Looking for cover letter tips and advice to really stand out? Want cover letter mistakes to avoid and other dos and don'ts? You've come to the right place.
Most intern cover letters say, “I’m a hard worker, and I fit the job.” Yours should prove that you fit the job like you were born to do it.
Sounds complicated? Don't worry, we've broken up the entire process of writing a cover letter for an internship into eight simple, actionable steps, plus we give you an internship cover letter example you can use for inspiration.
Here’s what you’re going to discover:
- Internship cover letter examples to get you started
- A versatile cover letter template for internships
- A step-by-step guide to formatting and writing your internship cover letter
- Pro-tips on how to write a cover letter for an internship
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Not quite what you’re looking for? Check out some of these resources.
- Best Cover Letter Templates
- Best Cover Letter Tips
- Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example
- Engineering Internship Cover Letter Example
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
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- No Experience Resume Guide
- Non-Profit Cover Letter Example
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Or head straight to our extensive collection of cover letter examples for all professions and experience levels.
Sample Cover Letter for Internship
Meet Apryl, a fresh university graduate with outstanding academic credentials. Apryl is applying for an internship at Stanley Black & Decker, a manufacturing company. The company is looking for someone with deep interest in engineering, and knowledgeable about tools & techniques used in improving manufacturing processes.
Fortunately, Apryl is highly educated in this matter and her love for engineering runs deep. And she perfectly highlights these qualities in her cover letter.
Cover Letter for Internship—Example
4109 Diane Street
Hartford, CT 06101
Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
1723 Lochmere Lane
Hartford, CT 06182
Dear Mr. Daugherty,
Dr. Whiting encouraged me to apply for the position of Engineering Intern after I received Brown University's Outstanding Senior Award for my project on smart morphing surfaces.
Engineering has been my passion since I was nine. That passion helped me graduate with a 4.0 average across all my engineering coursework. It also led me beyond the assigned curriculum with:
- Extensive reading of 100+ books on engineering, design, and leadership.
- Writing a regular column in the “Manufacturing Innovation” blog (20,000 readers).
- Obtaining my Six Sigma Black Belt Certification.
Stanley Black & Decker is a leader in the manufacturing world with good reason—I was deeply impressed when I learned how you’ve reduced waste by 30% and increased customer satisfaction by 20% by implementing Kaizen best practices. This internship is an unmatched opportunity to grow among outstanding professionals.
I'd love to put my skill and passion to work for you. Could we set aside some time for a call to discuss how my success so far can translate to engineering excellence at Stanley Black & Decker?
P.S.—I'd also like to tell you how my design of fiber-optic bundles threaded through a working coil saved a freelance client $2,500.
This internship cover letter follows the best practices in cover letter writing. It’s concise, focused on the right things, and structured using a proven cover letter template.
In fact, this is the same cover letter structure used by experienced professionals across all fields. So master it early on in your career, and you’ll stand out among the other interns as someone who clearly knows what they’re doing.
Now, let’s go through the entire process of writing a great internship cover letter. Here are the steps in a nutshell.
How to Write an Internship Cover Letter
- Use a proven internship cover letter format.
- Create a proper cover letter header.
- Start your cover letter with the suitable greeting.
- Craft a powerful first paragraph that attracts the reader’s attention.
- Explain what makes you the right person for this internship.
- Show that you’re passionate about the internship and the company.
- End with a compelling call to action.
- Sign off like a pro (and consider adding a P. S.)
Ready to get started?
1. Use the Best Internship Cover Letter Format
There’s no second chance to make that first impression. The hiring manager who receives your cover letter should know you’re a competent young professional even before they start reading.
And that’s where proper cover letter format comes in:
- Use one of the best resume fonts.
- Set the page margins to 1” on all sides.
- Put your contact info in the top left corner.
- Add the date under your address.
- Include the hiring manager’s name and contact info.
- Start with a classic business letter greeting.
- Keep your cover letter to one page and 250–400 words.
- Divide the letter into paragraphs with a blank line between them.
- Make sure your letter ends with a call to action and a sign-off.
- You can include a P. S., but it’s optional.
Consider using a dedicated cover letter builder to make cover letter formatting as pain-free as possible. Most builders come with matching designs for resumes and cover letters to make your internship application look professional. In addition, the best cover letter builders provide you with pre-written chunks of text that you can customize to your liking—no more staring at a blank screen!
