So, you’ve received that phone call offering you an internship. Maybe you went for an interview that was so successful, you received the offer immediately afterward.
Unless you’ve pretty much made up your mind that this is the internship you want, take some time to think about it. Don’t accept right off the bat, without weighing all your options and the speaking with your Internship Advisor.
Whether it’s a paid or unpaid internship, don’t go for the first one that comes your way. Instead, before you accept, make sure it’s going to be worth your while. Once you accept an internship, you’re committed to it. You will have to decline all other offers and interviews.
Here is some advice on how to accept an offer after making sure it’s the right one for you.
Ask for a Little Time
Many candidates feel pressured to respond immediately. You don’t need to do that.
You won’t jeopardize the offer if you ask for a little time to decide. It’s usual for candidates to apply for more than one internship and make the most appropriate choice. So, you may want to wait for results on some of the other internships you’ve applied to.
It’s absolutely acceptable to request some time to come to a decision. Of course, you need to make sure that your request is reasonable. Don’t ask for a week or more, as that could make it look like you’re indecisive. A period of three business days from the time of receiving the offer is reasonable.
Don’t forget that while you’re asking for some time, you want to make sure that those who are offering you the internship know that you’re interested. If you don’t express your interest, it may seem as if you’re just unable to muster enough grace to make a rejection professionally, and are stalling instead. That’s the last impression you want to take on anyone in the industry. It’s a small world, and you never know when you’ll cross paths with the HR manager you kept hanging.
Here’s an example of what your (emailed) request for time to decide could look like.
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am very excited to receive the offer to intern with APC, LLC. I enjoyed speaking with you and learning about your organization. Would it be possible for me to get back to you with my decision? I’d greatly appreciate some time to evaluate the offer.
Could I give you an answer by Tuesday?
Consider if it’s the Right Internship for You
Let’s take a brief look at the things you need to look for in your internship.
The first thing you need to think about is if it’s going to add value to your resume or career path. Is it going to make you stand out from your peers? What skill sets and experience are you likely to be able to take away from the internship? Would it help you at the next career fair?
Internships offer great opportunities to find out exactly what kind of a career you want. Will the internship give you hands-on experience in an area of your industry that you hope to pursue in the future? As long as the internship will really help you get close with an industry you’re interested in, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about whether or not to keep working there after graduation.
You may also want to think about the mentors you’ll have. Are they the people you admire and hope to learn a lot from? Also, will the internship give you a chance to explore a new city you’ve always wanted to explore? Will it give you the chance to work on projects that matter?
These are some of the factors that will affect your decision.
How to Accept an Offer?
When you’ve made up your mind to accept the offer, write an email that starts with your statement of acceptance. Your email should also convey how enthusiastic you are to begin the internship. You may want to mention why you’re accepting the internship and your awareness of any expectations from the organization.
Go on and mention your start date again. Check out the company website or your offer if you need any kind of confirmation about dates.
Here’s an example of a letter accepting an internship. Your letter should be polite and professional, as always.
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am writing this email to accept with great enthusiasm, the internship offer I received at your firm this morning. I look forward to being a part of your highly efficient team and I’m confident that I’ll be able to make a positive contribution to the WMX company goals.
I look forward to starting the position on January 1. I have no confusions with the terms and conditions. I will be sending you a signed copy of the contract attached to this email. If you need to reach me in the meantime, please feel free to call or email me.
Once again, thank you for this opportunity.
The Bottom Line
There are many reasons to ask for a little time to decide if an internship is right for you. You may want to find out whether the employer can provide lunch stipend to cover some of your expenses, etc. If you need to take some time off towards the start of the internship, you will also want to inform them about it at this early stage.
In the end, you need to make the best decision for you. Negotiate and consider your options, as needed. Only after you’ve carefully made a choice should you contact the company.
Make sure to be courteous when accepting the offer. You can make a call and then follow it up with an email confirming the date.
If you decide to decline the offer, it will be polite to let the company know soon, so they can look for alternative candidates. Always make sure to speak to your Internship Advisor before coming to a decision either way.