When applying for an internship, employers might request a cover letter along with your resume, references, and other required documents. Truth be told, a cover letter is one of the best ways to convey why you are the best candidate for the internship.
Furthermore, it is an important way to showcase how your unique combination of skills and experience meets the key requirements. Also, it is your chance to show a clear link between your knowledge, experience, and abilities and the needs of the employer.
In short, a good internship cover letter must convince the employer you’ve got the skills, willingness, and determination to succeed in your internship role. You can think of it as a sort of motivational letter, in case this is intended for a scholarship application.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a cover letter for internship positions that will get you more interviews than any cover letter you’ve written in the past.
Plus, you’ll get to see 3 full-length internship cover letter examples you can take inspiration to write your own.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a single-page letter written to the institution or organization offering the internship program you’re applying for.
Furthermore, a well-written cover letter should introduce you and encourage the person reading it to read your resume.
In fact, writing a cover letter should be part of every internship application you make, unless there are clear instructions not to send one.
These resources will help you understand how to write a cover letter for an internship and how to make it the best it can be.
The Structure of a Good Internship Cover Letter
Actually, the structure of your cover letter for an internship should be like the structure of a regular cover letter.
Therefore, without relevant real work experiences to include, you’ll want to include experiences from school, focusing on your classes and extracurricular activities.
Then, think about what you have recently learned that you could apply to this internship, or how an organization you are involved with taught you leadership or time management skills. Now, these are things you will want to include in your cover letter.
1. The Opening
In the opening paragraph, you should describe how you heard about the internship or what you know about the company and demonstrate your interest in the internship.
For instance, include relevant information about yourself including your major, education level, and interests that apply to this internship.
Also, if you found something interesting about the company during your research, include that as it shows your interest and passion for the company. For example, this could be an upcoming project that you would like to be a part of.
2. The Body
Then, in the next few paragraphs, you’ll want to review the internship description and highlight a few qualities that make you a great fit for the internship.
Actually, you can draw from any area of your life.
That being said, if you have volunteer experience that taught you customer service or played sports that taught discipline and leadership, include that in your cover letter if it is relevant to the internship.
Also, don’t forget to show how your skills can benefit the company, not the other way around.
It can be tricky when writing a cover letter for an internship because you’re looking for so much from the company in order to learn and gain experience.
However, you want to make sure to keep the company’s needs at the forefront of your cover letter. That way, it will set you apart and make you a more desirable choice for the internship.
3. The Closing
In the closing paragraph, don’t forget to reiterate your interest in the company along with your passion for the industry and your contact information.
Ideally, your final sentence should leave the hiring manager feeling like your experiences have prepared you for this opportunity, so make sure to end strong.
How to Write a Good Cover Letter for Internship Positions
Here are some specific pointers on how to make the most of a cover letter for an internship.
1. Make It All About the Company
Step one is to introduce yourself and why you’re interested in this particular internship.
As a student, you’ll probably instinctively want to write about all the things you’re excited to learn on the job. Including some of that is fine, but remember that applying for an internship at a company isn’t the same as applying for college.
In other words, companies are more invested in what you have to offer them than what they have to offer you. Or, put more bluntly, they have no reason to care about you yet. Hence, you have to give them one.
A better way to show your enthusiasm is to be specific about why you’re interested in this company. For instance, you can make an effort to answer the following questions:
- What makes it special?
- Is their product one of a kind or solving an important problem in a unique way?
- Are they working toward a particular mission that resonates with you?
Avoid being impressed in a generic way. If you can say the same thing about another company, then you’re not being specific enough.
Anyway, it can feel a little weird to be too fawning, but it’s fine in small doses. After all, companies have internships because they are trying to create a recruiting pipeline. Therefore, letting them know you’re a fan of their work or at least very interested in the industry is a good idea.
2. Mention Relevant Projects, Extracurriculars, and Classes
Actually, it’s okay to have no directly relevant work experience. Then, the next best thing is to choose two examples of things you’ve done that are as closely related to the role as possible. Next, go into detail about the parts of the work that are most relevant.
In this part, you’re trying to tell a story and you want the reader to understand that the next logical step in it is the exact internship you’re applying for. In other words, you want to give the reader an “It all makes sense!” moment.
Ideally, you’re choosing things that aren’t too far off from the professional experience. For starters, it could be an independent project where you can show off some technical skills, or leadership experience in a student organization to get across those all-important soft skills.
