Writing a cover letter can feel like a daunting task, particularly if you don’t have a lot of “real world” experience. Fortunately, a cover letter is actually an exceptional chance to explain how your extracurriculars or classes taught you leadership and time management skills.
To really stand out, it’s important to personalize your cover letter for each internship application. You shouldn’t use your cover letter as a chance to reiterate your whole resume. This is your chance to pick out a few keywords from the position description, and dive into examples showing how you’ve exhibited these skills.
We’ve created an internship cover letter template to provide some initial structure and inspiration, but we don’t expect this template to be one-size-fits-all. Ideally, you’ll supplement our template with your own creativity and flair.
There are different formats you can use when writing cover letters, but you can’t go wrong with the following business letter format. Regardless of the format you choose to follow, it’s critical you proofread, use formal terms such as “Dear” and “Sincerely,” and lean towards a professional tone whenever possible.
Your City, State, Zip Code
City, State Zip
Dear X, (try to find hiring manager’s name… if you can’t, you can put “Dear [Company A] Hiring Committee”)
(*leave four spaces for your signature, then type your name underneath the four spaces)
In the first paragraph, explain how you heard about the company or position, and if you know anyone at the company, mention them here. Next, express your own interest in the company or position and explain briefly how it relates to your own passions. Introduce yourself in this paragraph, writing your name, your education level, your major, and your interests.
Paragraph Two and Three:
Scan the internship position description and pick out a few qualities you think apply to you -- just don’t choose all the descriptors mentioned (it will appear disingenuous and make your cover letter too long). For instance, if I see a company is looking for someone who’s “outgoing, organized, hardworking, and willing to take criticism,” I would pick those that describe me best and focus on providing examples in the body of my cover letter.
Mentioning the traits directly in your cover letter shows you’ve read the position description, and makes your cover letter more scannable. If the hiring manager is looking for someone with content skills, she might scan your cover letter looking for the words that indicate experience with content.
Finally, brainstorm a few compelling examples to show how you embody the most important characteristics. Don’t just write, “I have excellent customer service skills.” You need to prove it. Support your claim by writing, “Last summer, I worked at as an orientation leader at my college, serving as a resource for incoming students and their parents. This experience strengthened my customer service skills.”
Even if you don't have a lot of (or any) job experience, think about highlighting skills you've gained from extracurriculars, volunteer experience, or even passion projects (e.g.: “my passion for dance led me to becoming a volunteer dance teacher, which helped me develop as a leader”).
If the internship application does not specify “please do not contact,” you might choose to conclude by specifying how you will follow up, such as, “I will call next week to see if my qualifications are a match,” or, “I am eager to meet with you to discuss this opportunity, and am available for an interview at a mutually convenient time.” Conclude by thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to consider you, and end on a positive, confident note, such as, “I look forward to speaking with you soon.”
At the suggestion of John Smith, a senior marketer at Company A, I am submitting my resume for the Event Coordinator internship position. I am a junior at Elon University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Event Management, and am passionate about event planning. I am thrilled to hear about Company A’s Event Coordinator internship program, and feel my experiences and skills would be an excellent match for your organization.
As an executive member of the Student Union Board at Elon, I am in charge of organizing, promoting, and implementing multiple school-related social activities per week, while being challenged to design new events. I work cohesively with a diverse team made up of students and faculty, and I also foster relationships with novelty companies.
My experience as an Orientation Leader has further prepared me for this internship. It was essential that I remain positive, outgoing, and energized during move-in day and act as a liaison between new students, families, and faculty in a fast-paced and demanding environment. I was expected to maintain a highly professional customer service ethic while interacting with families and new students.
My Elon University experiences, executive board membership, and orientation leadership role have prepared me to be successful in the Event Coordinator internship program. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can add value to Company A.
1 Hireme Road
Boston, MA, 20813
April 15, 2018
Marketing Department -- Internship Program
35 Recruiting St.
Boston, MA, 29174
Dear Internship Coordinator,
I am a passionate, creative, and driven Elon University student with leadership and event planning experience, as well as strong communication skills. I am seeking opportunities to showcase my writing abilities in a challenging and stimulating environment. My skills and experiences will enable me to deliver successful results as a digital marketing intern for Company B.
Please allow me to highlight my key skills:
Prior experience writing blog posts and press releases for marketing objectives
Strong communication skills and ability to adopt voice for diverse audiences and varying purposes
Efficient in managing multiple projects with fast moving deadlines through organization and time-management skills
A firm understanding of grammar rules and how to write effectively
Experience in leadership positions, both as Student Union Board executive leader and as an Elon Orientation Leader
Proven ability to form positive relationships with people from around the globe, exhibited by my internship experience in China last summer
Experience organizing, promoting, and implementing social events
Proficient in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere), and social media platforms
In closing, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can be an asset to Company B. I will call next week to see if you agree that my qualifications are a match for the position. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Originally published Apr 11, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated January 25 2021