available this summer.

I've been following your company for a while now, and I was inspired by your work and how you've built a culture of innovation.

The following line resonated with me when I read your mission statement: ["mission statement"] That's why I'm passionate about what you do and why I'd love to get involved.

I think my skills would be a great fit for your team because they align perfectly with what you need: creativity, organization, and a strong work ethic.

Please find my resume attached to this email.

I look forward to the possibility of working together.


[Your signature]

Sample cold email template for a paid internship request

Hello [recipient name],

I'm a student at [college/university name], and I was wondering if you're hiring for any paid internships. 

I'd be interested in learning more about the role, its responsibilities, and what you look for in an ideal candidate.

I've attached my resume for your reference.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.


[Your signature]

Sample first follow-up cold email template for an internship application

Hello [recipient name],

I hope you're doing well. I just wanted to follow up on my application for the [position] internship you posted.

You may remember that I'm a [major] student at [college/university name]. I'm interested in your company's work and would love to learn more about it.

Is there any way we could schedule a time to talk?

Thanks so much!

[Your signature]

Sample second follow-up cold email template for an internship application

Hello [recipient name],

I hope you're doing well! I'm writing to follow up on the internship application I sent you a few weeks ago. 

I know it's been a while since we last spoke, but I wanted to check in and make sure you received my application.

If you have some time, I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about my skills and interests in more detail.

Please let me know if there is a good time for us to connect.

Thanks again,

[Your signature]


Overall, it doesn't matter if you have the perfect experience or not. It doesn't matter if the position is listed on a job board.

You can still land a great internship today by sending thoughtful, personalized cold emails to the people you'd like to work with.

Even if your email doesn't result in an internship offer, well-written cold emails can improve your networking skills, refine your interview pitch, and give you insight into the industry.

Looking for a tool that can help you streamline the writing process? CopyAI is democratizing access to AI-powered copy creation for everyone. Feel free to check our free tools to help get you started.

How to cold email for an internship is part of an ongoing series on how to write. The goal of the series is to help you become a better writer. Check out some of our other tutorials on how to write below:

Tips For Writing Event Email Marketing Copy (with Examples)
How to Write a Blog Post About an Event
Tips To Write a Comparison Blog Post
How To Write a Screenplay
Personalization in Sales Outreach Emails

Try Chat by free: Whatever you need—just ask.
Start for free

Ready to level-up?

Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.

Get Started for Free
No credit card required
2,000 free words per month
90+ content types to explore