Writing an Internship Cover Letter With Examples and Tips
Updated July 10, 2023
When applying for an internship, employers might request a cover letter with your resume, references and application. Whether required or not, a cover letter can help distinguish you from other candidates because of the extra details provided and the effort taken to write one. Understanding how to write an effective cover letter for an internship may help you highlight your skills and other valuable assets to a company.
In this article, we explore the steps for writing an internship cover letter with examples and a template and list a couple of ways you can send it when you're finished.
"Cover Letter Format" is the title of this infographic that shows an image of an example email.
On the left side of the infographic, a numbered list identifies each section of the cover letter:
Date and contact information
Salutation or greeting
Letter ending and signature
The cover letter reads:
January 23, 20XX
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am excited to be applying for the web developer position at [Company Name]. I’ve been programming websites and using CSS to create user-friendly experiences since I was in middle school, so it’s always been a passion of mine. I’ve also been intrigued by your company since it won Most Innovative at the National Web Development Awards two years ago. I strive to stay on the cutting edge of web design and development, so when I saw this job posting, I knew I had to apply.
During my previous role at [Company Name], I built a website completely from scratch for a recently rebranded business both ahead of schedule and within budget. I started by gathering requirements for my clients and holding a focus group to perform user research. My favorite part of web design is building a solution that impresses the client and meets the needs of users and customers. My new website was responsive, extremely fast, and included the latest e-commerce features. After launch, I continued to lead optimization efforts. Through AB testing, I improved the click-through rate by 10% and reduced the bounce rate on the website’s landing page by 35%. As your web developer, I would bring the skills to develop websites that exceed the expectations of clients and customers and drive real business results.
Thank you for your consideration in time I’m looking forward to learning more details about the position and company.
Writing an internship cover letter
A well-written cover letter highlights relevant skills and experiences that showcase why you're the right fit for an internship role. Here are a few steps you can follow when writing an internship cover letter:
1. State the exact role you want
Starting your cover letter with the position you're applying for shows you thoughtfully considered what makes you the best candidate for this specific position while reminding the reader what role you're hoping to earn. It also implies you created a cover letter for their opening instead of using a general cover letter for all applications. Additionally, if you're writing multiple letters for different internship positions and companies, make sure you're updating this opening statement for each application.
A cover letter is an opportunity to distinguish youself as a candidate. It allows you to share a bit of your personality while demonstrating your writing capabilities. A well-done cover letter can make the difference between whether you receive a call for an interview. Take the extra time and make the effort to write one, even if not required, because it helps to indicate your interest in the position.
—Genevieve Northup, MBA, SHRM-CP, HCI-SPTD
2. Use the right keywords
Including relevant keywords is essential because many employers use applicant tracking software (ATS) to review several applications. Carefully review the job description and company website for ideas you may include in your letter. For example, if the job description lists time management as a desired quality, try listing relevant examples in your cover letter.
Related: Your Guide To Cover Letter Keywords
3. Include relevant coursework or projects
If you have little to no job experience, your relevant coursework, projects or significant assignments can be helpful to employers. Include your completed courses related to the job description or industry. For example, if applying for a design internship, list your design courses and any significantly related accomplishments.
4. List relevant skills
The body of your cover letter is where you can highlight relevant knowledge, expertise and education that can benefit an employer. Even if you don't have professional industry experience, you can include skills you gained in previous internship roles or jobs, volunteer positions, classes or projects you completed, or achievements in extracurricular activities.
For example, if you're applying for a position as a reporting intern at a local publication company, you may discuss your editor role at the student paper or how your previous office receptionist job taught you the importance of time management.
Cover letters give hiring managers more insight into who you are, your experiences, your achievements and how you can make a difference in an organization. Cover letters are important when you're just entering the workforce because you don't yet have much industry experience. Your cover letter is the place to elaborate on your studies, mention relevant group work and highlight volunteer experience.
—Genevieve Northup, MBA, SHRM-CP, HCI-SPTD
Related: 10 Skills for Cover Letters
5. Explain why you're the right fit for the role
Include one or two sentences relating your qualifications to the internship. Carefully review the posted job description to understand which skills and experiences the employer seeks from individuals. Align those with your own and decide which to prioritize in your cover letter based on the posting.
6. Describe your internship goals
In most cases, employers built an internship program to help students and young people better understand the industry and develop skills, experiences and relationships. In addition to explaining what you can offer a company, highlight what you hope to achieve and learn through the internship. Additionally, mention what the company can gain from hiring you. You can include how you hope to help improve a company process or assist with launching a campaign. This allows the hiring manager to understand what you can do for them in return for what they can do for you.
Related: How To Set Internship Goals
7. Review your cover letter before sending
When your cover letter is complete, set aside time to review and edit it. When proofreading, check for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. If possible, ask trusted friends or family members to review your final draft from a third-party perspective. Alternatively, use a web tool or software to review grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Example internship cover letter
Here's an example of an internship cover letter you can use as a reference as you're creating your own:
Erica Garcia, Bachelor's degree in software engineering
615-555-0100 I EGarcia@email.com I Franklin, Tennessee
March 1, 2023
Dear Mr. Smith,
I'm excited to submit my resume for the summer Application Design internship program at Apricot Software. Throughout my coursework and volunteer opportunities, I have developed a strong confidence in my user experience knowledge, design skills and coding abilities, so I believe I'm a worthy asset to your team.
In my three years at South Maple Leaf College, I completed beneficial coursework on cutting-edge design trends and best practices, including Principles of User Experience Design and Mobile Application Design, where I applied skills like user journey mapping, application wireframing and designing software for mobile devices and operating systems. Additionally, last semester I volunteered with a local non-profit that collects clothes and furniture to redistribute to families in need. I helped the web team update and re-launch an application that allows the community to find nearby drop-off points and schedule pickups. Due to my contributions, the donations increased by 10%.
I believe I can excel on Apricot Software's team, bringing careful attention to detail and graphic design skills to help the company differentiate itself from its competitors. This internship can help me grow my real-world experience in the technology industry and help me further develop and refine my application design skills. I look forward to hearing from you and speaking about this role further.
Template cover letter for an internship role
Here's a template you can use to help you prepare your document:
How can I send a cover letter?
Unless you hand-deliver your resume and cover letter, you may send your cover letter digitally. Sometimes employers require you to attach your cover letter file as part of the application. In other cases, they can ask you to email your cover letter with your resume.
There are two ways you can do this:
Attach your cover letter to the email. If an employer asks you to attach your internship cover letter, you can select the file from your computer and attach it to your email as a PDF. Be sure the filename includes your name.
Paste your cover letter in an email. If the employer doesn't specifically request the document as an attachment, you can consider pasting the cover letter into an email. Be sure to update the greeting to the person's name you're emailing if you know it.
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