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Contacting Potential Sites

By now, you may have located some internship sites that you are interested in pursuing. If not, stop by the Internship Office or check with your faculty advisor for assistance in finding resources that will help you locate potential sites. The initial contact you make with potential sites is important since it's the first impression of yourself that you are giving to a company or organization. Below are some tips that may make that process a little easier.

1. Contact potential sites early

Once you have chosen potential sites, decide which ones best fit the experience you are hoping to gain. We suggest that you call one or two sites at a time, research them and set up interviews instead of contacting several at once. You want the site to feel that they are one of your primary selections. This means that you should start your search early (if possible) in case something doesn't work out with one of your initial sites.

2. Before making the phone call

  1. Know the contact person's name. Before you make the call, be sure that you can pronounce the contact person's name with ease. Sometimes it's impossible to know if you are pronouncing a name correctly but do your best with the information you have. If you aren't able to find the name of the contact person, ask for the person who coordinates the internships for the organization or company.
  2. Have your resume ready to go. Be sure you have your resume in front of you when you are placing the call. This is important for several reasons. First, your site contact may ask you about your experience. In case you're nervous when you make the call you may not be able to recall some of the classes you've taken or previous work you've done. Also, a potential site may want you to send a copy of your resume to them quickly and they'll be impressed if you have one prepared and ready to send out at a moment's notice. (If you need assistance with your resume, whether you are writing one for the first time or updating your current copy, call or stop by Career Services. We have examples and can edit your resume or offer suggestions).
  3. Use professional demeanor, enthusiasm and quiet surroundings. You want your call to sound professional, so find a quiet time and area to make the call, preferably when roommates are not around and without the distraction of the TV and radio. Remember to project enthusiasm on the phone to ensure that the site contact person can detect your interest. Posture helps.  If you sit or stand up straight, you'll sound more professional than if you're lounging or laying down.
  4. Practice. It is helpful to practice what you are going to say before contacting your potential internship sites. Read the example below for an idea of what to say. Think about what you are going to say before you get on the phone.

3. Making the call

When making the call, identify yourself and ask the receptionist for the internship contact person, by name if possible.

Example: Hello, my name is Sara Smith, from Saint Mary's University and I'm inquiring about an internship with (company/agency name). May I speak with Paul Jones, please?

Once the contact person is on the phone, repeat your introduction and clarify your interest. One way to say this would be:

Example: Hello, Mr. Jones, my name is Sarah Smith and I'm a junior media communications major at Saint Mary's University. I'm inquiring about an internship in the communications department. Are you still looking for interns this semester/summer?

If Mr. Jones is not the appropriate person to speak with, he will most likely forward you to the correct individual. Make sure you ask this individual if he/she would like you submit a resume or would like you to come in for an interview. Somewhere during the conversation, you should mention whether you would like to do the internship for credit or not for credit. This may be important information for some companies. Also, be prepared to talk about the time frame in which you would like to do your internship (i.e. spring semester, summer), if you want to do a full-time or part-time internship, how many hours you will be able to work each week, and other specific information they may need to know before they can determine if you are a potential candidate for an internship position.

If the contact person would like more information about the internship program at Saint Mary's University, let us know. We can send out information to them or call them if they have specific questions.

Good luck with your search!