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How to Write an Internship Cover Letter That Will Wow Employers (Plus Examples)
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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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Nowadays, internships are a gateway into your dream job. Whether you’re in college, have recently graduated, or are looking to make a career change, being an intern in your desired industry can lead you to a fulfilling career in your chosen field.

So, how exactly do you land an internship? As with most positions, you’ll start by applying. For any position to which you apply now or in the future, you’ll likely need to send at least your resume and cover letter. While your resume demonstrates your work experience, your cover letter conveys your personality and enthusiasm for the position and explores the goals and qualities you can bring to your prospective career. 

Learn all about how to write a winning internship cover letter and see examples of what works below.

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship

1. Format your letter correctly.

This is a formal business letter, so you should format it as so, even if you’re sending it in the body of an email. The proper format includes:

Your Contact Information
Date
Their Contact Information
Greeting
Closing
Signature

Do your absolute best to find the name of the person who will be reading it, rather than addressing it to the more generic “hiring manager” or “HR representative” that may be listed in the advertisement. This may require a little research, but it will ultimately make your letter more personal and give you a bit of a boost in the hiring process.

2. Explain why you’re a good fit for the role.

Unlike a permanent position, an internship is meant to teach you about a prospective career. That’s why you should emphasize what a good learning experience this would be for you, complementing and expanding the skills you already have. Describe how your goals align with the mission of the organization and what you hope to gain from the experience.

You should also spend some time researching the organization so you can emphasize the qualities you admire and explain how they are well-suited to your personal aspirations. It’s important to describe not just why this internship will benefit you, but also why you can benefit the organization by working there. Remember: You’re likely facing stiff competition from other qualified candidates, so you need to stand out.

3. Include relevant academic coursework and extracurricular experience.

When you’re applying for an internship, the organization won’t expect you to have years of experience working in the industry. Instead, focus on the experience you do have: your coursework, clubs, and outside activities. The key is to demonstrate that your interests align with those of the organization.

4. Describe your skills, using appropriate keywords.

While you may not have perfected the skill set you’ll need to land an entry-level job, you probably have plenty of soft skills, like time management, organization, and communication. Make sure to call out your top skills to bolster your resume. Looking up and including keywords related to the industry and position can also help you get spotted, since the organization may be using an ATS to identify appropriate candidates.

5. Proofread.

Read over your letter at least twice to catch typos or spelling and grammatical errors. It may also help to read the letter aloud.

Tips for Writing Your Internship Cover Letter

• Make each letter specific to the position and organization.

The company will know if you’re sending the same letter to everyone. Try to make your letter as specific and unique to each individual employer as possible. That way, you’ll make it clear that you really want to be an intern there. While it may not be feasible to write an entirely new letter for every job, try to vary your standard cover letter according to the particularities of the position and organization by noting its mission statement and including details and examples you’ve found.

• Pay attention to the job description.

You’re applying to be an intern, so you need to understand that it’s a starting point. If the job description says you’ll be answering phones, expect to be answering phones. Recognize that you may be doing what feels like menial work now, but that could lead to other opportunities, such as a full-time job, down the line. 

Also, pay attention to the skills and experience needed for the role. Just because you're going to be an intern doesn't mean the employer isn't looking for specific qualities. At the same time, don’t act like you’re an expert or allude to expectations of a quick promotion. If you read the job description and don’t want to do the job, then find something better aligned with your goals.

• Avoid regurgitating your resume.

You’re going to be sending it along with the cover letter, so you don’t need to restate exactly the same information. Instead, focus on important achievements, particularly ones that are directly aligned with the position to which you’re applying and the career you hope to begin. Your cover letter should be more of a story, outlining your goals and interests and filling in the gaps.

• If the job application doesn’t require a cover letter, send one anyway.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to go beyond your resume and present the real you to an employer. Even if it isn’t required, you should always include one to show the employer that you really care about this job and are going the extra mile to show them that you’re committed.

Examples of Internship Cover Letters

Example 1: Responding to a job listing

Your name

Your mailing address

Your email

Your phone number

Date

Recipient’s name

Company

Company mailing address

Recipient’s email

Dear Ms. [LAST NAME]:

I was so excited to come across the opening for an intern on your website. As a longtime reader of [MAGAZINE] and current junior at [COLLEGE], where I am studying journalism, this position seems to be perfectly aligned with my goals.

In my studies, I have focused on areas such as [EXAMPLES] through courses, including [COURSE NAMES]. I have also expanded and broadened my research, writing, fact-checking, and interviewing skills working as a reporter at [COLLEGE NEWSPAPER] and freelance writer for [NEWSPAPER NAME], the local newspaper in my hometown. The work is challenging but exciting.

I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to broaden my skill set and expand my knowledge of journalism at [MAGAZINE]. It seems like a wonderful learning experience.

I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.

Sincerely,


[YOUR NAME]

Example 2: Writing a cold letter or email

Your name

Your mailing address

Your email

Your phone number

Date

Recipient’s name

Company

Company mailing address

Recipient’s email

Dear Ms. [LAST NAME]:

Since I was young, I have been an avid consumer of [PRODUCT]. As a current junior at [COLLEGE], I am seeking out a challenging internship to build upon my marketing skills. I would be so excited to have the opportunity to work with you.

I’m studying marketing at [COLLEGE] and have studied areas such as [EXAMPLES], focusing on [SPECIFIC NICHES]. I also serve as the media coordinator for our youth outreach group, and this role has enabled me to learn about branding and public relations through reaching out to local media outlets and developing campaigns with my team. It has also helped me broaden my horizons and get outside of my comfort zone since I interact with high-level professionals regularly.

I would be thrilled to take these skills to [ORGANIZATION] and refine them, as well as learn about the world of marketing from such a prestigious and well-regarded business. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you in this regard.

Sincerely,


[YOUR NAME]

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