How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: January 25, 2024

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A cover letter is a vital part of an internship application because it serves as a personalized introduction to your resume and provides an opportunity to showcase your relevant skills, experience and enthusiasm for the internship position. Unlike a resume, which provides a concise overview of your qualifications, a cover letter allows you to delve deeper into your motivations and explain why you are the ideal candidate. 

If you’re wondering “how do you write a cover letter for an internship?” you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got everything you need to write a persuasive internship cover letter.

In this guide, we will explain: 

  • What an internship cover letter is. 
  • How to write a good cover letter for an internship.
  • How to format a cover letter for an internship. 
  • What to include in a cover letter for an internship.
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What is a cover letter for an internship? 

The primary objective of a cover letter for an internship is to grab the attention of the hiring manager and make them want to learn more about you. It should highlight relevant experiences or coursework that demonstrate your suitability for the internship, while also expressing genuine interest in the company or organization and your passion for the work. 

When paired with a well-written resume, a good internship cover letter allows you to showcase relevant qualifications that may not be obvious from your resume alone.  It provides an opportunity to explain how previous academic, volunteer, or extracurricular activities have equipped you with the transferable skills necessary for the internship role.

Read on to learn what to put in a cover letter for an internship.

“It's crucial to realize that [a] cover letter is not just a formality. It could be your only chance to make a strong first impression.” - Gianluca Ferruggia, hiring manager and general manager of DesignRush.

How to make a cover letter for an internship

Ultimately, a cover letter for an internship should persuade potential employers that you are uniquely qualified for the internship position and explain how it aligns with your career aspirations. By understanding its purpose and tailoring it specifically for each internship application, you can increase your chances of securing an interview and ultimately landing the internship opportunity you want. 

The following steps will show you how to write a good cover letter for an internship position.


Prepare to write your internship cover letter

Writing a cover letter for an internship position starts with preparation.  

First, you must research the company. By conducting thorough research on the company, its values and its mission statement, you can effectively convey how your own internship and career aspirations align with their goals. Hiring managers will be impressed that you are not only knowledgeable about their business but also passionate about contributing to its success.

Start by thoroughly exploring the company's website and social media profiles, paying attention to their “About Us” pages, recent news or press releases and any information regarding their internship program. This research will provide valuable insights into the company's goals and initiatives which you can match to your career aspirations and emphasize in your internship cover letter. 

Next, review the internship description carefully and identify key qualifications the potential employer seeks. Then, identify experiences from your academic, extracurricular, or professional life that align with those requirements. Then match them to your skills and experiences and incorporate them into your cover letter.

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Choose an internship cover letter template

A cover letter template can help ensure that you have all the necessary information included in your internship cover letter and that it is formatted properly. It can also save time when writing a cover letter for an internship, allowing you to focus on customizing it to the job you want. Using an internship cover letter template can also help you avoid errors and ensure that your cover letter is professional and polished.


Use the correct internship cover letter format

The appropriate cover letter format is the same as a standard business letter format. It consists of three main parts: 

  • An introduction — This should include your contact information, a salutation, the purpose of your letter and a brief overview of why you are the best candidate for the position.
  • The body — The body of your letter should consist of one or two paragraphs and provide more detail on why you are the best fit for the role and include pertinent qualifications, such as school and work experiences, skills, certifications, coursework and volunteer activities. It should also explain why you want the job and how it fits into your career goals. 
  • The conclusion — Your internship cover letter should conclude with a brief summary of why you are the best candidate for the internship; a show of gratitude for the person’s time and attention; a reminder of your enthusiasm for the position; and an invitation to reach out for an interview along with your contact information. 


Add your contact information

Your contact information should be included at the top of your internship cover letter, just below your address. 

Your contact information should include your full name, city, state, ZIP code, email address, phone number and any other relevant contact information, such as a professional social media account and a website or portfolio if applicable. Make sure to include professional contact information that you will be able to access throughout the duration of your internship.


Add the potential employer’s address

Like any business letter, a professional cover letter for an internship must include the receiver’s contact information, even if you intend to send your cover letter by email or an online job application system. 

First, add the date just below your contact information and below that, add the potential employer’s name, title, company name and mailing address. Include their phone number and email address if you have it. Make sure to double-check the contact information you are including to ensure it is up to date and accurate.


Greet the hiring manager with a professional salutation

Knowing how to address a cover letter for an internship is crucial to writing a cover letter that gets noticed. 

Address the person by their full name whenever possible. If you can not find their name, use “Dear Hiring Manager.” If you know their title, use that, like “Dear Professor Stone.” It’s also appropriate to address a department, like “Dear Marketing Director.”


Write a compelling internship cover letter introduction

Start your cover letter by introducing yourself and why you are writing the letter. Explain why you are passionate about the internship and the organization you are applying to, and how the position lines up with your career aspirations. Chris Estrada, CEO and Founder of Nationwide United Auto Transport, notes that “It's crucial to think of a cover letter as a sales pitch where the product is you, especially when applying for an internship. It's about convincing the hiring manager you are worth investing time and resources in.”

