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Careers Counsel: 8 tips to win you internships

Careers Counsel advice colum
Careers Counsel advice colum

Three life lessons and the top eight tips to help you bag those law firm and advocate internships.

Lesson 1: Early bird gets the worm

We read this in LKG. Sadly we didn't take the lesson on board. Apply for your internship as soon as possible. If you apply two months before your intended period of internship, your chances of securing an internship double vis-a-vis if you had applied a month before.

The bird who sleeps is the bird who weeps. People come 3 weeks before their internship periods and ask to fix their internships. I try. I fail eight times out of ten.

# 1 Do this: When your vacations end, check the college calendar and jot down the next vacation (internship) period. As soon as one vacation ends, apply for the internship for the next vacation.

For lawyers like KTS Tulsi I know people who apply one year prior to their intended internship period. They get the internship with the legend.

# 2 Do this: Some of the recruiters might specify this: Please apply XYZ months/weeks before your intended period of internship. Respect their internship policy.

Lesson 2: First impression is the last impression

Do you remember how your mom made your dress for the friend's birthday party? She wanted to make you look good.

Look good when you apply for the internship. And since, you'll probably be emailing your internship application, you have to look good on the email.

# 3 Do this: Subject of the email: Mention the purpose: internship application. Mention the time period. Mention the office (the city).

For example: Internship application: May 15- June 15 2010: Delhi office

# 4 Do this: The body of the email: Do not send cover letters as attachments. People won't read them. The body of the email should be your cover letter.

Caveat: Some organisations might specifically ask for 300-600 word cover letters. Then it makes perfect sense to send them as attachments.

# 5 Do this: Attach the CV: Your CV should be neat, not flashy. Make sure there aren't too many boxes or such frills. Keep it to the point and in bullets. And if you forget to attach your CV, only god can save you. “I will be honoured to intern at a reputed law firm like yours”. Really? Then why did you forget to attach the CV?

# 6 Do this: Make a good email account. Look professional. is good. is not.



Lesson 3: Seek, and you shall receive

When you have sent your application, wait for a couple of days for the recruiter to reply. If they do not reply, send them the email again telling them that you had sent your application two days ago and that you would like to know the application's status.

Wait for two days again. If they still don't reply, call them on phone. If they seem interested keep reminding them via calls and emails.

[One word of caution: Coincidentally I was sitting in the office of a lawyer earlier yesterday who after having received the second call from a potential and eager intern during our meeting, told me that he sometimes found it hard to be courteous after the 15th such phone call per day. So please do exercise caution and common sense when using repeated phone and email reminders. –Kian]

# 7 Do this: if you don't get a verdict soon, better try other options. Seek, but not for too long.

# 8 Do this: Save the phone numbers of the organisations where you have applied on your mobile phone. When you get their call you will not be caught off guard.

Best of luck with your internship!

Tanuj Kalia is the Intern Smith, which is the legal internship consultancy arm of the new Indian student career advice website Lawctopus. He can be contacted at

Read previous Careers Counsel columns on Legally India for more advice on getting and staying in a career in the law, such as how to write a good law firm CV with an included template resume.

If you have a specific question you would like answered, please send us an anonymous query.

Photo by Scarleth White

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