Internship Recommendation Letter

A letter of recommendation for an internship, which is also called a letter of reference, is a written and signed document in a prescribed form providing an evaluation of an individual’s performance, partnership, leadership, qualities and skills, and related experience.

A letter of recommendation for an internship is usually written and sent by someone a person has worked with, studied with, or supervised by. These letters may significantly contribute to a person’s resume and improve the overall impression of their future professional image, relevant skills, and abilities. If you have the chance to get such a letter, take advantage of it. To learn more about letters of recommendation, check our full article:

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When And Why You May Need A Letter Of Recommendation For An Intern

Basically, internship reference letters are required when the person is taking the first steps to apply for an internship, mostly without a fee, which is simpler to get compared to a full job position. However, if we’re talking about a top-rated position in an international organization, a detailed letter of recommendation is required since it will increase competitiveness and provide proof that the candidate has both the desired knowledge and practical skills to handle daily chores in a particular position. Once this letter is complete and signed, it is passed on to an organization, increasing the applicant’s chances of being hired as an intern.

Such a letter is most often confused with the so-called professional letter of recommendation. Both these letters can be instrumental in helping a job applicant secure the desired post. Nevertheless, there are some differences. A professional letter of recommendation has a more detailed and complex structure and is usually written by an employer in support of an employee looking for further job opportunities and already owns a professional background. On the contrary, an internship reference letter confirms the candidate’s general skills and knowledge, the related study, or first work experience. Thus, before preparing or asking for a reference letter for interns, notify the person writing the letter whether their reference is connected to a specific job opening or a general internship reference helping in seeking future employment opportunities. Below is the core structure of such a letter, its peculiarities, and some handy advice to those who require it.

Who to Choose As a Recommender?

The perfect referee candidate who should be chosen as the writer of a recommendation letter is either an employer or a former professor who has had enough time to know you personally and professionally. They should be able to provide some details about your personality, work attitude, mindset, and so on. Sometimes the interns tend to select as a referee a person they hardly know though owing a specific and more prestigious title to get a recommendation from. On the contrary, it is more effective to choose a person who knows you as a person and can describe your assets and strong points to the future employer, making you the right fit for their organization.

Compulsory Content In Internship Reference Letters

Basic points

The most crucial thing to mention in a letter of recommendation for an internship and a professional letter of recommendation is the applicant’s professional capacities, competencies, and strengths. It is also important to disclose how they were revealed and how long the referee has professionally known the applicant. It may provide some details on the intern’s past duties, if there were any, and it is even better if it focuses on their talents, personal skills, and abilities. For an efficient letter of recommendation, the referee should highlight the candidate positively and strengthen the arguments with several examples illustrating how the candidate’s core characteristics proved themselves in practice. It is essential to stay on topic and avoid too much irrelevant or personal information. It is also unwise to overdo it with praise.

What to Include In A Letter Of Recommendation For Interns

  • Title (such as A Letter Of Recommendation / Internship Reference, and so on)
  • The referee’s full name either at the end of the letter in the signature or the top-left corner. The referee should add their details and address to the recipient of the letter. If the name is known, state it. If it is not, the phrase “to whom it may concern” will help.
  • The applicant’s name. Such a latter would be incomplete without the candidate’s full name.
  • Characteristics, duties, and abilities of the internship candidate. If the candidate has already had any work experience, their professional description should outline their responsibilities, functions, and related characteristics. If the candidate has only study experience, their background, abilities, and knowledge should be included and emphasized.
  • Personal traits and capacities. To make the letter more personal and individualized, some characteristics implicitly related to the intern’s personal and professional interests, skills useful for a position should be highlighted as well.
  • The signature or full name. Once the referee has described the candidate, it is essential to sign the form and write down their full name.
  • Contact details. As a referee, you should provide the organization with several contact options, such as the phone number, email address, social media profile (optional), company’s or university’s title, and related details.
  • The date when the letter is written and signed. It is compulsory to state the actual date on the form.

In their turn, the internship candidate must check a received letter from the beginning to the end to make sure each point is covered and there are no mistakes are. Below are a couple of samples and concise guidelines on how to create a decent internship reference letter.

Writing A Letter Of Recommendation For An Internship

We have outlined the core required data to include in any internship reference letter. Follow our guidelines or switch over to two basic samples provided below.

1. Introduction (heading, address, introducing the candidate)

Start your letter with a proper title written in bold so that the recipient gets the notion of the document’s intention. State the name of the person you are addressing or add “To whom it may concern” if it is unclear.

Briefly introduce yourself, your position, and state the name of the candidate you recommend. You can concisely indicate your professional connection to the candidate and how long you have known them.

2. Main Part

Proceed to describe your candidate and their positive features related to previous study or work experience. It is essential to maintain a balance between being sincere, just, and objective. If you were a job supervisor, providing some examples of hard work, time management skills, or problem-solving capabilities is more than welcome.

If you are the applicant’s professor or mentor in high school, university, or college, showcase their academic achievements, leadership features, and scientific interests. Besides, mentioning the not-strictly-related qualities and manners such as politeness, tidiness, sheer punctuality, open-mindfulness, and deep interest in extra-curricular activities may significantly contribute to the overall impression toward the candidate. This part may vary depending on the amount of experience the candidate has and their background. The only necessity here is to be truthful and provide a versatile outlook on the person—this way, the recipient will have a consistent notion of their abilities and interests and sketch the full candidate’s profile in mind.

3. Conclusion (signature, contact details)

A referee has to show the willingness to contact the company or organization about the intern and answer further questions if there are any. Make sure this is clear in your letter. Remember to specify your contact details by writing your full name under the main body of the letter and providing your email, contact phone, company’s address or university/college details, your profile in a preferred social network (optional), and so on.

