How (& why ) to follow up on an Internship application

Are you often left wondering that despite doing everything right (starting from extensive research on the company to writing a concise and relevant CV and cover letter), why does your internship application still not elicit a response from the employer? Could it be because you are not doing the next right thing – follow up!

Of the 140 internship applications that Internshala received last month for a web development internship, only 3 students followed up with me on the status of their applications. I was left wondering if the rest of the candidates were not serious enough about this internship or they just did not know the advantages of a well-executed follow up.

With year entering into March, I am sure many of the students must have intensified their internship hunt and may be busy writing to new companies/professors every day. But in this mad rush of applications, do not let go of your previous applications – at least not that easily. You anyway have done 80-90% of the hard work, why leave last 10% to chance?

Why to follow up

1. Let’s accept that recruiters are human beings – they, just like any of us, may be busy with other tasks, may not have checked their emails, may have missed it first time, may not be well, may be travelling or something else – the point is other than “your CV not matching with the requirements”, there could be N reasons why you have not heard back from the employer and hence don’t just assume and write back.

2. A follow up indicates a serious interest in the internship and makes you stand out from 100s of other similar profile candidates who have NOT followed up. It gives the recruiter comfort that your first email was not part of a “mass emailing” attempt. We all have done mass emailing at some point or other – how many times did we follow up? There lies your answer.

3. It is an opportunity for you to start another conversation with the employer, maybe you found some more info about the project since your first email, maybe you upgraded your skills, or received a relevant award or certificate that you would like recruiters to know – a follow up is an excellent chance to build on the conversation.

How to follow up

Now that you know there are pretty good reasons for follow up, comes the tricky part – how to follow up? Here are my thoughts –

1. Allow 2-3 days working days gap between 2 successive communications – too often than that may irritate the recruiter and too much gap may mean that the employer has forgotten all about your first email. Balance the two.

2. Do not write a fresh email for follow up. Use the first email as the trail and top it up with a brief of request again (see example below) – make it easier for the recruiter to establish a reference to an earlier email.

How to write a follow up email

3. Please, please and please – do not use SMS language or make grammatical/spelling mistakes in a professional communication. It is still looked down upon.

4. If a couple of follow up emails also go unanswered then you may consider reaching out through other channels such as phone, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. (do refer to earlier emails) – if that also does not yield a response, I think it’s best to let the internship go.

Admittedly, follow-ups are no guarantee of you getting the internship. It only ensures that you tried your best and left nothing to chance. There would still be people who would not respond and the best way to deal with that is to accept it as part of the process and move on to better opportunities.

Hope this helps. Have something to say, ask, critique or know of an internship opportunity that you would like others to know – post it right away! If you like what you read here, do share with another friend.

If you haven’t already, register on Internshala and apply to some cool internships to kick-start your career.

10 thoughts on “How (& why ) to follow up on an Internship application

  • November 29, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I am final year engineering student from VIT, Vellore. Actually I am interested in Actuarial science and wish to pursue a carrier in it. I want to do my final semester internship with an actuarial firm. The problem is I have not appeared for any actuarial papers yet which gives them an impression that I am not serious about the profession and just want a final semester internship. Can you please suggest me how should I write my addressing mail for internships so that they don’t just delete my mails without even considering to redirect me to the required person ?


    • November 30, 2011 at 7:34 AM

      Difficult one. Explain them what other skills (statistics, programming, MS-Excel, supreme numeracy skills) that you bring to the table and what efforts you have made to know more about actuarial science (are there journals that you are subscribed to?). Also may make sense to register for the papers now and let the companies know about it in your cover letter.

      Hope this helps. Liked Internshala on facebook yet?

      LinkedIn –

  • January 23, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Respected Sir,
    could you please do us a favour?
    I emailed to over 15o profs. and not even a single reply :(
    a follow up should definitely help me…
    plz give another example of a follow-up email to a professor to whom we have applied for a technical research (civil engg in my case).

    this blog is an apotheosis of philantrophy and we really admire ur efforts sir! :)

    • January 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      Thanks Gyandeep,

      There is no set format or template for the follow up. Just top up your previous email with a polite reminder / request for consideration. Thumb rule – if you do not get a reply with in 4-7 days of an email, a follow up is worth trying.

      Hope this helps. Wish you all the best!

      Many thanks
      LinkedIn –
      facebook – Internshala

  • February 4, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Hi Sarvesh.

    It is nice and rewarding to go through your blogs! You are so helpful and prompt in reply!

    Regarding follow up

    Suppose you have applied online in IISC Bangalore summer fellowship 2013. After submission,they automatically generate this message 1st list of selected candidates will be published on 10th March 2013.

    Should you follw up before 10th?
    let me express here that Internshala Edge in writting my CV is excellent. Thanks to you and your team.

    Nilavra Bhattacharya> BESU> 2nd yr CST student.

  • May 6, 2019 at 2:14 PM

    Hi Sir,
    I have applied for an internship for a company. First I contacted them through linkedin and then sent an email.
    After 3 weeks, I got a reply asking my availability period for internship. I replied them instantly. After that, there was no reply.
    I have sent a small follow up email, exaggerating my interest for working to the company. I have not got any reply till now. and it’s been 3 weeks.
    How should I respond now?

  • July 28, 2019 at 9:20 AM

    Hi sir,
    I have applied for the hr internship at the talent corner hr service Pvt Ltd at first my application status was showing as seen but after the employer had contacted me my application went to under review status what does it means

    • July 29, 2019 at 2:42 PM

      Hi Sumodh,

      Thank you for writing in.

      It means that the employer has seen your application and might reach out to you for further steps. However, in the meantime, we would suggest that you apply to other internships to better your chances of landing one. Hope it helps. :)



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