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Internship

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship?

Written by Shefali Sundram

Updated on: 03 Jan 2024

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When examining the application, your cover letter is frequently the first thing recruiters notice. Create a cover letter for an internship that employers will not overlook by linking it to the features of the position that fit your abilities. 

A cover letter that lacks confidence, details, effort, relevant skillsets, and experiences can ruin your placement opportunities. So you need to know how to write an effective cover letter for an internship.

What steps should you take to draft the ideal cover letter for an internship?

How to highlight your skills and experience?

What to avoid in your cover letter?

Here are the key tips to write an effective cover letter for an internship

  • Tailor your cover letter to the company. 
  • Follow the right cover letter format.
  • Highlight your relevant skills and experience. 
  • Avoid making claims you cannot support.
  • Proofread your cover letter carefully to detect and correct informal tone and grammatical and spelling errors. 

Read on for detailed tips, steps, and examples of how to write a cover letter for an internship for you to crack it.

Why do you need a cover letter for an Internship?

Cover letters allow introduce yourself to the potential employer before an interview. You also get to add all the information you couldn’t add to your resume. Since a resume is limited to a page at most, a cover letter provides you the opportunity to incorporate additional details.

  • It provides scope to elaborate on the skills you have, which will help you in your proposed internship opportunity. 
  • It allows you to present why you’re fit for the position by highlighting your qualifications.
  • Submitting cover letters shows you’ve taken the extra step in the application process to give the recruiter an idea about your profile.

Tips for writing an internship cover letter

Do you know the most silly mistake applicants make when writing a cover letter? It’s forgetting to research the company and job role that they’re applying for. If you don’t know what are the company goals, standards, expectations, and culture, you won’t be able to tailor your cover letter to the specific internship. Here is the first tip:

  • Research the company goals and objectives to develop an understanding of the same and align your cover to the objectives.
  • Know your roles and responsibilities to acknowledge the same in your cover letter, this will give your letter a touch of responsibility.
  • Tailor your cover letter to the internship. Every time you apply for an internship, your cover letter should be tailored to the specific internship. Craft every piece of information from the employer’s perspective.
  • Start your cover letter with a strong introduction that highlights your skills and experience.
  • Use the body of your cover letter to explain why you are interested in the internship and how your skills would be a good fit for the position.
  • End your cover letter with a strong call to action, such as asking for an interview.

Steps to write a cover letter for an internship

A cover letter must include many crucial aspects to capture an employer’s attention and persuade them to consider you for an interview.

Since hiring managers scan dozens of job applications every day, they search for specific aspects in cover letters that tell them all they need to know about the applicant. Here is a step-by-step guide to writing your cover letter.

Step 1: Stick to the right format for cover letters

The format is the base for your entire cover letter. It is crucial to stick to the right format and write accordingly. Sloppy cover letters will put the recruiter or hiring manager off. 

So what should the structure be like?

The cover letter header 

This must include your full name, professional work email address, phone number, and LinkedIn URL. Once your personal information is provided, mention the date and receiver’s details, such as their name, job title, and the company they belong to.

For example: 

Joshua Wilson  joshuawilson@gmail.com 416-890-2341 linkedin.com/in/joshua.wilson

2 May, 2023

Matthew Scott Human Resources Manager Snap Corporate Headquarters Santa Monica, CA

The cover letter greetings

The best greeting would be to address the recruiter or hiring manager by their name. This shows that you’ve done your research and creates an impression. 

The use of “To whom it may concern” should only be used when the recruiter’s name isn’t available.

The cover letter introduction

Keep your opening statement brief. Introduce yourself and mention the position you’re applying for. Make sure you stay professional and not too casual.

The cover letter body

The body of the cover letter must contain 2-3 paragraphs. Begin with your introduction and elaborate on your education, skills, and how this would help you be a good fit for the role you’re applying for. You can also write about what you hope to learn from the internship and your expectations. 

The cover letter conclusion

This closing paragraph should include an opportunity to thank the recruiters and let them know how to contact you for further queries. Lay down your contact details with a call to action.

For example: “I am eager to learn more about this opportunity and discuss how my skills and experience can be a valuable asset to your team. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

The formal salutation

The last part of your cover letter should contain a formal salutation. The most commonly used and safest option would be “Best regards.” 

Other salutations used would be:

  1. Sincerely
  2. Thanks in advance
  3. Thank you
  4. Warm regards

Step 2: State the position you’re applying for

According to a survey carried out by CareerBuilder, 48% of recruiters and managers don’t bother reading applications that don’t state the position they want to apply for.

Stating the position you’re applying for narrows down the application for the specific opportunity. 

For Example: 

“Dear Mr. Jason Smith,

I am delighted to apply for the Communication and Operations Intern role at Deloitte.”

Step 3: Mention the right keywords

While writing your cover letter, including the right keywords is important. This is because recruiters skim through it, hoping to see relevant keywords that apply to the particular job profile.

