Aussie Dopers, please help my niece with her application letter for an internship in Sydney

My favourite niece (we’re both Dutch) studies marketing, and would love to do her internship in Sydney. She asked me if “my Internet friends” could help with her application letter for an internship. The wording in the letter probably has a heavy Dutch accent, and I really need some native speaker help to correct that. Also, I’m asking on her behalf if anyone would know how she’d go about getting an internship in marketing in a Sydney company. Her dream internship would be with some company or organization in media (newspaper, magazine, radio/tv, internet). She’s good with googling, so any pointers would be hugely appreciated and she will find her way from there.

Below is her letter, anonimized.

Thanks much in advance!

April 6, 2011

Dear Sir, Madam,

I’m writing this letter because I’m looking for an interesting and challenging internship abroad. My name is <name>, I’m a <age> year old girl from Maastricht.

Currently I am studying at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, department of Media, Marketing and Communication. In the second year I’ve chosen the profile of Media, Marketing and Publishing which brings you a lot of (online) marketing knowledge. I will hopefully graduate next year. This study is a four-year vocational training preparing me for various jobs in the media and marketing industry. Last February, I started with the minor Online Management. During this minor I’ll get specialized in website optimalisation, learn how to help companies recieve their online goals and set up an online marketing strategie.

I’ve completed a traineeship at the Maastricht Convention Bureau, a foundation of several organisations in Maastricht and surrounding area which provide their services to planners of meetings, incentives, conventions and events. I worked here as a marketing manager and wrote a strategic online marketing advisory. Working there taught me how to plan your work and how to and clearly communicate with colleagues. I enjoyed it very much. I also learned how to work independently and runned the company for one week alone because everyone had a week off, which was very educational.

Between September 1 (2011) and Januari 31 (2012) I’ve to do my internship, which will last at least 20 weeks. During my traineeship I would like to work at a media company, on the marketing department. Here I would like to apply the knowledge I’ve gained in recent years.

I would love to work in Sydney for half year. I haven’t been there yet so it would be a whole new experience. I’m ready for a new adventure and whit my ambitious, motivated and flexible attitude, I think I can make a positive contribution to your organization.

I would like to have the opportunity to discuss my application with you and for further details I refer you to my enclosed resume. I look forward to hear from you.

Yours faithfully



Enclosure: resume

The first mistake she’s making is in the correct form of address.

"Dear convicts,

<Text of letter>

P.S. Sorry about the Ashes ha ha ha."

Is the formal way to commence a letter to an Australian institution. I’m sure our Aussie peers will be along to add to that.

“Dear convicts”?

Please, it’s “Attn: Convicts”

Thank you.

penultima thule pm’ed me that he/she would send me a draft later, so thanks in advance!

Does her University have a “Sister” university in New South Wales? If so, it might be worth contacting someone there to get help with connections.

Interning isn’t hugely common over here, but there is at least one organisation that appears to offer assistance setting them up

Has she got a working Visa already? Because if she’s coming over here to work for more than 3 months with any particular employer, the employer will have to spring for her working visa - and THEY have to prove why they’re offering the job to an overseas occupant, and that there’s no australian workers who could fill the role. For that reason employers are often not willing to offer something like an internship to someone who approaches them directly.

Her best option is going to be doing something like contacting an Intership services provider like I’ve linked above, or to contact someone like the Australian National University to find out about their internship programme

Thanks Sierra Indigo, that’s very useful information. I’m not quite sure if I am using the correct word: an intern is an employee who doesn’t get paid, and does the work for free, but in return (s)he gets to learn and gets some supervison on the job, right?

The Australian political action group GetUp is largely staffed by volunteers. They have done some particularly clever things in the media to make their points. They profess to be aligned with no political party.

Dear Sir or Madam,

*She needs to find out a name. *

I am seeking an

*Are age and sex relevant? And she’s a student, not a girl. Might be worth specifying that Maastricht is in the Netherlands. *

I am in my second year of my degree in X at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam. I’m specialising in Media, Marketing, and Publishing.

It’s very presumptious to say it will bring them any marketing knowledge

I will graduate in 2012.