Dos and Don’ts to Keep in Mind

Before introducing a couple of reference letter samples, it is essential to bear in mind several helpful hints and tips meant for referees when creating your own reference letter.

Things to Do

  • Keep the optimal size. The size of the internship reference letter is about one page or even a half-page (with the more rare maximum of 1,5 pages). This is more than enough to provide a thorough review of the chosen candidate. Cut down on the general phrases and platitudes to make your letter concise.
  • Attention to facts and details. Once you’ve sketched the reference letter draft, do not forget to carefully check out all the meticulous details such as the address, date, surname, and more, apart from the style and orthography. Consult our list for the crucial points to mention in the letter.
  • Welcome feedback and provide enough contact details. It should be clear from your tone that you were not forced to write down the letter and would gladly accept further questions about your candidate and will readily provide any additional feedback if needed.

What to avoid

  • Overly praise or critique the candidate. If, as a referee, you agreed to write a reference letter, it means you relate well with the candidate. Therefore, you should neither praise the applicant too much for inexisting qualities nor to over-criticize them. However, along with a generally positive outlook—which is by definition the main content of any reference letter—you can mention the lack of punctuality or any distracting attitude if there were such blatant precedents in your past experiences with the applicant if you cannot keep silent about them.
  • Write the letter if you do not want to. If your relationships with the applicant leave much to be desired or you do not even remember their name, it is advisable to turn down the request instead of providing a far-fetched reference.

Internship Recommendation Letter: Samples

Here are the two basic templates of reference letters for interns to draw on when creating their own. The first one applies to a situation when an intern is recommended by a university supervisor or professor, while the second is based on a previous employer’s recommendation. You are welcome to change and adapt these samples according to your needs and preferences. Hopefully, the templates will help dispel the typical confusion and doubts about writing reference letters for an internship.

Sample 1.  Letter of recommendation for an intern from the professor.


From ________________



(Write your name and address here)

Date:  ___________________, 20___

(Write the current date here)



Reference Letter For An Internship

Dear (_______________) /  To whom this may concern,

I am very pleased to write this letter of reference on behalf of ___________for the purpose of his/her internship in your company. He/She has been my student for the past years and I know that he/she is capable of providing outstanding results.

This student is also remarkably and undeniably amazing when it comes to working under pressure. The major purpose of this letter is for the candidate to experience the real world of __________industry. He/she possess the skills of _____________________________________ (mention skills/capabilities)__________as well as diverse academic interests, such as_______..

I will gladly answer all further questions about _________________ (the candidate’s name here). Use my contact details below to _____________.

I hope that you will consider this recommendation letter and think through the candidacy of ______________for this internship.

Thanking you.

Yours’ Sincerely,

_______________ (your signature or full name)

E-mail: _______________

Phone number: _____________.

Other contact details (optional)________.


Sample 2. Letter of recommendation for an intern from a company.


From ________________



(Write your name, position, and company’s address/details)


___________________, 20___

(Write the date of signing here)



Letter of recommendation for an internship

Dear (_______________) / To whom it may concern,

I highly recommend _______ as a candidate for an internship at ______. _______ was employed by _______(name the company / organization you represent) as an_____ (name the position) from 20XX to 20XX____ (specify the term). _______ was responsible for____ (state the main responsibilities), including __________ (indicate other duties and tasks).

_____has excellent skills in ____ (name the skills you think are the candidate’s assets) in addition to______ (specify other capacities and strong points related to the previous job experience and suitable for the particular intern position; give several examples).

______would be a tremendous asset to your company and has my highest recommendation. If you have any further questions with regard to his/her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me. I leave my contacts below.


_______________ (your signature or full name here)

E-mail: _______________

Phone number: _____________

Other contact details (optional):________________.

For Interns: How To Politely Ask A Professor Or An Employer To Write The Letter?

If you relate well with your supervisor, professor, or employer, asking for a reference should not be a problem for you. This is a common and widespread thing that may significantly boost your career prospects along the way, so a modest request for a reference letter would not hurt your supervisor’s feelings anyhow. Here are some key aspects to consider before requesting such a letter.

  • Think of all your professors/employers during the past years before choosing one

If they are too many, it is reasonable to make a list of persons and consistently cross out the less relevant candidates. The pivotal point here is the good relationships and positive impressions between you and your professor or employer. Sort out who you had the greatest experience dealing with and those who made good impressions about you.

  • Write a letter to your referee

Writing an email is a more convenient way than calling the person directly or leaving them messages on social networks. Text messages are generally more preferable than answering direct calls when it comes to reference letters. After you writing and sending the letter, you have to wait for several workdays before getting the reply—the weekends apparently do not count.

You can still call this person if you hear no reply for a week or more and are indeed in warm and close relationships with them.

  • State the deadline for a letter in advance

Do not worry if you have not heard from your referee for a couple of days. Make sure you send your request at least a week before the deadline so that you do not have to panic if the deadline is approaching and no reference is forthcoming. By sending your request in advance, you show your respect for their preoccupations and schedules. It is reasonable to specify the date when you need the reference letter and give at least four workdays for the referee to write the letter.

  • Be polite and not too pushy

Apparently, your tone should not be too imposing—keep the friendly and polite style when writing a request letter, and do not make your employer or supervisor feel like they are forced to provide the reference letter.

  • Choose another referee if they keep silent or turn down the request

If you cannot get any response for an extended period or the person refuses to help you, do not take it personally or concern for too long. This person could be on vacation or just too busy with their assignments, so consider other candidates.

Published: Jul 17, 2022