The Options

The Hinckley Institute of Politics offers internships in all fields. To view a comprehensive list of opportunities by major, click here. If there are not options for your specific field of interest, the Hinckley Institute of Politics can support you in setting up your own internship.

Your Decision

While researching potential host offices, consider a number of factors: First, which office would be the most prestigious in your field? Second, which office will provide you with the most meaningful tasks? Third, which office will provide you with the most valuable contacts? Finally, do you want to intern in a local, national, or international office?

An internship application should not be something you haphazardly throw together the night before it's due. The students who secure interviews with host offices are the students who meticulously prepare each of the following components:

COVER LETTER

Your cover letter can and should be brief. In no instance should it extend beyond one page in length. Simply identify why you are uniquely suited to intern with the host office and describe why you believe an internship there will benefit both your academic and career pursuits. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you can write succinctly and cohesively. Make sure to proof-read your letter carefully. Nothing will damage your chances of securing an interview faster than grammatical errors. To view a sample letter, click here.

RESUME

Resumes are a key element to securing an interview. Many students make the mistake of generating a resume that is too long. Frankly, unless you were a child prodigy, your resume should only be one page at this point in your life. Follow these guidelines for success:

  • Do use action words to describe your skills.
  • Do include specific academic accomplishments.
  • Do be specific about accomplishments.
  • Do list recent jobs.
  • Do make it well-organized, formal, yet attractive.

WRITING SAMPLE

Your writing sample should be an APA research paper that received strong marks. The topic does not necessarily need to be related to your host office, but it can help to show your expertise in the field.

Make sure the writing demonstrates your ability to write cohesively. It is more important that your writing sample shows your ability to successfully organize your thoughts than flaunts your vocabulary. If you are uncomfortable with your writing, schedule an appointment with the Writing Lab at the Marriott Library by clicking here.

LETTERS OF REC

Letters of recommendation can make a big impact on your appeal to host offices. Request letters from 2-4 teachers, employers, or mentors who are familiar with your work and are likely to extend praise. Make sure you give them at least three weeks notice prior to the application deadline. Also, offer to provide your resume, a writing sample, and other material to help them compose the letter more easily. One week before the deadline, you can send a friendly reminder email. Upon receiving an internship, be sure to send a thank you note for their generous support.

DO'S:

  • Do your homework on the organization ahead of time.
  • Do aim to walk into the office 10 minutes early.
  • Do dress in your nicest business formal.
  • Do offer a firm handshake and eye contact when you introduce yourself.
  • Do have thoughtful responses ready for the standard questions.
  • Do thank him/her for the opportunity to interview.
  • Do ask thoughtful questions.

DONT'S:

  • Do not walk into the office more than 15 minutes early.
  • Do not wear excessively flashy or immodest attire.
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer.
  • Do not monopolize the conversation.
  • Do not use inappropriate language.