How to Write a Cover Letter for Internships

Are you interested in taking on an internship while you are in college? If so, you can’t just walk in and expect to get the job. You need to apply like you would for any paying job, which means that not only do you need to submit a resume, you also need to submit an awesome cover letter. This is what is going to get you noticed, and maybe get your foot in the door.

What is a Cover Letter?

A lot of people really dislike writing cover letters, and they have no idea how to write a good cover letter. To begin with, many people don’t even really know what the purpose is, other than a general introduction. A cover letter lets potential employers (in this case, the person or company offering the internship) know that you really want the job. It is a professional document that shows why you would be the best candidate for the internship.

Your cover letter should be created for the type of internship you are trying to get into. For instance, if you are looking to intern in the business world, your cover letter should reflect this. Make sure that it includes any related experience you have, including academic and extracurricular. Sometimes, this is all an employer needs to decide that you are the right person for the internship, or at least entice them to read your resume to learn more about you and your qualifications.

There are three main things that employers expect to see on cover letters:

  1. An introduction
  2. Your interest in the company and the position/internship
  3. Your qualifications

Sometimes, cover letters are so good that potential employers don’t even bother with the resume. The candidates get interviews based on their cover letters alone. Strive to make your cover letter this great.

Tips for Creating an Effective Cover Letter for an Internship

  • Use Business Letter Format – Always us the proper business letter format, especially if you are sending the cover letter via mail. Include a salutation, and your signature should be at the bottom.
  • Personalization – Your cover letter should be unique to the type of internship you are applying for. Make sure that it highlights any skills and talents you have that are related to this specific internship. Make the reader think that you are the only possible candidate for this internship. A good cover letter guide will help you do this just right.
  • Give Examples – If you have a certain skill that pertains to the internship, have studied in that area, have work experience in the area, etc., make sure that you highlight this on your cover letter. Give examples from past work, your studies, and extracurricular activities that are relevant.
  • Focus on Academic Experience – If your studies are related to the internship you are applying for (which is ideal so you have experience after graduation), make sure that your cover letter shows this. This shows that you have skills and knowledge in the area. If you have been particularly successful with projects, include this information to show that you have the skills they need.
  • Talk about Extracurricular Experiences If you have done things outside of school that relate to the internship, mention them in your cover letter. For instance, if the internship involves working with kids, and you have worked as a camp counsellor or have similar experience, this is something you need to highlight so it stands out.
  • Mention a Follow-Up Make sure that your cover letter informs the reader that you will be following up with them at a later date. You can say that you will be calling the office or sending an email, unless of course the internship listing says that you are not to call for a follow-up.
By Jane Hurst
Jane Hurst