A cover letter for an internship is very similar to a cover letter you would use for a job application. However, to write a cover letter for an internship, you’re expected to highlight more of how you and the company would fit well with each other, rather than only the reasons you would be beneficial to the company. Internship opportunities are supposed to teach you a lot about an industry so word your cover letter to focus more on how the intern position would be beneficial to you.
As you begin structuring the cover letter, start at the top of the page. Make sure your header is in order. The header should feature your full name and your contact information, including your phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile, if applicable. In addition to the header, you will also write a salutation and a closing for your cover letter. For a salutation, use the hiring manager’s actual name, not “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir/madam.” If you can’t find the name of the person going over the internship cover letters, use “Dear Hiring Manager.” Closings typically include “Best regards” or a similarly professional term.
Now that you know how to structure the introduction and closing, you can write the body of the cover letter. These are typically the five things to consider when writing a cover letter for an internship program.
The first paragraph should start with the hook. You want to start out your letter with something that’s as eye-catching as possible. If you’re looking for an internship in graphic design, for example, you might start out with, “When I was a kid, I could barely draw stick figures.” This is an interesting personal anecdote that makes the hiring manager want to read more. Just remember that your cover letter is short, so quickly connect your hook to the next step.
2. Relevant skills and coursework
Next, mention your skills and the coursework you’ve already done. Most intern candidates are in school or coming right out of college, so feature any abilities or extracurricular activities that tie in with the internship opportunity. You can include anything that’s relevant, from personal projects to specialized courses you’re taking. Remember, You’re trying to showcase why you have the right background and aptitude to fit the company you’re applying to.
3. Information on why you’re right for the role
In the second paragraph, you’ll typically connect the skills you’ve listed and the company you’re applying to. If you just say, “I’m the right person for this role,” the hiring manager isn’t going to believe you. You need to look at the job posting, do some research on the way the intern position works and find evidence from your own training and background that shows hiring managers that you’re the perfect fit for the role.
4. An overview of how your values align with the company’s
When it comes to an internship, aligning with a company’s culture is often even more important than it is for a typical job search. Do a bit of research and see what this company values. Do you value the same things? An internship cover letter needs to go over exactly why this company should take you under their wing and devote the time to train you as part of the internship.
5. A call to action for an interview
The last section is where you request an interview. By taking the initiative and asking for a job interview, you put the ball in the hiring manager’s court to make the next move and bring you in for a further discussion about the internship. Before you close out the letter, reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity and sum up why the hiring manager should be interested in you.
You don’t need work experience for an intern cover letter. Many interns have no work experience at all. If you don’t have any experience, you should rely on your school experiences, extracurricular activities and your unique skill set.
Writing a cover letter for an internship may even be more important than writing one for a job. For an internship, the company is looking to make sure you’ll align well with the company’s values, and that the career advice and training they give you will actually impact your future success – all things that can be better communicated in a cover letter. Pan to customize your letter for every internship application, emphasizing different skills, goals and culture fit depending on what each internship is seeking.
A resume and cover letter are both important if you’re hoping to land an internship. Using a resume template for a standard job application can be helpful for internships, even though your end goal may be slightly different. We typically recommend that you create a resume using the functional format for an internship. The resume builder at ResumeHelp can walk you through the process, and get you on your way to getting an internship and future job.