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2. Make a Great Internship Cover Letter Header
If you’re sending your internship application via snail mail or handing it in personally, your cover letter needs to follow the conventions of a typical business letter. That is, it needs a proper cover letter header that looks like this:
Cover Letter for Internship—Header Template
Title (e. g. Marketing Student)
City, State, ZIP
Hiring Manager Name (if possible)
Hiring Manager’s Job Title
City, State, ZIP
If you’re applying for an internship position, you probably don’t have a job title yet. Just put “Engineering Student” or “Computer Science Graduate” or whatever accurately describes your educational background.
The entire header of your internship cover letter should be justified to the left so that your name is in the top left corner.
What should you do if you’re not sure who your hiring manager is? Check out our guide on how to address a cover letter. You’ll learn how to find out who’s responsible for hiring you—and what to do if your research yields no results.
3. Choose the Right Salutation for Your Internship Cover Letter
The most surefire thing to write after the cover letter header is:
If you’re 100% sure that the company where you’re applying has a super relaxed culture and everyone calls each other by their first names, you can also opt for Dear John or Dear Jane. But to stay on the safe side, you may still want to stick to the last name.
What if the hiring manager has a unisex name, and you’re not sure if you should write Mr. or Ms.? Here’s what you can do:
- Find their LinkedIn profile and see if their profile pic lets you clearly identify their gender.
- Check if they list their preferred pronouns on their LinkedIn or Twitter profile.
- Google their name and try to find photos of them (but always check out the photo’s context to make sure it’s the right person).
- Start your cover letter with their first and last name: Dear Jules Smith.
In short, do whatever it takes to avoid misgendering the person.
But… what if you’ve done your research and still can’t find the hiring manager’s name? As a last resort, go with something like Dear Hiring Manager. It might feel a bit awkward, but it’s still infinitely better than no greeting at all. If you’re unsure about writing a custom paragraph from scratch, try this, more generalized template instead.
Cover Letter for Internship Example—Introduction
Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name]:
When I found out that [Company Name] is looking for an [Internship Field, f.e. Engineering, Accounting] intern, I was thrilled. As a recent graduate in [Field of Study] I am very passionate about the subject. I am highly skilled in [Relevant Skills/Tools] and can’t wait to use my expertise to aid the team with the upcoming challenges.
Expert Hint: If anyone tells you to start your internship cover letter with Dear Sir or Madam or To whom it may concern… don’t. You don’t live in a 19th-century novel, so ditch those outdated and painfully generic formulas.
4. Grab the Reader’s Attention With the First Paragraph
There are several effective ways to start a cover letter, but they all have one thing in common: they attract the reader’s attention and make them want to read the rest of your cover letter.
So your opening paragraph has to stand out.
In other words, don’t do this:
This opener is like one of those generic pictures that you get when buying photo frames. Everyone’s seen them so many times that no one pays attention to them any longer.
Here’s what you can do instead:
Start Your Internship Cover Letter With a Big Relevant Achievement
Maybe you’re not Frodo Baggins, who can start his cover letter with “I’m the guy who saved Middle-Earth way back at the end of the Third Age.”
But this doesn’t mean you don’t have any achievements to show. Got an award? Completed a successful freelance gig? Go ahead and put them right into the opening paragraph of your cover letter! Like this:
The first paragraph of their cover letter shows that this candidate can do much more than make coffee for regular employees. No one who’s hiring a digital marketing intern will resist reading this cover letter to the end.
Writing an internship cover letter with no experience? Focus on something you’ve done at school or college.
This person is applying to be a healthcare data analyst intern. In their internship cover letter opening, they describe a big project they worked on. This is how the hiring manager knows that this candidate won’t have to learn data science from scratch.
Starting your cover letter with an achievement shows that you’ve already got the basics of your job.
Drop a Name
Another great way to start a cover letter for an internship is to drop a name. It could be a mutual contact at the company or someone famous in the field (for example, your academic supervisor who suggested you apply for a specific internship).
Be brief, and don’t tell the entire story of how you met this person. Just write something like this:
A word of warning, though: always ask the person if they’re OK with you mentioning them in your cover letter.
And, of course, never make things up. Lying on a cover letter can backfire immensely.
