What Should A Cover Letter For An Internship Include

When I graduated college, I had to write a cover letter for a Watson Fellowship.

 

That's an internship on steroids. It's a highly competitive full-year paid stint overseas.

 

I was chosen out of 60 applicants.

 

I knew I had a shot when one of them read my intern cover letter and lamented, "Your whole life led

up to this."

 

It really didn't. I just had a great coach.

 

Now, so do you.

 

This guide will show you:

 

  • How to write a cover letter for an internship that blows away the rest.
  • Great internship cover letter examples that will get your resume read carefully.
  • The best format for a cover letter for an internship.
  • How to make an intern cover letter that hiring managers pay attention to.

 

Here's a sample cover letter for an internship made with our fast online cover letter tool. Want to write your letter in 15 minutes? Use our cover letter templates and build your version here.

 

 

Next, I'll show you why that internship cover letter template is so perfect, and how to make yours fast. You'll also walk away with dozens of examples of good internship letters to speed you on your way.

 

1

The Best Internship Letter Format

 

Here's a bad dream:

 

You're going for the best internship ever.

 

It's got great pay, extreme exposure to real work, and high-level mentors.

 

But you showed up to the interview in a dingy Hello Kitty sweatshirt

 

A poor intern cover letter format can have the same effect.

 

If you don't know how to write a cover letter for an internship, you can come off sloppy.

 

Use the three paragraphs format. It's professional, lean, and shows your best features in a tantalizing way.

 

Internship Cover Letter Format Example

 

Use this sample marketing internship cover letter template to create your letter now.

 

Business Letter Example

 

Giovanna Darcy

Graphic Designer

3797 Stadium Drive

Attleboro, MA 02703

508-212-4343

giovannafdarcy@gmail.com

 

11/20/17

 

Larissa Mamet

Paralith Marketing, Inc.

3703 C Street

Boston, MA 02110

 

Dear Larissa,

 

[First Paragraph – A "Hook" and Why You're Perfect for the Internship]

 

[Second Paragraph – The Offer]

 

[Third Paragraph – The Call to Action (CTA)]

 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Giovanna Darcy

 

That's the stripped-down internship cover letter format for students. Use it, and you've got a chance to look like Sheldon Cooper in the rough.

 

Next, I'll show you what to include in that internship cover letter template so it shines out like a rescue flare.

 

Pro Tip: Need to write an email internship cover letter? Use the format above, but leave off the addresses at the top. Add your contact info at the bottom.

 

Need to know who to address a business letter to, or how to write a "To Whom it May Concern"

cover letter? See this guide: "How to Address a Cover Letter: Sample & Guide [20+ Examples]"

 

2

Does Your First Paragraph Put People to Sleep?

 

There's the hiring manager. His name's Logan.

 

He's read 299 internship cover letters from students this week.

 

He just grabbed yours.

 

He also rolled his eyes. That's bad.

 

Your letter needs to hook him right away.

 

That happens with the right first paragraph.

 

Internship Cover Letter Examples [First Paragraph]

 

Check out these examples of how to write a cover letter for an internship:

 

wrong

I would love to get this graphic design internship. If you hire me, I'll work extremely hard and bring all my considerable passion to bear as your dedicated employee. I've completed rigorous coursework at UMass Boston to earn my BA in design. In addition...

 

What's wrong with that graphic design internship cover letter sample? Nothing, if it's the only one the manager reads.

 

But after a couple hundred, it's the prose equivalent of shampoo instructions. Everybody applying for this internship will promise to work hard. Everybody just earned a degree.

 

right

I was so excited when my protein shake packaging design was shortlisted for an Adobe Design Achievement Award.

 

It was no accident. Design has been a passion of mine since I was ten. I treated the coursework for my B.A. in Design at UMass Boston as a jumping-off point. My classes lit the way, but I dug in deeper with several extracurricular pursuits.

  

See? That first part shakes the manager from his stupor.

 

The second tells a compelling tale of the world's best match for this position.

 

Pro Tip: Writing an internship cover letter with no experience? Lead with an impressive fact. That could be an award you won, or just a compliment you got.

