How to Write an Internship Thank You Letter
If you’ve been lucky enough to secure a paid or unpaid internship as a graduate, it is important to appreciate the efforts of the coworkers and supervisors who have trained you and supported your development.
An internship thank you letter ensures you are leaving behind an authentic, positive impression of who you are and helps you foster long-term business relationships.
It could be the small thing that sets you apart from past or future interns in that company and makes you memorable when a company is looking for future employees.
First, it is polite.
No matter the length of your internship, it is important to show respect and appreciation for the employees' time and support.
Second, you should acknowledge that you were selected over many other candidates for the internship opportunity and demonstrate your on-going gratitude.
Even though you may have given significant time of your own for no or little pay, the experience is something you must show genuine excitement to have received if you wish to continue working in the company or industry.
Although you shouldn’t use the thank you letter to ask for a job or further paid work, it could set the stage for future employment.
Third, it is your last chance to make a good impression. Just as the way you enter an interview room gives an employer their first impression of your attitude and confidence, a thank you letter completes an organization's picture of who you truly are.
Think of it as your final gesture, and take the opportunity to show yourself in the most positive light possible.
Sending a thank-you note before your internship has concluded may make space for awkwardness. Ideally, hand over your note in person on the last day of your internship.
Plan ahead and check the diaries of your supervisors and close colleagues. If they are not going to be available on your last day, plan a time you can hand them your letter in person.
If you feel an email is more appropriate for your team, you could send this during or just after your last day in the office.
If you are planning to send an email, note down company emails of important coworkers or supervisors in advance, and make sure they have your personal email too.
On leaving a company, your accounts are likely to be closed immediately for security reasons.
A thank you letter can be presented in several ways:
- A handwritten note
- A letter or card
- A formal typed letter
- An email
The format you choose for your internship thank you letter depends on a few factors. You should consider the level of formality you want to convey in your note before deciding.
Be alert to how your organization communicates during your internship and observe how other employees and coworkers show appreciation for each other or mark occasions.
If they send cards, you should too. However, if coworkers are more formal and less personal in their day-to-day communication, choose a format which reflects this.
To show you have put time, thought and effort into your internship thank you note, consider sending it as a printed or handwritten letter, placed in an envelope.
A handwritten internship thank you letter demonstrates genuine effort on your part to personalize a thank you.
However, depending on the culture in the organization you have interned for, you might feel a typed letter left on a desk, placed in a mailbox or handed over in person is more appropriate.
Typing a letter ensures your writing can be reviewed and amended before printing and signing. It is important that an internship thank you letter is concise and mistake-free, and with a typed letter, you can avoid gushing or rewriting several times over.
If you have been working remotely as an intern and communicating virtually with your team, then an email is almost certainly how you should say thank you.
However, a group email is never an appropriate way to thank an organization for an internship as it will always fail to acknowledge the specific investments each of your coworkers has made.
It is important to thank everyone who has helped you during your internship and to send them individual letters or notes.
The level of formality of an email, just like a letter, should reflect the usual levels of formality in that company’s culture.
No matter how friendly or personable your coworkers have become, you should always retain a level of professionalism in your tone.
It may be beneficial to send an internship thank you email from a personal email account, so your internship provider has direct access to your email.
A combination of different thank you handwritten notes, typed letters and e-mails addressed to different individuals might be the best strategy to take in crafting your internship thank you note.
It is important to thank every individual who has helped you during your internship. Teams talk, so missing or failing to acknowledge something someone has done for you could leave them feeling disgruntled or even offended.
Start with your supervisor or line manager, and then ensure anyone more senior who has also taken time to support you also receives a thank you note.
It might be helpful to write a list of staff to thank, alongside any particular experiences they facilitated for you.
To decide how you are going to begin your internship thank you letter, reference past emails and letters sent between colleagues in the organization.
If most emails are relatively informal, beginning 'Hi Everyone', then you could conclude that 'Hi Bernie' in a thank you email is appropriate.
If most emails or letters begin 'To Whom It May Concern', then evaluate your level of formal writing accordingly.
Address the person you are writing to as you would address them in real life. 'Dear Mr Sanders' is only appropriate if you call your boss this on a day-to-day basis.
Starting your thank you note with 'Dear' gives a little more sincerity and formality than beginning with 'Hello' or 'Hi'.
'To' isn’t an ideal start to a thank you note as it is colder and suggests you aren’t familiar with the person you are writing to.
The first line of your note or letter should always include the words, 'thank you'.
Your opening doesn’t need to deep dive into any specifics and can be succinct and sincere.
I wanted to write to say thank you for all the support you’ve given me in the last six months.
Next, include sentences that give a sense of your appreciation for the experience you’ve had, but avoid rambling.
I have enjoyed working with you and am grateful for the time you have all taken to support me whilst we have worked together.
Your letter should refer to specific experiences the person you are writing to facilitated during your internship to show that you genuinely appreciate their efforts.
Focus on the skills and knowledge you have learned from them, remembering that this letter is fostering a professional relationship as opposed to a friendship or comradery.