Here’s a sample of a cover letter for an internship introduction to get you started: 

 “As an ambitious and goal-oriented professional, I am excited to present my application for the internship position at [Company Name]. With my demonstrated expertise in [relevant skills], I am confident I can make a significant contribution to your organization.”


Talk up your internship qualifications in the body paragraphs

Don’t be shy! In the body of your cover letter for an internship, tell the hiring manager exactly why you are a great fit for the position. Without regurgitating your resume, succinctly highlight the relevant qualifications that make you an ideal fit for the internship, emphasizing measurable accomplishments relevant to the position. 

To make a strong impression, Estrada recommends that you “use quantifiable achievements from academic or volunteer experiences to demonstrate how you can add value to the company.”

For example,

“Previously, I interned at [name of company] where I [list experience and skills gained]. I am confident that my past experience and motivation to learn make me an ideal candidate for this position.”


Wrap it up with an inviting conclusion and call to action

When you write an internship cover letter closing statement, reiterate your excitement about the fact that you’re excited about the possibility of working for the employer and that you are confident you have the expertise to be successful at the job.

Remember that you’re writing a cover letter to a specific person, so thank them for their time and consideration. You should also encourage the recipient to follow up.

For example, “Thank you for considering me for the internship. I believe I have the skills and enthusiasm needed to be successful in this position. I look forward to hearing from you soon and discussing my qualifications in greater detail.”


Sign off professionally.

When writing a cover letter for an internship, sign off with a polite, professional and formal word or phrase, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards.” Don’t sign off with personal or informal words or phrases like “Yours,” “Cheers,” or Thanks!”

Cover letter examples for an internship

Professional internship cover letter examples are valuable when writing a cover letter for an internship position because they provide insight into the best structure, format and tone of your cover letter, as well as what to include in it. 

Using an internship cover letter example is a great way to ensure that your cover letter is professional and compelling. It can help you organize your thoughts, highlight the relevant skills and experiences you have to offer, and explain why you are the right fit for the position. 

Put your best foot forward by choosing a cover letter example for an internship position below and use it for reference as you begin to write your cover letter.

Accounting Internship Cover Letter Example

Civil Enginieer Internship Cover Letter Example

Graphic Designer Internship Cover Letter Example

Law Internship Cover Letter Example

Registered Nurse Internship Cover Letter Example

10 Tips for writing an impactful cover letter for an internship position

  1. Review some internship cover letter examples in your field for guidance on what should be in a cover letter for an internship.
  2. Pay attention to formatting details such as font type and size, margins and alignment to ensure a professional appearance. Make sure to proofread carefully for grammar and spelling errors.
  3. State the exact job you are applying for so that the hiring manager can quickly identify what role you are applying for and accurately assess if you are the right fit for the role.
  4. Describe your internship goals. Describing your internship goals in a cover letter for an internship position is important because it shows potential employers that you have a plan for your future and that you are motivated and enthusiastic about the position. It also demonstrates that you are committed to accomplishing your goals and that you understand the role you are applying for and what it entails.
  5. Play up your relevant transferable, hard and soft skills in your internship cover letter. Hiring manager Gianluca Ferruggia of DesignRush recommends, “Showcase your skills: Instead of just listing them, provide examples of how you have utilized them in academic or other scenarios. If you're applying for a digital marketing internship, maybe you've boosted the social media presence of a campus club.”
  6. Display your relevant coursework, volunteer work and academic projects to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete the tasks and projects assigned to you. 
  7. Add keywords from the job description so the potential employer can identify easily that you have the necessary qualifications for the role. As a bonus, using keywords from the job description helps make your internship cover letter ATS-friendly
  8. Keep it concise: Be mindful of word count and keep your cover letter focused on relevant details. Avoid unnecessary repetition or lengthy paragraphs, and make each sentence count. See our guide on basic cover letters for additional tips from career experts. 
  9. Use action verbs to illustrate your skills, achievements and experiences.
  10. Proofread meticulously. A polished cover letter for an internship position should be free from any grammatical errors or typos. This shows hiring managers that you pay attention to the details.

How to write a cover letter for an internship position FAQ

How to write a cover letter for an internship position key takeaways

Now you know how to create a cover letter for an internship. Let’s recap what you’ve learned. 

  1. Cover letters are a necessary part of a job application and should always accompany your resume. 
  2. Examples of a cover letter for an internship in your field of interest can show you how to format your cover letter. They can also provide ideas for how to express your qualifications. 
  3. An internship cover letter is like a sales pitch, where you are the product. 
  4. Try to address your cover letter to the hiring manager or recruiter whenever possible. If you can’t find their name, it’s acceptable to use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Director of [department].”
  5. Highlight your skills and experiences with concrete examples of how you have used them to make an impact on a person or organization. 
  6. Showcase your measurable achievements, like “As a design intern at ABC Corporation, I was able to contribute to a 10% increase in customer satisfaction ratings in the first quarter of my internship.”
  7. A cover letter for an internship should close with an invitation to connect.

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