 

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write your cover letter in our resume builder here. Here's what it may look like:

 

See more templates and create your resume and cover letter here.

 

Need more help to write the best cover letter for an internship you can? See this guide: "How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]"

 

3

Here's What to Put in an Intern Cover Letter Second Paragraph

 

Imagine someone rings your doorbell.

 

It's a grade-schooler. Her name's Sue. She impresses you with a story about how she saved the lives of 30 puppies.

 

She forgets to tell you she is selling Girl Scout cookies. Had you known, you would have bought a case from her.

 

Your internship cover letter needs to make an offer.

 

Do that in the second paragraph.

 

Look at the difference in these two engineering internship cover letter examples.

 

Internship Cover Letter Examples [Paragraph #2]

 

See if you can spot what's wrong in this first example of how to write a cover letter for an internship.

 

wrong

I did very well in my engineering core coursework. I excelled in differential equations, computer science, and physics. I learned about time management, collaboration, and problem solving. I also...

 

Let's translate that to English: It says, "I'm great. Gimme."

 

But what's in it for the hiring manager?

 

Now check out this next good cover letter sample.

 

right

Antido Inc.'s commitment to developing its interns far beyond mere clock-punching speaks directly to my voracious appetite for continued growth. I expect to grow my already award-nominated skill set to improve your quality, cost, and lead times, much as I did during my senior project in product development.

  

See that? "I can help you, and here's how." You've transformed yourself from ballast to a rocket pack.

 

Pro Tip: How can your letter of interest make a great offer? First find out what the company needs. Learn it in the job offer and by researching the company online.

 

Need to know how to start a cover letter for a nursing internship or IT internship? See our guide: "How to Start a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [20+ Examples]"

 

4

The All-Important Call To Action (CTA)

 

So far your internship letter is firing on all cylinders.

 

It's got a great hook.

 

The first paragraph shows you fit the job. The second makes an offer like the Minions made to Gru.

 

Now it has to ask for something.

 

That's the Call to Action (CTA).

 

It's easy to say, "Can I have an interview?"

 

It's more effective to write, "Can we discuss how I can help?"

 

Internship Cover Letter Examples [The CTA]

 

Why does this example of how to write a cover letter for an internship fall flat?

 

wrong

I would love the chance to talk more with you.

 

That's not awful. But it doesn't sizzle like this next computer science internship cover letter sample:

 

right

I would love to put my passion and skill to work for you. Can we schedule a call to discuss winning awards and accolades for Ultrafy?

  

Why does that work better? Because even as ask you ask for something, you're still giving something too.

 

Pro Tip: Other examples of what should be in a cover letter for an internship position? Passion, name dropping, a fact you love about the company, or an eye-catching achievement.

 

Need to lock down the format for your internship cover letter? See this guide: "Cover Letter Formats: A Complete How-To Guide [10+ Examples]"

 

5

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship with Bullet Points

 

You know what the hiring manager sees as she reads intern cover letter #229?

 

"Words words words..."

 

Like a robot reading out the phone book.

 

Want to hook her optic nerve up to her brain again?

 

Use bullet points.

 

They highlight your best accomplishments. Put them in your second paragraph, like in this good human resources internship cover letter example:

  

right

In addition to my college coursework, I dug in deeper with:

 

  • Extensive extra-curricular reading of over 200 books on HR, hiring, and corporate culture
  • Conducting a weekly podcast with interviews of 100+ top dHR pros(and 1500+ subscribers).
  • Freelance work on nights, weekends, and in the summers as a fill-in recruiter for small money but with great return in terms of lessons learned.

 

Wow. Now you couldn't pry the manager away with a pneumatic jack.

 

It blows away this next sample of how to write a cover letter for an internship:

 

wrong

 I didn't just complete my coursework. I also read extensively in the HR and business fields. Further, I created a podcast and interviewed a new HR pro almost every week. I also did freelance recruiting work on nights and weekends. In addition...

  

See? Word wall. Meanwhile, the hiring manager has dozed off in her macchiato.

 

Pro Tip: When writing a letter of interest, spend most of your time learning what the hiring manager needs. Then figure out how you can give it.

