Get Tory Johnson's Template for Writing an Externship Letter

The workplace contributor offers details on perfecting your letter.

ByABC News via logo
July 27, 2009, 4:25 PM

July 28, 2009 — -- Externship template. Here's a general template for an externship proposal, which is from my new book, "Fired to Hired: Bouncing Back From Job Loss to Get to Work Right Now." Customize it as necessary based on your goals and interests.

Date: [Today's date]
To: [Prospective employer]
From: [You]

I respectfully request your consideration to create an externship opportunity for me to contribute to the [department] at [employer]. You'd benefit from three months [specify your desired length of service] of my service at no cost and no obligation to you, and in return I'd gain valuable hands-on experience, which would aid my professional development.

Please think of an externship similar to a traditional internship, except instead of accepting a college student, you'd be agreeing to take on an experienced professional. [Share key highlights of your background.]

In addition to a great degree of enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence, I'd bring you [name the specific knowledge, skills and abilities you possess], which I am confident would benefit your organization. But to be candid, I know I stand to gain the most from this arrangement, which is in keeping with the long-term benefits all interns and externs seek to take away from similar assignments.

I've taken the liberty to propose suggested terms and conditions of such an opportunity for your review. This is just a starting point and I'm open to discussing changes in these terms to serve both of our needs and interests.

I agree that during this time I will not be an employee of [company], and my externship activities are subject to termination at any time for any reason. Further, I also agree that I am not entitled to compensation during the externship, nor am I entitled to a job at the conclusion of the externship. [If you'd like to propose a stipend to cover travel and lunch expenses, for example, this is the place to do it.] The purpose of this externship training is equivalent to the work experience for a vocational school or professional degree program and is merely an adjunct to such studies. [The purpose of this statement is to make it clear that you're not technically working for free, which can be challenged by law. Instead, you're receiving valuable training and experience for your sole benefit in lieu of a salary.]

I'd bring you my skills and determination and I know I'd walk away with great insights and experience from my time with your organization. I'd be happy to discuss this in depth at your convenience. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire, the Workplace Contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America" and the author of "Fired to Hired". Talk to her on Twitter at