Furthermore, experiences with a competitive element to them are great, too—think hackathons and case competitions.
If you must, you can mention coursework as well. In general, though, recruiters and hiring managers are less excited about projects where a clear solution already exists.
That being said, there are always exceptions, of course. Since class projects are more creative and don’t involve a clean, preset answer might also be a good option.
3. Stitch Together Your Skills
Of course, there’s always the possibility that nothing you’ve done feels relevant. That’s fine, too. After all, everyone has to start somewhere!
So, if you really can’t find any related work to write about, choose three experiences you feel comfortable talking about. Then, pick and choose the parts that illustrate the skills you bring to the table.
On the other hand, you might not have any professional work experience, but anyone recruiting interns will be interested in someone who is reliable, enthusiastic, detail-oriented, and a good communicator.
Thus, throw in that you’re a fast learner who has taken a few relevant classes and you’ll have a fair shot.
Samples of Internship Cover Letter
Internship Cover Letter Example: Accounting
Madison, WI 12345
Dear Ms. Amy Hart,
Not many people can say that they always wanted to be an accountant, but I’ve always been unique. My mom was an accountant, and I remember sitting beside her, just 10 years old, going through pages of records. I lived for that feeling of pride when everything added up. When I saw that you were looking for an accounting intern, I knew it was the perfect fit—both for me and for XYZ Company.
I am a rising junior, pursuing my Bachelor of Accounting at University College. Having taken courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, and investment risk, I am ready to apply my classroom learning and personal experience to excel at your company. Throughout my sophomore year of college, I honed my accounting skills as the treasurer for Gamma Phi Beta. My attention to detail in identifying and correcting accounting errors led to a 6% reduction in annual costs. Additionally, I spent last summer working at a local restaurant, where I aided the business in implementing Xero to monitor their business expenses and revenue.
I am excited to kick-start my career at XYZ Company while helping you minimize risks and increase efficiencies. My resume expands on my experience and accomplishments. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Internship Cover Letter Example: Graphic Design
Mr. Mark Stevens
Los Angeles, CA 56789
Dear Mr. Stevens:
I don’t only think outside the box—I draw outside the lines. When I discovered your graphic design internship on Chegg Internships, I couldn’t wait to bring my creativity and enthusiasm to XYZ Magazine, a publication I’ve long admired for its willingness to take risks. As a junior majoring in graphic design at University College, I’m excited by the opportunity to produce new ideas and concepts alongside your team of industry leaders. Here’s what I’ll bring to XYZ Magazine:
- Foundational coursework: I have completed courses in electronic media and culture, graphic design, typography, and photoimaging, and am adept in Adobe Creative Suite.
- Campus involvement: For the past two years, I’ve been a member of the Graphic Design Club. As a 25-person student-run organization, we work to create impactful, attractive websites for local nonprofits, free of cost. The website we designed for our local animal shelter led to a 26% increase in donations last year.
- Professional experience: As an employee with the Student Activities Office, I design marketing materials for on-campus events, such as Fall Fest, Spring Carnival, and our annual concert.
You’re looking for an intern who can take client ideas and turn them into a reality. I’m that intern, and I can’t wait to work with you. For more information, you can view my portfolio at hkerningportfolio.com. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Internship Cover Letter Example: Psychology
Ms. Jeanne Smith
Counseling and Psychology
Youth Counseling Center
Montgomery, AL 56789
Dear Ms. Smith:
High school was hard for me—I was overwhelmed by the pressure, scared of leaving home for college, and figuring out who I was as I moved from child to teenager to adult. But thanks to an amazing counselor, I made it through. Now, I’m excited to pay it forward as I embark on a career in psychology. When I discovered the Youth Counseling Center’s psychology internship on Chegg Internships, I knew it was a perfect fit. As a junior majoring in psychology at University College, I looking forward to helping youth deal with stress and manage emotional and behavioral issues. My background includes:
- Academic success: After completing courses in behavioral medicine and health psychology, abnormal psychology, abnormal behavior in childhood, and group dynamics, I have a major GPA of 3.75.
- Volunteer experience: For the past three semesters, I have volunteered with the Special Olympics to provide one-on-one coaching to youth and adults with developmental disabilities.
- Communication skills: Last year, I served as a resident advisor at University College, where I supported students academically and emotionally, while fostering a sense of community and referring students to appropriate services as needed.
I look forward to supporting and learning from your team of experts while shadowing case managers and attending mental health meetings. My attached resume further expands on my experience and skill set. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.