 

Want more help to write a judicial or engineering internship cover letter that stands above the pack? See our guide: "Cover Letter - Guide, Tips and Free Examples. Read More!"

 

6

Should You Use a Table in Your Internship Cover Letter?

 

True or false:

 

You want to make things as hard as possible for the hiring manager.

 

Of course you want to make things easy.

 

A table format is a risky choice that does just that.

 

It connects the dots. It lets the busy hiring manager hear the click as you fit snugly into the job description.

 

Internship Cover Letter Example [Table]

 

Here's how to write a cover letter for an internship that includes a table:

 

  • [ADDRESS]
  • [SALUTATION]
  • [FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS]

 

You're Looking For:

I've Accomplished:

Someone who can wow with web designs.

My web design professor said, "Your work leaps off the screen."

An intern with passion for the job beyond just earning money.

In the past four years, I've read over 200 non-assigned books on design, art, and business.

Skill with mobile design.

A mobile freelance client said, "Your work is beyond my wildest dreams."

 

 

Tables work in a letter of application because they show you understand the internship. They also show you're a good pick.

 

Warning: Some managers can't stand tables in business letters. Use them at your own risk.

 

Pro Tip: If you can't find a way to impress the recruiter, make one. Volunteer for the company's favorite charity. Take a class in the manager's favorite subject.

 

Do you really need an intern cover letter? See our guide: Are Cover Letters Necessary?

 

7

How to End a Cover Letter

 

Imagine you're 20-year-old golf sensation Lydia Ko.

 

You're tied for first place in the U.S. Open.

 

It's the 18th hole. You've got the perfect backswing. Your form's immaculate.

 

But you still have to hit the ball.

 

You've got to close your internship cover letter with a bang.

 

End your letter with a thank you, a space, and then your name.

 

Like this:

  

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,
Steve Howeth

 

Need other ways to end an internship cover letter for college students? Try these:

 

  • Best regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • Respectfully,
  • Thank you for your time,
  • Kind regards,

 

Pro Tip: Writing a research or marketing internship cover letter with no experience? Network. Get to know someone at the company, then drop their name in your letter.

 

Already know how to write a cover letter for an internship? Want to end it? See our guide: "How to End a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [+20 Examples]"

 

8

Internship Cover Letter Tips

 

You almost got the internship.

 

Almost.

 

What did you do wrong?

 

It wasn't your hook or your three paragraphs. Those were great.

 

Your problem? You spelled "detail-oriented" wrong and didn't notice it.

 

The hiring manager laughed so hard she popped her Spongebob stress ball.

 

Follow these internship cover letter tips to dot your i's and cross your t's.

 

Match to Win

 

Fit your intern cover letter format to your resume. The styles should match.

 

How to Write a "To Whom it May Concern" Cover Letter

 

Don't know the hiring manager's name? Try one of these:

 

  • Dear Nursing Team Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Software Development Hiring Team,
  • Graphic Design Intern Search Committee,
  • Internship Recruitment Team,

 

Those work because they get specific, even as they lack details.

 

Writing an Internship Cover Letter [Format Tips]

 

Don't miss these tips on grammar, spacing, proofreading, and font.

 

Best Font for an Internship Cover Letter. Use fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Cambria in the 10-12 point size.

 

Proofread. Use spell checking and grammar checking. You should also set your intern cover letter aside for a day and then come back to it. Better still, have a grammar-savvy friend give it a look.

 

How long should a cover letter for an internship be? 200 words is long enough. Anything longer will make the hiring manager's eyes glaze over.

 

Line Spacing. An internship cover letter should be single spaced. Add a line space after each paragraph.

 

How to Write a Cover Letter Email for an Internship

 

Writing an email cover letter? The only difference between email and paper letters is how you list the contact information. Cut it from the top. Then add only your contact info after you sign off.

 

List your:

 

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Personal Website (If Any)

 

Like this:

 

Dear Internship Hiring Manager,

[First Paragraph – Hook and Why You Fit the Internship]

 

[Second Paragraph – The Offer]

 

[Third Paragraph – The Call to Action (CTA)]

 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Giovanni Darcy

giovannifdarcy@gmail.com

508-212-4343

linkedin.com/in/giovannifdarcy

   

Pro Tip: If you save your internship application letter as a PDF, put the text in your email too. That'll make it easier for recruiters to find you in an email search.

