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How To Write a Cover Letter for an Internship
Recruitment season is stressful enough. Having to write a cover letter for internship applications doesn’t make it any easier. Crafting a cover letter may take some thought and energy. However, it’s an essential part of pitching yourself as the right applicant for the job. Let’s talk about how to write a cover letter for an internship that will grab the employer’s attention and make them want to learn more.
Why do you need a cover letter?
Many employers require a cover letter in order to learn more about your fit for the position. Writing a cover letter gives you an opportunity to highlight your strengths and past accomplishments. It also allows you to express your passion for the role and expound on any experiences that your resume couldn’t quite do justice.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for recruiters to get a full picture of you based on basic facts and statistics. In your cover letter, you can give them a better idea of who you are and what you bring to the table.
Related: How to write an essay about yourself
How to write an eye-catching cover letter
While your cover letter may be time-consuming, it can also be the most fun part of the application. Unlike the repetitive process of filling out your work history section, your cover letter calls for more creativity and personality.
Since recruiters have a lot of applications to get through, concision is key. Many recommend limiting your cover letter to about 250-300 words. In order to achieve that, you’ll want to focus on a few main points that will stick with the reader. It’s also important to use simple formatting and short paragraphs to make it easy to read.
Walking you through it
Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step guide to writing an internship cover letter to wow your recruiter:
Create a header with your name and contact information
Many recruitment experts recommend using a business letter format for your cover letter. However, you have a little flexibility in this area, as long as your layout is skimmable and professional. A quick Google search will find you a wide selection of suitable templates. Just make sure that it includes all of the key components:
- your name in bold
- multiple contact methods (email, phone number, LinkedIn)
- the date you’re sending the letter.
Greet the reader and introduce yourself
When writing your greeting, it’s important to make your letter sound as personal as possible. If you know the name of the hiring manager, you can catch their attention by addressing them directly. Otherwise, you can still personalize your greeting by saying something like, “Dear [department name] hiring team.” However, if you’re unsure at all, you can always opt for something like, “Dear hiring manager,” or “Dear Recruiter.”
When introducing yourself, you’ll want to take the opportunity to draw the reader in. It’s easy to start out every letter by stating your school year and major. Unfortunately, that probably won’t set you apart from the rest. Instead, begin by stating the exact position that you’re applying for. Then bring up your skills, interests or experiences that make you perfect for the job.
“I’m excited to apply for the marketing internship at [ABC Company]. Through my experience using social media outreach to expand my sorority’s recruitment efforts over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about how college students interact with digital marketing. I would love to share my perspective and experience when working on the campaign for your new product this summer.”
Talk about what makes you a qualified candidate
After you hook the reader, you’ll want to get into the specifics of what makes you a strong applicant. Here, you can talk about any accomplishments or experiences that prepared you for the internship. If you don’t have any work experience to point to, no worries! Instead, you can talk about class projects, student organizations or volunteer work.
It’s important to tailor your content to the position’s requirements. Feel free to read over the job description once more to get a sense of what they’re looking for. Once you know what the company wants in a candidate, you can think about which of your experiences align most closely. Some recommend that you choose keywords and phrases from the job description to include in your letter. This can definitely work in your favor when done subtly. However, be wary of overdoing it at the risk of coming across as robotic and disingenuous.
Try to bring up specific numbers and statistics when possible. Concrete metrics will give the recruiter a better sense of your project’s impact. If you don’t know exact numbers, you can also quantify your responsibilities by specifying volume or frequency. Without some level of detail, the reader won’t be able to get a clear picture of your responsibilities and may assume the least.
“During my time as the marketing chair of my sorority, I’ve grown our social media following by 60% over the course of a year.”
Share why you think you’re a great fit
In this section, you’ll want to connect your qualifications with the company’s mission and values. Before you start writing, it may be a good idea to do some more research on the company.
Read employee reviews on Glassdoor or Indeed to learn about the culture. Look into their competitors to find out what sets them apart. Skim through their recent news to see if anything stands out about their new products or public announcements. Think about your personal connection to the company. In other words, try to identify what draws you to this company in particular. After you’ve figured that out, you’ll be able to talk about what you’ll add to the team if you get the job.
“When I became the web editor for my high school newspaper, I used ABC Company’s free tool to analyze our subscriber base and allocate our targeted advertising budget based on my findings.”
Close out the letter by stating how you can add value
Since you’ll want to keep your cover letter concise, there’s no need to repeat or summarize your main points. However, you will want to leave your reader with a strong conclusion. In order to make an impression, you can briefly state how you plan to help use your skills to help advance the company’s mission.
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“I would love to schedule a call to further discuss how my analytical approach to marketing can fit in at your company.”
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Here is a sample cover letter for an internship:
[email protected] | (555) 555-555 | 123 Maple Lane, City, State 55555
February 1, 2021
Dear Ms. Abrams,
I’m excited to apply for the marketing internship at ABC Company. Through my experience using social media outreach to expand my sorority’s recruitment efforts over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about how college students interact with digital marketing. I would love to share my perspective and experience when working on the campaign for your new product this summer.
During my time as the marketing chair of my sorority, I’ve grown our social media following by 60% over the course of a year. I achieved this growth by creating a consistent schedule of three posts and two stories per week. In order to streamline the process, I worked with our design lead to brainstorm and create each post one month ahead of time. Then I used Google Sheets and the PLANOLY app to organize and schedule the posts.
I’ve found that using software to take care of operations frees up more time and energy to focus on the more creative aspects of content creation. I’m excited to use my time management skills as an intern at ABC Company to handle the varied needs of the marketing department.
When I became the web editor for my high school newspaper, I used ABC Company’s free tool to analyze our subscriber base and allocate our targeted advertising budget based on my findings. Since then, I’ve continued to pursue data-driven marketing through my statistics minor and extracurriculars.
Through campaigns like X and Y, I’ve continuously seen ABC Company on the cutting edge of the digital marketing industry. I would love to use my skills and perspective to further the reach of your communications and marketing efforts.
I would love to schedule a call to further discuss how my analytical approach to marketing can fit in at your company.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Learning how to write a cover letter for an internship may seem tough at first. Still, it’s an important part of selling yourself to your potential employer. If you start by thinking about why you want the job and believe that you deserve it, it may be easier than you think.
Next steps for students
As you’re applying to internships, it’s a good idea to contextualize the opportunities in terms of your goals for the future. Internships can help you decide what to major in and what field to pursue. As you’re looking for summer internships, you may also want to look for on-campus employment opportunities. Sometimes, professors need research assistants or other similar roles that can help you build experience and make connections in your field.
You should also consider that some colleges offer programs that subsidize their students to take unpaid summer internships. If you find an internship that interests you greatly but is unpaid, try reaching out to administrators at your college. Every college wants its graduates to succeed in the workforce, so they will do whatever they can to ensure you graduate with the necessary experience to land a job.
Many colleges also have extensive alumni networks and other career development services. As you look for internships, try reaching out to your school’s career development office to find opportunities that favor students from your school. Finding an internship working under an alumni of your school is a great opportunity to receive mentorship and land a role you wouldn’t otherwise qualify for.
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