Being able to sit in on meetings for the Airbnb account has been a huge privilege. It was amazing for me to be able to see how the team works on such important projects, and I am grateful to you for inviting me in to observe. This will be such a useful experience to draw on in my future career and I have you to thank for allowing me to see inside the workings of a high-profile project like this one.
You can also use this paragraph to assure your coworkers their investments haven’t gone to waste.
Most people are passionate about their work and will be glad to know that they have inspired someone to pursue a career in their industry.
This experience confirmed for me that advertising is the area I want to work in. I am grateful to you for your support and encouragement in improving my writing whilst I’ve been here, as it has given me the confidence to approach new roles and demonstrate that I have the skills and experience they require.
Memorable and useful experiences to acknowledge could be as simple as having had supportive conversations with a coworker:
I am writing to thank you for your support during my internship. Our conversations over coffee have made me feel like a genuine and valued part of the team and I am grateful for your support and time. I hope we can stay in touch in the future.
You might also illustrate how the experience is going to support you in your future career:
I also wanted to thank you personally for allowing me to be a part of the press campaign for the upcoming launch. I know this was a high-profile project and you took a risk in allowing me to have input into the copy, the photoshoots and the scheduling, so I value being able to contribute to something so significant. Even though I have a lot to learn, thanks to your feedback, I feel like a professional and capable communications officer.
In your sign off, show your willingness to keep in touch and stay updated.
Make sure everyone at the company has your contact details.
If you have mainly communicated via internal email, after you leave the company this will no longer be a possibility, so include your email, cell phone and address, alongside a sentence which shows how you would like to be contacted.
In case you need them, here are my contact details. Email is usually the best way to reach me. I hope we can keep in touch. I’d love to know how the rest of the project goes and wish you all the best with it.
Round off your internship thank you letter with a final sentence, again including the words 'thank you'.
Choose a final sign off which is appropriately formal for your letter:
Once again, thank you so much for all the support and time you have given me over the last few months. Take care and all the best.
Your internship thank you letter should:
- Explain what you learned during your internship and how it will be useful to you in the future
- Explain what you discovered or particularly enjoyed about working in that company
- Foster a continued relationship with that person and their organization
- Include your contact details
- Be authentic, specific and genuine
- Be professional but also personable
- Begin and end with the words 'thank you'
An internship thank you letter should never:
- Ask for a job or further paid work
- Be longer than two paragraphs or a single side of A4 in printed letter format
- Ramble or be gushing
- Be copy-pasted from a template
- Be the same as an internship thankyou note sent to another employee in that organization
- Talk only about fun or anecdotal experiences, instead of learning opportunities
- Detail anything you didn’t like or feedback things you would have liked to be different
Although you can hope that your thank you letter might stand you in good stead for a paid role in the future, it is important not to ask directly for a job in your internship thank you note.
In doing so, you could make yourself look two-faced and undermine any authenticity in your appreciation for the hard work that has been invested in you during your internship.
Don’t write too much. If writing an email, imagine how it would look printed and ensure it would sit on the central third of an A4 page – this is the standard length of a formal letter.
In other words, one to two succinct paragraphs with specific, personalized content should be sufficient.
Gushing and rambling isn’t professional, and keep in mind that no matter how friendly or informal an organization is, this is still the beginning of a professional connection, not a personal one.
I am writing to thank you for all the time and support you have offered me in the last six months of my internship. I value that your time is precious and appreciate having been made to feel so welcome here.
Not only have the last six months confirmed for me that I’d like to work in PR, but thanks to the opportunities you have given me, I feel confident in my writing, my organization, and feel I understand what the role entails. I have had a chance to experience all sides of communications, understanding key messages, planning an effective campaign, writing releases, organizing photo shoots, and communicating with a marketing team. It has been such a useful and interesting time and I am grateful to have had such a broad experience.
Being a part of the campaign for the release of the Brown account was an incredible experience that showed me just how creative and quick-thinking a campaign manager needs to be. I know that inviting me into meetings for the project was a huge investment on your part, but this is a concrete experience that I can take forward into my new role, so I appreciate it a great deal.
I know I am very lucky to have had the chance to be an intern here, so thank you again for the opportunity. Please stay in touch. I’d love to know how the project is coming along in the new year. You can reach me at:
Take care and all the best for the coming year,
Whether you print, handwrite or email your internship thank you note, make sure it is drafted and checked before sending.
Handwritten letters don’t leave space for mistakes, so ensure you consider what you are going to say carefully and have a spare sheet handy in case you need to restart.
Be genuine and mean what you say. Any hint of inauthenticity or an impression that you are angling for a job, could count against you.
Thank everyone you have formed a meaningful relationship with during your internship, and make sure they receive your note or thank you letter, either by finding them to hand it over in person or by leaving it in a visible place.
Think ahead and observe the communication cultures in your organization carefully in the final weeks and months of your internship.
Be aware of how other coworkers say thanks or acknowledge special occasions within the business, such as welcoming a recruit or congratulating a promotion.
Make sure your internship thank you letter fits into this culture and shows you respect and fit into it too.