Show You’ve Done Your Research
Another way to impress the reader of your internship cover letter is to show that you genuinely care about the company and that you’ve done your research before applying.
Check out the company’s website, go through recent press releases, and do a quick Google search to find out more about the company’s challenges and plans.
Then, show that you’re eager to help them with these specific challenges and projects.
This opener shows that the candidate didn’t just randomly apply because they saw an internship position. Instead, they’ve taken the time to research the company. Their research showed that Knight’s Knives is apparently looking for a social media intern because they need an extra pair of hands for their product launch campaign.
When the hiring manager at Knight’s Knives reads this cover letter, they’ll think, “Wow, this person definitely wants to work with us—after all, they’ve taken the time to find out about our upcoming products!”
5. Show How Your Skills and Achievements Make You the Right Candidate
Now that you’ve got the reader hooked, it’s time to prove you’re the right person for this internship.
To do this, double-check the job ad and note the specific requirements listed there. Let’s say the company wants an intern with skills in:
- Written communication
- Six Sigma
Now, bombard them with some proof that you’ve got these exact skills.
You’re in the door.
Why does that internship cover letter example work?
Because it proves, you’re driven AND gives hard evidence. And it packs an extra punch because the bullets tie you to the internship.
Expert Hint: If you really want the internship, reach out to employees on LinkedIn and ask to chat about the company’s needs. This will help you write an internship cover letter that’s closely tailored to this specific position at this specific company.
6. Prove Your Passion for This Specific Company
OK, so you’re the right person for this internship. But is this internship the right place for you?
That’s what you prove in the next paragraph.
Everyone loves compliments, so go ahead and compliment the company on a recent achievement. You may need to do some extra research to find something that fits—but that research will pay off. It shows that you’ve been following the company’s successes for quite some time and that you’re genuinely interested in it.
Then, show how much you value working with these accomplished professionals.
It’s important to make sure that this paragraph is closely tailored to a specific company. If you can copy and paste this paragraph and use it to apply for another internship, it’s too generic and needs a rewrite!
Here’s what we mean:
You can say the exact same thing to flatter almost any company out there. The candidate who wrote this is probably pasting the same sentence into every cover letter, just changing the company name. And this doesn’t make a good impression.
7. Close Your Internship Cover Letter with a Powerful Call to Action
Now’s the time to end your internship cover letter. But how do you actually do this?
You might want to sign it off and send it as soon as possible. But wait—your cover letter is still lacking a few important sentences.
You see, the point of a cover letter is to get an interview. And the best way to get something is to ask.
Yes, you’ve read it right: end your cover letter by asking the reader to schedule a call with you.
For the best results, couple your request with a reminder that you want to bring genuine value (and not just hang out until the end of your internship). Like this:
Cover Letter for Internship Examples: Calls to Action
This call to action feels confident and professional. It’s important to avoid calls to action that sound needy or bossy:
Do we need to explain that bossing people around in your cover letter isn’t a good idea?
Trying to melt the reader’s heart like this isn’t going to work.
If you’re looking for more inspiration and guidance on closing your cover letter, check out our dedicated guide on how to end a cover letter.
8. Sign Off and Write a Jaw-Dropping P. S.
Whew! Almost done!
Now, all you need to do is to add a so-called complimentary close. Surefire formulas include:
- Best regards
No matter which closing formula you choose, put a comma after it, make a new line, and write your name. You can also repeat your contact info after your name.
For a truly spectacular cover letter, consider adding a P. S. where you surprise the reader with another jaw-dropping achievement of yours.
Promising to tell your reader a story when they call you back is a great move. After all, who wouldn’t want to hear a good story?
Just make sure you’re not making this story up.
And also, make sure you haven’t forgotten to write your internship resume.
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Writing a cover letter for an internship follows the same steps as writing a cover letter for any job. Here’s the process:
- Get to know the standard format for cover letters.
- Create a cover letter header with contact information.
- Address your cover letter to a specific person if possible.
- Grab the reader’s attention with a unique first paragraph.
- In the next paragraph, prove why you’re a great fit.
- Explain why you’re passionate about this particular company.
- End with a call to action and a professional sign-off.
- Add an impressive P. S. if you have a suitably big achievement to talk about.
Need more guidance on how to write a great cover letter? Got a question about applying for internships? Leave a comment. We’re happy to reply.