September 22, 2021

5 tips on writing internship essays

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By Alissa Zucker

Essay writing can make or break an internship candidate. If your resume seems a little light, you can make up for the lack of experience with a gangbusters personal statement. On the flip side, even if you’re perfect on paper it’ll sink your chances of landing that offer if your writing falls flat. Contrary to popular belief, potential employers really do read these things so it’s in your best interest to pull out all the stylistic stops.

I heard a story just last week from a hiring manager at Google. She told me that strong grades and great work experience only get you so far with their internship program. Companies like Google get thousands applications from straight-A students with storied work histories. What helps you separate yourself from the pack is the writing sample of good persuasive topics. It’s your chance to put a personal touch on your “stats” and leave a lasting impression on the HR department.

Writing Tips

If the thought of talking about yourself in essay format is causing you undue anxiety, fear not! Just follow these five tips and you’ll be well on your way to accepting the internship of your dreams.

1) Write active sentences

Formal essay writing is not IM or chat or blogging. You need to mind your grammar and impress with the strength of your sentences. The first way to do that is to eliminate the passive voice. The essay wasn’t completed. You completed the essay. See the difference?

2) Use strong verbs

Again, style points are key, especially if you’re applying for a job that’s going to require a lot of persuasive writing. Marketing, publishing, communications and PR internships all eliminate candidates from consideration outright for poor form in the application essay. One way to impress is to cut out unnecessary adverbs and use stronger verbs. You don’t walk quietly. You tiptoe. A strong verb incorporates the adverb within its own meaning.

3) Explain why you stand out

So you have good grades and you’ve worked hard your whole life – why does that make you special? You can’t just list your accolades. You need to impress your reader by sharing a personal anecdote from your background that helps him or her connect. Any example of you overcoming adversity or persevering is golden. Just don’t sound too cocky. You need to come off as likable as well as competent.

4) Be specific

When you’re discussing your past accomplishments, don’t just say you were one of the best sales associates at XYZ company; demonstrate with specific examples why you were better than everyone else. Use specific numbers and time frames. Tell the reader that you increased sales 20% in the third quarter of 2011. Explain how you used creative thinking to solve one of the company’s most challenging problems. Detailed accounts of success in the workplace will always impress.

5) Write in your own voice

You don’t want to sound too colloquial, but make sure your essay has a personal flair to it. These hiring managers probably read hundreds if not thousands of internship essays. If your prose sounds robotic, his or her eyes will glaze over and they’ll forget all about you come hiring time.

About the author: Alissa Zucker is a copywriter, working for the professional writing company Mcessay.com. She is interested in reading classic and psychological books which give her an inspiration to write her own articles and short stories.

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