How to Write an Internship Cover Letter

Female student working on laptop at university

Today, most cover letters are written online and distributed via email. Cover letters can be written using Microsoft Word but should always be saved as a PDF to ensure they can be easily opened, the text is locked and stays in place, and it cannot be edited (accidentally or purposefully) once opened.

When possible, cover letters should be made out to someone specific at the company. If there is a contact directly listed on the internship posting, make the cover letter out to that person.

If you cannot find a contact, you can stick with “Dear Internship Coordinator” or “To Whom This May Concern”.

Cover letters should be no longer than one page. Try and stick to no more than three paragraphs. When writing your cover letter, you want to try to walk the line between passionate yet authoritative. You don’t want to come across as a fangirl or super stalker of the company but you do want to articulate your passion for the brand. Remember, you are an expert on yourself and the reasons you are the right candidate for this job – no one else. It’s your job to express your passion for the company while also powerfully stating why they should hire you and why you are a perfect fit.

The first paragraph of a cover letter should include the who, what, where, when, and why. Who are you? Where do you go to school? What’s your major? What position are you applying for? What semester is the position for?

When are you available for the internship? And why should they continue reading? What makes you the best fit for the position? Answer all of these questions in the first paragraph of your cover letter. If someone has referred you for the position, you’ll also want to include their name in this first paragraph.

You could say, “Katherine Grey was kind enough to pass along your information and provide me with information about this internship.” You could also say, “Katherine Grey suggested I apply for this internship.” If the person, whom which you are emailing your application, may not know who Katherine Grey is, take the time to explain it “Katherine Grey, from your account department, suggested I apply for the internship.”

The second paragraph of a cover letter should describe how your professional qualifications make you the best person for the position. Speak to any relevant experiences and how your previous work experience will set you up for success at this company. When deciding which experiences to describe, stick to the most impressive. If you were in an elevator with the CEO of the company you want to work for, which experiences would you talk about?

The third paragraph should touch on your personal traits that make you a great fit for the company. Try not to just list them out “I’m kind, funny, smart, honest.” Try to speak to these characteristics in a unique way. “At my last internship, I was known for my work ethic and my ability to be the first one to arrive at work and the last to leave.”

When you close the cover letter, you’ll want to thank the employer for their time and let them know you look forward to hearing back. Sign the cover letter with the word sincerely or best.