 

Want more advice for how to really nail your law or accounting internship cover letter? See our guide: "Why Should We Hire You? Best Answers (6 Proven Examples)"

 

 

Knowing how to write a cover letter for an internship makes all the difference. Follow these simple tips to get that dream internship:

 

Use the three paragraphs format. It's short, conveys the necessary info, and wins the hiring manager over like a Jedi mind trick.

 

Start your internship cover letter with a hook that keeps recruiters reading. A big accomplishment works great.

 

Make an offer in your first two paragraphs. Your intern cover letter ought to give more than it takes.

 

Want to know more about how to write a cover letter for a summer internship? Maybe you found the best way to write an internship cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments! We love to help!

A cover letter is an important tool to use when applying for a job because it:

  • Introduces you to the prospective employer
  • Highlights your enthusiasm for the position
  • Describes your specific skills and qualifications for the job or internship, and clearly explains why you are a good fit
  • Confirms your availability to start a new position

You should always include a cover letter when applying for a job unless you are specifically told not to by the employer. We recommend that you write a cover letter (aka letter of intent) after you have drafted and tailored your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) for a particular job description. For academic faculty and teaching positions, see cover letter instructions in Masters, Ph.D.'s and Postdocs section. When applying online and limited to uploading one document, you can create a single PDF document that includes both your resume and cover letter.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

Use the cover letter template and planner to get started. When drafting your cover letter, keep the following DO’s and DON’Ts in mind:

Do's

  • Limit the cover letter to one page if possible, unless applying to academic faculty, teaching or research positions.
  • Use the same font and formatting in the cover letter as you use in your resume.
  • You might also want to use the same header in both a cover letter and resume. See header formatting examples.
  • If providing a printed copy, use the same type of paper for both your cover letter and resume. Resume paper can be purchased at the UC Davis Bookstore or at an office supply store.
  • Many tech companies prefer the cover letter not be attached, but uploaded as text in an email with the resume attached.
  • Use formal, professional language in a cover letter. This is true when sending your cover letter as text in an email (above point).
  • Personalize each cover letter to the specific position you are applying to.
  • Address your cover letter to a specific person or the hiring manager whenever possible. If you don’t know their name, use one of the following examples:
    • "Dear Hiring Manager,"
    • "Dear [insert department here] Hiring Team,"
    • "Dear Recruiter, "
    • “Dear Search Committee Chair and Committee Members:” (used for academic teaching positions)
    • "To Whom It May Concern: " Note, this last one uses a “:” not a “,”
  • Check for typos, proper grammar and accuracy.
  • Use spellcheck, but do not rely on it to catch all errors.
  • Have multiple people review your application materials.
  • Make an appointment with an ICC adviser to review your application materials before you apply.

Don'ts

  • Unless told explicitly not to, you should always include a cover letter in your application.
  • Don’t use text abbreviations or emoticons if you are using email.
  • Don’t be too wordy or write just to fill the entire page.
  • Don’t submit a generic “one size fits all” cover letter; tailor your cover letter to fit each position. Thus, none of your cover letters will be exactly the same, though a lot of content will be similar in each.
  • Don’t repeat or summarize your resume in your cover letter. Instead, focus the cover letter on your enthusiasm for the job, excitement about working with that organization, to highlight unique skills that make you qualified for the position and a good fit for the employer.
  • Don’t overuse adjectives or superlatives, especially subjective ones (e.g. “You are the best company in the world” or “I am the most hardworking student intern you will ever meet.”).
  • Quantify when possible. "I've helped organize three club events, including two successful initiatives attended by 25 people" is a better descriptor then "I've helped organize several club events, including a couple successful initiatives attended by many people."
  • Don’t exaggerate your skills or experience.
  • Don’t use UC Davis letterhead, logo, or UC seal in your cover letter. [NOTE: For graduate students and postdocs, some departments allow use of department letterhead for tenure-track faculty applications. Check with your department before using.]

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