You can look up relevant keywords to add to your cover letter, but be careful not to overdo it. A student applying for a content writing internship should include keywords such as “research”, “SEO analysis”, “leadership,” or “editing.” 

For Example: “In my previous experience, I was able to carry out research to identify topical trends to carry out campaigns. It helped me produce satisfactory content.”

Step 4: Highlight your skills and experience

Students wonder what to include when they don’t have a lot of experience to showcase. This is the case, especially when it’s the first internship. It’s wise to feature academic achievements and the subjects you took up during the course.

For Example: “I majored in Creative Publishing, and my subjects included Fashion Writing & Journalism, Publishing, Designing and Production. The knowledge acquired during my course helped me implement it in various projects.”

If you’re writing a cover letter for an internship with no experience, name some relevant hobbies, co-curricular activities, and volunteering roles from your school or college days that add to your understanding of the job role. Show how you can use your skills to make a significant contribution.

Step 5: Explain why you’re a good fit for the position 

Just stating that you’re good at something isn’t enough. Show how you can use your skills and experience to make a significant contribution. The best way to write this is to combine qualitative and quantitative measures. In other words, back it up with data or the outcome of your skills.

For Example: “I handled and strengthened customer relationship management on social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook with an average count of 300 queries a day.”

Step 6: Explain what you’ll gain from the experience

When you decide to intern, there are certain skills you’d like to develop during the experience. Ensure to communicate what you’d like to gain from the internship in terms of skills, knowledge, and how it would benefit you in the long run.

For Example: “I am looking forward to this internship because it will equip me with the required editing and production skills to assist me to advance professionally in my future job as a Publisher.”

Step 7: Proofread your cover letter 

Once you’re done drafting your cover letter, it’s time to proofread it for any mistakes. This can be a grammar mistake or something to do with wrong details. 

Submitting a cover letter with such mistakes won’t straight-up rule your application out, but it may point out a short attention span.

You can get your cover letter checked for errors through tools like Grammarly or Hemmingway, Or pass it on to a friend or family member to help you.

Step 8: Avoid these common mistakes in a cover letter 

Now that you know how to write a cover letter for an internship, learn what to avoid when writing a cover letter. Informal tone, jargon, writing too much, bad grammar, spelling mistakes, wrong format, cliches, tired old phrases, and generic content is a complete no-no for your internship cover letter. Here’s how:

Informal tone

Not being able to identify the right tone is a common mistake. While writing your cover letter, learn to strike a balance between being formal and informal. You must sound confident, clear, and serious about your role.

For example: “I’m really excited about this opportunity, and I think I would be a great fit for the team” sounds informal because it uses the contraction “I’m” and the informal phrase “really excited.”

Here is a more formal way to write this sentence:

I am very excited about this opportunity, and I believe that my skills and experience make me a strong candidate for the position.

If you’re applying to a big firm for an internship opportunity, keeping the tone professional is the key. At the same time, avoid jargon. Use simple, professional language.

But if you’re applying to a creative agency, it should be written in an engaging, friendly tone though not too casual. Maintain a level of professionalism here as well.

Writing too much

This is a rookie mistake made by many students on their first attempt. Don’t write too much for it to end up being 2-3 pages long. The key is to cover half of your page. This should also include only information relevant to your skills, achievements, and job profile. Don’t bother adding details of your hobbies.

Poor language

Do not write overly negative sentences like bad experiences with previous employers or colleagues. Avoid making grammatical errors, spelling errors, and other careless mistakes in the sentences.

Another language mistake is using cliches, tired old phrases, overused words, or buzzwords in your letter. Use simple, specific, unique, and meaningful words.

Bad layout

Bad layouts can lead to your application being rejected if it does not look appealing. Recruiters and Hiring Managers have to look through plenty of applications they receive.

A good layout with ample space between paragraphs, correct font size, and headings in bold is bound to make it presentable.

Making claims you cannot support

Everyone takes a while to perfect their cover letter. The problem with writing a cover letter is that you have to highlight your skills but, at the same time, not go overboard. Pitch your skills in such a way that it can show how the company can benefit from them. 

Avoid preaching about yourself too much. 

For Example – “I am proficient in Customer relationship management” is much better than “I am the best customer relationship management analyst the company can ever have.”

A generic cover letter

It may be tempting to make your work easier and use AI tools like ChatGPT to help create your cover letter.

But if you forget to edit and personalize the letter, it may lead to:

Plagiarism:

Since AI tools use existing or available content to write new content, it leads to plagiarism or similar content.

No individuality or personalization:

An AI-generated cover letter might lose the charm of personalization and turn out to be generic. One of the purposes of the cover letter is to make a personal introduction. You pitch yourself to the recruiter and state how you’d be a good fit at the company. This cannot be done via an AI tool!

