Applying to summer internship, no experience - what to write?


Hello everyone,

I am applying to a summer internship at one of the hospitals in my area and they ask, "Why should we pick you?"

There are a lot of people applying for this - people who work as CNAs or EMTs, internal applicants and what not.

Well I don't have any of that - no experience outside clinical, I'm an average student but this experience would be invaluable to me. So I really don't know what to say to convince them why they should pick me. I know I'd do a good job and I would highly benefit from the experience. What can I say?

Any advice?


jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

Of course the internship would be great for you. It would be great for just about any student. And of course you're a motivated, dedicated worker and student... but so are many other applicants are as well.

You're in a tough situation. A nursing student and new grad with minimal nursing background is at a real disadvantage. Heck, even those *with* experience are facing tough competition for a few coveted spots in internships and as new grads.

You definitely want to present yourself in the best light possible but if they give preference to students with experience, there's no way you can fake it. On the other hand, maybe they don't give preference to experience. Play up all that you truly do have to offer (such as non-health care experiences) in addition to your student performance and it may turn out you're just what they are looking for!

If you don't get the internship, then see if there is anything else you can do to increase your experience, build your skills, confidence and professional connctions. Part-time work as a nursing assistant, unit manager, telemetry monitor, etc... Volunteering in a clinical environment... Active participation in a professional nursing organization (won't get you clinical skills but may employers do want nurses who will get involved in committees and the like).

Nursing school goes by so fast there just isn't much time or opportunity to get additional experience that is valuable in a competitive job/internship environment. Try to find out what opportunities may be available to you as a student, even if they're not your first choice. Best wishes!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

The whole purpose of an internship is to provide experience - so applicants are not generally required to have any.

Rather than focusing on your nonexistent experience, emphasize the value that you would bring to the program & your goals for participation. Talk about your love of learning, dedication to nursing & commitment to your chosen career. Be very clear about what you expect to gain from the experience - 'greater understanding of the practice of nursing', 'opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate with other clinical disciplines', etc. Use very deliberate phrases to make sure they know what 'makes you tick'. Phrases that begin with "I believe..." are great ways to voice your own philosophy.

Make sure your written communications are absolutely error proof and articulate. Trust me, this alone will set you apart from the crowd - LOL.