X is a four year vocational degree preparing students for work in media and marketing.

In February last Feb could be taken to mean Feb 2010, I started Online Management to specialise in website optimisation, learn how to help companies achieve their online goals and about online marketing strategies.

In the summer (?) of 20XX, I was a trainee at the Maastricht Convention Bureau,

a foundation set up by / group of (delete as appropriate) several organisations in Maastricht and the surrounding area.

Is it a EU organisation or a local one?

What services? She needs to say something like, “The MCB does X, Y, and Z.”

Really? A manager? As a trainee?

What is this? Sounds like bullshit. Is it her only piece of work there? Her only achievement?

I gained experience in planning work, working independently, and communicating effectively.

Was she actually legally responsible? And now it’s a company, not a foundation?

I ran the company for a week when everyone else was absent.

Not really sure about that. Did she do anything other than answer the telephone?

I am seeking an internship of at least 20 weeks between September 1st 2011 and January 31st 2012.

Hmmm… that’s pretty much 20 weeks itself.

I would like to work in the marketing department of a media company where I can gain practical experience in applying the knowledge I’ve gained.

I would love to work in Sydney.

She doesn’t need the half year as she’s specified the dates earlier.

Working in Sydney will be a whole new experience.

Why Sydney specifically?

She’s going to be there to work, not gallivant around.

My motivated and flexible attitude will be a positive contribution to your organisation. how?

This is better at the very end.

I would like to discuss my application with you and attach my C.V. or resumé - she needs to check which for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

‘Yours sincerely’ when she’s addressing someone by name.

Generally, she’s said nothing about the organisation to which she’s applying. This could be a form letter she’s spammed to umpteen places. Why is she applying to this one. What exactly attracted her?

Hope this helps.

That’s correct, yes. We’ve also got very strict industrial relations laws over here as well (I work for a government department that deals with the enforcement of those laws), and there are very strict rules in place regarding Internships/ Student work experience vs. Unpaid or Trial Work. The latter is illegal, so employers are very leery about the former - especially large corporations - as being on the wrong side of the IR laws can net them very hefty fines (Of course that doesn’t stop some of them trying to get away with it, but that’s a whole 'nother thread)

I’ll give Quartz’s post a very big +1. All very good comments and suggestions to improve the letter.

As some other posters have said, your Niece is going to need lots of luck to get something. I’ve been working in banking and finance for 18 years, and I’ve never seen or even heard of an intern in any business I’ve worked in or dealt with.
As a related aside,
The whole idea of internships has always confused me. In my current position I have responsabilities to train a lot of our Graduate recruits, and the best and brightest they might be :dubious: [Do not get me started on Gen Y], but it still easily takes 2-3 months before they are a net benefit to my team, in the sense of contributing more resources than time they take from me in training and mentoring them. Why spend that time and energy on someone who is going leave after six months?


This “Gen Y” says bite my shiny, metal ass.

Native English speaking American here. Age and sex are not relevant in such a letter. As long as she fulfills the minimum qualifications in that regard (e.g. if candidates need be 18 or older), it is irrelevant, and at least in the US, can lead to allegations of discrimination if that information is tracked for applicants.

I don’t know how old your niece is, but using “girl” to describe someone over the age of majority (adulthood) in this manner is informal and has no place in job applications.

I also agree that specifying the Netherlands is a good idea. Dutch people have a reputation in the US for being reasonably competent in English, so that’s a plus.

One other thing I will add - there are lots and lots of foreign students here in Australia. Apparently it is one of the easier ways to get a visa. Those students are allowed to work 20 hrs per week on top of their school work.

So it might be worth exploring whether your niece would be interested in studying and working in the appropriate field. It would probably look good on a CV and if she falls in love with Sydney she can potentially transition that into a longer-term visa and stick around for awhile!

Another very useful suggestion I got by PM (and I’m posting it here so my niece can find it all in one place)

… just wanting to suggest that your niece use British, rather than American spelling in her application. Aussie’s HATE all those 'z’s everywhere…

Thanks all, you guys are the best! I’ve forwarded this thread to my niece.