What is an Internship Thank You Letter?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Internships can be fabulous ways to learn about fields in which you hope to be able to work professionally. Even if you do an internship in an area of business that you don’t intend to work, you never know where the paths of the professionals you meet will travel, and you may meet some of these fellow workers or superiors again. For this reason, it’s important to thank people in an internship thank you letter. This will help leave a lasting impression on those people you learned from, and may be a means of advancing your career in the future.

If your internship was successful, one thing you can ask for is a letter of recommendation.
If your internship was successful, one thing you can ask for is a letter of recommendation.

Some people feel a little awkward sending an internship thank you letter before they’ve actually left. To avoid this, you can plan to send the letter about a week after your internship ends. Don’t let the time stretch out too far, though, because you want the letter to have the most impact when people still remember who you are.

There are simple forms online that can help you write a decent internship thank you letter. You should include a basic expression of gratitude for getting the chance to work with the particular company or organization. In a second paragraph, delve into some specific things that were most helpful to you and discuss those people who really taught you about the profession or the type of work you were learning. Sometimes it’s necessary to write more than one thank you letter, especially if one person in particular was extremely helpful or supportive, but wasn’t part of the team you worked for.

If your internship was successful, one thing you can ask for is a letter of recommendation. Ideally you should not use the thank you letter to make this request. However, you can use the letter to thank people for having written a recommendation for you. Thanks for recommendations or kind things said to you can be the focus of a third paragraph in a thank you letter.

Some people feel that a thank you letter means you’re trying too hard or being phony. It isn’t necessary to exaggerate or say things you don’t mean in these letters, and it’s really a matter of professional courtesy instead of acting in a phony way. Even if your internship wasn’t the most successful, you can still thank a company for giving you the opportunity, and you can almost always come up with a few things you learned that were helpful. This way, you’ve stayed true to yourself and still met your professional obligations.

Don’t forget that the thank you letter is the last impression a company will have of you, at least for now. Make sure the letter you write is well written and free of grammatical or spelling errors. Failure to carefully edit may erase a formerly good impression managers had of you, which would somewhat destroy the point of the letter and the internship.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


shoeshopper- It is generally not acceptable to send an internship thank you by email. An email is very informal and may be discarded quickly.

Sending a formal letter through the mail is more professional and will likely be taken more seriously. It shows that you spent real time and effort on the letter rather than just sending an email on a whim.


Is it acceptable to send a thank you note by email?


Writing an internship thank you note is also a good idea if you plan on using your supervisor as a reference later down the road.

I completed a journalism internship a few months ago and sent a brief, thoughtful note to my supervisor thanking her for the time she spent helping me with my articles. She was very appreciate of this gesture and ended up being a great reference for me that helped me land an even better internship the next semester.

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