Internships are a great way to increase your experience in a specific field. Not only that, but they allow you to determine whether or not a career path is right for you. During an internship, you’ll gain hands-on experience, work alongside mentors in your field, and learn what it takes to work in a specific work environment.
When applying for an internship, part of the process often includes submitting a cover letter along with your resume. Professionally written cover letters for internships will help you stand out from other applicants. Often, however, when applying for internships, most people won’t have much experience writing cover letters or other professional documents, which can make the process a bit overwhelming.
This guide will explain what to include in your cover letter, as well as examples and writing tips to help you create a compelling introduction.
What is a cover letter for an internship?
When writing a cover letter, think of it as your first introduction to a potential hiring manager. It’s the first impression a company has of you. For this reason, it is important to spend enough time writing a professional letter.
Additionally, a cover letter helps a hiring manager understand why you might be a good fit for their internship. When scouting for potential interns, managers will use cover letters to quickly weed out candidates they think are not qualified or a good fit for the job.
What should you include in an internship cover letter?
Although your cover letter is personalized to your specific situation, there are a few basic things you should include in your letter. Use the following to help describe the required information:
- Contact Information: At the top of your letter, include your contact information and the employer’s contact information. Add the date between your contact information and that of the employer. However, if you are emailing your letter, you will move your contact information to the bottom of the letter under your signature and leave the employer’s contact information. In this case, always include a relevant subject line containing your name and the position you are applying for.
- Relevant experience: Much of the body of your letter will focus on the experience you have that will make you a good candidate for the internship. This can be professional or academic experience. The goal is to match your letter to the list of internships. For example, if they’re asking for someone with research experience, include a portion of your letter that highlights how you’ve successfully completed research projects in the past.
- Extracurricular Activities: Often when you apply for an internship, you do so while you’re still in college or after recently graduating. If you have been involved in volunteer activities, clubs or teams, this information may be useful to include if relevant to the role. For example, if you are applying for an internship for a digital magazine, it would be helpful to include information about your volunteer work for the student newspaper.
- Professional greeting and closing: Always begin and end your letter with a professional greeting and closing. Examples include Dear, Sincerely, and Thank you.
Examples of internship cover letters
With the basics of your cover letter in place, it’s time to write a professional cover letter. Use the following examples to guide you through the process:
Example 1: Sending by e-mail
In many cases, you will send your cover letter by email. When writing an email, your format will remain formal. But it will take on a different presentation than traditional business correspondence.
Use the following example to write an internship cover letter by email.
Subject: Rayne Warble – Communications Intern Position
Dear Ms. Stanburg:
Recently I saw your ad on the Wayside University job board advertising a communications internship at OpsSolutions Inc.
As a communications major, I successfully completed upper division courses in interpersonal communications, organizational communications, and strategic management of organizational change.
My courses included on-site internships with Weatherford Mills, where I worked alongside the VP of Marketing to design an internal communications strategy for a digital transformation initiative. This process involved analyzing their current communications strategy, designing a content calendar for communications, and analyzing our campaign results. I am also proficient in the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe Creative Cloud and Google Analytics.
I have been impressed with the quality of OpsSolutions Inc’s commitment to our local community. I recently attended one of your team’s sustainability sessions and am excited about the opportunities that would be available to me as your next communications intern. I have attached my resume to this email and would like to arrange a time to further discuss this opportunity.
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Example 2: Sending by mail
If you plan to apply for an internship by correspondence, you will need to follow the standard business letter format. Here is another example of what your internship cover letter might look like:
Fort Collins, CO 80538
March 17, 2022
Internal Training Director
214 Path of Innovation
Denver, Colorado 80432
Dear Mr. Frenick:
I am contacting you to submit my application for your training specialist internship at Hiland Corp. My background and experience in assisting with corporate training programs would make me an ideal candidate for this role.
Currently, I am a senior pursuing a Masters in Organizational Development. I have successfully completed courses in organizational behavior, leadership concepts and practices, and organizational change management.
Also, last summer I worked as a training analyst intern at Reinway. During this internship, I helped set up employee training around the use of Reinway’s newly unveiled digital products. Throughout this process, I learned how to design a training program and analyze the success of employees who have completed the training.
I believe I would be an excellent candidate for your internship, bringing my current experience and knowledge to the position. I also look forward to the incredible amount of opportunities this position would provide me.
I will follow up next week to schedule an appointment for an interview. Thank you for your attention and do not hesitate to contact us for any further questions.
Tips for creating a professional internship cover letter
Writing a cover letter is all about showcasing your best experience and skills. However, when you take the time to polish that letter, you can help your cover letter stand out from other job applications. Use the following additional tips for creating a professional letter:
- Proofread: Always run your cover letter through a grammar and spelling checker. Additionally, you may want a professor or mentor to read your cover letter to double-check it for errors and readability.
- Personalize: Take the time to write an individual cover letter for each internship application. Personalize the letter by highlighting the key information you have taken from the list of internships. This will help show that you pay attention to detail and are serious about wanting the role.
- Provide examples: Rather than simply stating that you are good at handling a specific type of work, provide concrete examples of how you have done it in the past. This is where you need to leverage your experience, both professionally and academically.
- Persist: Landing an internship can take time. The first application you submit may not be the position you get. Be sure to apply to multiple opportunities, keeping an open mind about the different potential positions.