It’s a hard job to get an experienced guide and a good lab. If you want a good opportunity, you must write an appealing email to a professor. This blog will discuss the methodology of writing emails to professors. Undoubtedly, writing an email is very different from writing a WhatsApp message. You need to be very formal and have a polite tone throughout the mail.
Remember that the first impression is the last impression. Your email should leave a powerful impact on the professor. If you have never interacted with the professor, that mail is the only way for them to know about you and your interests. Your request must stand out among several other proposals.
Here are some essential things you should remember while requesting an internship from professors:
1. Do research on professors:
It is a good idea to know a professor’s field of research and interests before you email them. Visit the websites of various institutes and look for what research the professors are involved in. Mark out the professors whose research interests match yours. Explore their websites and read some of their papers and publications. You can later add some references in your emails to increase their interest in you. Interact with professors frequently so that they become familiar with you. Familiar students have higher chances of getting an internship under a particular professor.
2. Be formal:-
With the advent of social media, most communication occurs through informal chats. This makes a habit of using everyday language, even in emails. Many students pour down their emotions while writing emails, which professors usually reject. Never write anything personal (neither yours nor the professor’s). Use “Dear Prof. XX” instead of “Dear Sir”/”Dear Ma’am.” Mention your achievements and skills honestly. Don’t use any emoticons or abbreviations.
3. Focus on Subject:
Your subject is the first thing that professors will see. Always keep the subject informative and crisp to serve the purpose of the mail. Professor will only read mail with a proper subject.
An example is given here: Application for Internship Opportunities at Your Lab.
You should have a purpose for why you want to intern under a particular professor. It is better to add a small ‘story’ or experience from your life that motivated you for that specific field. This may excite them to learn more about you. Also, mention what you expect from that project/internship. Do not copy and paste duplicate emails to every professor; instead, be creative and write a different one every time.
Many times professors just read your email, and if they find anything interesting, then only they will check your CV/resume. So try to include any vital credentials in the email itself. Work on your CV and keep it crisp but informative. Mention every skill, activity, project, achievement, and interest in the CV. Always attach your updated CV along with the mail. Don’t forget to mention the attached CV in the mail.
For example: Attached to this mail is my Resume, and if there is any additional information you would like to know, I would be happy to provide it.
This will make your professor comfortable with your tone in a formal way.
6. Timing of mail:
It is advised not to send emails on holidays or weekends because professors usually don’t check their emails then. And by the following working day, they have a pile of emails, some of which go unnoticed. Also, it is advantageous to email through the institute id. Emails from personal accounts will simply get blocked or deleted as spam without being opened.
7. Length of mail:
Keep your email three to four paragraphs long. Writing extra things and being over-smart will make professors lose interest (if they have any). Writing only 1-2 paragraphs will keep them wondering about you, and they won’t even consider your request. Give a basic introduction in the first paragraph and take two-three paragraphs explaining your proposal and other things mentioned in the above sections. End the mail politely and mention your name, degree, and Institute in the end.
8. Sample E-mails:
Dear Professor Gordan,
My name is Saloni, and I am a 3rd-year Biomedical Engineering student at Harvard. I am writing to express my interest in an internship position. I am interested in bridging the gap between healthcare and technology using the cornucopia of possibilities of Al and hypothesis-driven lab research.
Last summer, I volunteered at the St. Joe’s Medical Center, where I built a hand tremor suppression device using the concepts of mechanical and viscous damping. I wish to contribute to and learn about the microfluidics work in your lab with Al-driven neural network technology. My theoretical knowledge of engineering fluidics and some introductory lab-on-chip research have allowed me to build a strong interest in this field.
I have attached my resume with this email for your reference. I would love to discuss this opportunity more. Please feel free to contact me for any additional information.
Thank you for your time.
Harvard Medical School
If you want to know the full application process of getting an internship, various paid internships in India and abroad, visit our website and check the blogs.
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