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Unsolicited Applications – More than Welcome

Unsolicited applications are an often under-appreciated way to find the right internship. An internal analysis of around 900 internship reports of Potsdam students showed that 40% of the students found their internship by submitting unsolicited applications – more than double as many found theirs through traditional job advertisements. This demonstrates the great importance of unsolicited applications when looking for an internship. 

Even when it comes to the first full-time job after graduation, unsolicited applications can open some doors. The fact is: There are more jobs available than those advertised on job portals. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind so that your application doesn't immediately get returned to you and so that you don't become frustrated.

Tips for Your Unsolicited Application

  • Check your chances: If you know that a company or institution regularly awards internships, you can send your unsolicited application "without warning." In all other cases: Just give them a call! Ask the HR department whether it makes sense to apply in your preferred area right now. Good unsolicited applications are relatively time-consuming, in which case it would be a shame if you made all of that effort for nothing.
  • No mass production! Definitely avoid sending out unsolicited applications in the form of standardized letters using a scattergun approach. For employers, this is namely an extremely bad sample of your work for potential employers and proof that you're not able to conduct careful research. Run of the mill applications seldom contain relevant information.
  • Think first, then write! Use the homepage, testimonials from previous interns and job advertisements for previous positions to be filled in the same area to get an idea about a possible job in your dream company. For an internship: Think about what your learning goals for the internship are, what tasks you'd like to be introduced to and what experience you would bring to it.
  • Research. Unlike a job advertisement, you cannot fall back on a description of the range of duties and the desired skill set. This makes it all the more important to thoroughly research which department and/or working area comes into question for you and what the assignment could look like there. The more specific your ideas are, the more convincing your application will be.
  • Make specific statements. Avoid generalized statements such as "I would like to get initial insights into the publishing business." Instead write specifically where you would like to work (i.e., in editing, in acquiring writers, in sales, etc.). Create a vision of your professional future and outline how the internship will fit in along this pathway. This is particularly important for an unsolicited application because the reader doesn't have a job advertisement at the back of her mind and thus quickly wants to ascertain what your ultimate objective is.

Still unsure whether your application materials are ideal? Use our consulting services and schedule a review of your job application materials! We're looking forward to seeing you!