Key takeaways for an internship cover letter

Following all these steps to create your own cover letter will help you set your cover letter apart! Here’s a recap of all the important factors to keep in mind while writing one:

  • When applying for an internship, you must provide a cover letter.
  • When you begin writing your cover letter, follow the format: a header with contact information, an address to the recruiter, an introduction paragraph, a body of 2-4 paragraphs, and a closing paragraph followed by an official salutation and your name.
  • Essentials to include: Mention the position you’re looking for, use the correct keywords, and back up your skills with experiences.
  • Avoid informal tone, jargon words, cliches, buzzwords, wrong format, grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, generic content, and making false claims.
  • Proofread it well to ensure there are no mistakes.

Sample internship cover letter

Gina Scott ginascott@gmail.com 416-890-2341 linkedin.com/in/gina.scott

2 May, 2023

Marvin Davis. Human Resources Manager Meta Headquarters Santa Monica, CA

Dear Mr. Davis,

I am a senior at University, and I am delighted to apply for the role of Summer Intern at Meta. I learned about the internship program through a friend at my university, and after going through the work carried out by the team, I’m mighty impressed with what the company has managed to achieve.

I’m majoring in Marketing and minoring in Creative Writing and will be graduating in the coming spring. With my educational background, I feel that the company focuses on areas of my interest and will provide me with the exposure I require to go further in my career while using the existing knowledge acquired through my degree.

In my previous experience, I was able to carry out research to identify topical trends to carry out campaigns. It helped me produce satisfactory content. 

I also handled and strengthened customer relationship management on social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, with an average count of 300 daily queries. My mentor also taught me to use Canva and Adobe Photoshop tools to assist the team in social media creatives. Through these learnings and past experience, I believe I would be able to add value to the Marketing team at Meta! 

I am hoping for you to consider me and take my application forward! Please contact me if you have any questions, I’d be glad to assist you.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, Gina Scott

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the difference between a cover letter and a resume?

While a resume briefly summarizes your professional experience, a cover letter focuses on your credentials for the position you’re looking for.

When making a resume, your most recent work experience should be covered first because that is how most people list their information. 

But cover letters are prepared in a letter style to discuss how you fit certain job needs.

These two documents will be needed throughout the hiring process to highlight your experience and further discuss how it relates to a vacant position.

What is the ideal length of a cover letter?

An effective cover letter is usually half a page long. It shouldn’t be more than 4 paragraphs. Limit it to 1 page only.

In this first paragraph, include an introduction about yourself and how you came across the post. 
The second should focus on your experience. 

The third paragraph should be on why you’re a strong candidate, and the last one should serve as a conclusion with a call to action!

What skills and achievements to include in a cover letter?

Most employers only give attention to applications that are relevant to the position. This means you should highlight the skills that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. 

You can do this by reading the job description of the position and incorporating a few of the skills mentioned that you have.

Note that the job description can contain both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills refer to technical skills, and soft skills are personal traits.

For example, You’re applying for the position of SEO Analyst. Some hard skills you can mention are Data Analysis, Basic Coding, and Keyword Research. Whereas for soft skills, you can mention Teamwork and Dependability.

The resume and cover letter will be discarded as soon as job recruiters notice material that is unrelated to what they are looking for since they receive so many applications daily.

How to write a cover letter with no experience?

You can still write a cover letter even if you don’t have any relevant professional experience. A cover letter tends to promote your previous experience.

But you may also use it to emphasize any soft talents you developed from participating in extracurricular activities, academic pursuits, or volunteer work!

In a cover letter, you should highlight your soft talents as well as your desire to pick up new abilities while working there.

It also shows the employer that although you might lack experience, you are eager to learn and committed to the internship.

Are cover letters mandatory?

As per Statistics published by FinancesOnline in 2023, 49% of hiring managers believe that attaching cover letters to resumes is the primary tactic that job applicants should apply. 

This shows that cover letters are still crucial to the job application process. 

The cover letter should highlight your abilities and strengths, as well as your education and commitment to the internship.

Spend some time creating a cover letter before submitting a job application in case one is required.

Do employers read cover letters or resumes first?

Employers will often scan your resume to check if you have the necessary experience or abilities for the post. They will then evaluate if your cover letter is interesting or not. 

If you submit your cover letter in the body of an email with your resume attached, the recruiter will most likely skim it before going through your resume.

Remember that in this scenario, your cover letter must be excellent.

Should I include a cover letter if it is mentioned as optional?

According to statistics published by FinancesOnline in 2023, 47% of recruiters like candidates who provide cover letters. 

If an application states that a cover letter is optional, including one is a good idea. Including a cover letter demonstrates to recruiters that you are prepared to go the extra mile. 

The only time you should not provide a cover letter is when the company prohibits it.

Should I use different cover letters for each job I’m applying to?

Since a cover letter allows you to convince the employer why you are the best match for their organization, it is necessary to write personalized cover letters for each job you apply for.

Every cover letter should explain in detail why you are qualified for the position and why you are eager to join the organization.

Most of the material you provide will be the same for each job, except for the position. So you might create a standard cover letter template that you modify for each new post you apply to.

Written by

Shefali Sundram

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