Resume Tips

How to Write a Cover Letter For an Internship (+5 Real Examples)


Trying to figure out how to write a cover letter for an internship? Look no further!

POV: After weeks and weeks of searching for the right internship opportunity, you’ve finally found it. But, at the end of the posting, there’s a single short sentence that takes you aback:  “Please, attach a cover letter to your application.”

Although some consider cover letter writing to be a relic of the past, it still holds its rightful place in the professional world. 

Because a well-written and persuasive cover letter can sometimes make up for the lack of work experience on your resume. And if you’re trying to apply for an internship, this is probably your case, too. 

So, continue reading this article and learn: 

  • What is a cover letter for an internship;
  • Whether you need to attach a cover letter to your internship application;
  • How to write one in 7 steps;
  • 5 real-life internship cover letter examples;
  • Where to look for internship advice and tips

What is a cover letter for an internship?

Generally speaking, an internship cover letter is a formal document that accompanies your resume when applying for an internship. 

When it comes to its content, a cover letter for an internship falls somewhere between a traditional cover letter and a motivational letter

  • A traditional cover letter, used by job applicants with years of experience, is supposed to underline some of the candidate’s most relevant and impressive skills, qualifications, and work achievements
  • A motivational letter, used mostly in academia, aims to communicate one’s passion for the subject, their motivation, and personal goals

Hence, a cover letter for an internship combines the purpose of the traditional cover letter (convincing the recruiters that you’re the right person for the job) with the tone and strategy of the motivational letter (writing about personal motivations and goals).

A truly successful internship cover letter should answer the following questions:

  • Who are you? 
  • Why are you interested in this particular internship?
  • Why are you the best fit for this internship?
  • What do you want to gain from this internship?

Do you need a cover letter for an internship?

Absolutely! 

In fact, you should always attach a cover letter to your internship application, even if it isn’t explicitly required from you.  

Why, you ask? 

Well, consider this: Internships are crucial stepping stones towards your dream career. And they’re also incredibly competitive. A single internship opening can be answered by tens of applicants at a time. 

But how can you stand out from a crowd of equally inexperienced candidates? Certainly not by your non-existent professional accomplishments, right? 

When companies look for interns, they don’t expect you to have a ton of real-life experience. They aren’t looking for a “finished product,” but for someone with a genuine desire to learn and enthusiasm for the job. 

And these two are your weapons of choice!

How can a cover letter for an internship help you?

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, your internship cover letter is also responsible for: 

  • Conveying first impression. Usually, recruiters will read your cover letter before looking at your resume. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to them in a memorable way. 
  • Showing your efforts. Next, taking the time to craft a thoughtful cover letter shows that you’re willing to put in that extra effort to stand out from the rest of the candidates. 
  • Highlighting your communication skills. Also, a well-written cover letter demonstrates your ability to articulate your thoughts clearly and professionally. 
  • Showing your professionalism. When you walk into a room, it’s polite to introduce yourself and shake everybody’s hand. This is exactly what a cover letter does! To attach one to your application is a common courtesy.
how to write a cover letter for an internship

How to write a cover letter for an internship in 7 steps

Now that you’re familiar with the whats and whys, let’s have a look at how to write a good cover letter for an internship step-by-step. 

  1. Specify which internship you’re applying for in the subject line.

    For example: Application for [name of the internship] internship – Surname.

  2. Include your contact information in a header.

    Then, place your contact information (your name; professional email address; phone number; link to your website/portfolio/social media accounts if relevant) directly into the header.

  3. Address the recipient appropriately.

    If you know the recipient’s name, address them by “Dear [full name],” or “Dear Mrs/Mr [last name],”. If you don’t know who to address the cover letter to, address it more generally to “Dear Hiring Manager,” .

  4. Introduce yourself and your motivations in the opening paragraph.

    In the first paragraph of your cover letter, start by stating your name and where you studied (including your current degree and year of study). Proceed by explaining how you came to know about the internship and what are your motivations for applying to it.

  5. Elaborate on why you’re a good fit and what motivated you in body.

    Since you don’t have much work experience, you can talk about your academic achievements; relevant coursework; dissertation project; extracurricular activities; volunteering; membership in relevant societies, etc.

  6. End your cover letter with a confident closing paragraph.

    The closing paragraph of your cover letter should reiterate your desire to get the specific internship, express gratitude to the recipient for their time and consideration, and include a final call for action (i.e. “I look forward to discussing the next steps during an interview.”)

  7. Finish off with a polite sign off.

    Finally, based on how you greeted the recipient of your cover letter, you can sign off with eitherYours sincerely,” or Yours faithfully,”. If you addressed the recruiter by their name, sign off with the former; if not, use the latter.

Don’t feel like writing your internship cover letter by hand?

Let our AI cover letter writer create the first draft of your internship cover letter!

AI Cover Letter Writer

5 Real-life internship cover letter examples

Undoubtedly, the best way to learn something is to look at specific examples. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do right now! 

Below, we’ve prepared 5 internship cover letters written by real people with the help of our cover letter templates.

And, each of them is accompanied by our internship cover letter writing tips that you can implement into your own cover letter! 

FYI, you can use each of these examples as the first draft for your very own internship cover letter – simply click on the red button and start personalising the text (or let AI handle it).

#1 Philips Marketing Intern Cover Letter Sample

What can you take away?

  • Eye-catching header. Firstly, the header is visually clearly separated from the rest of the text. This makes the recruiters notice it immediately. Plus, the contact information of the company is also featured in the left-hand corner – just like it would be on an actual letter.
  • Research the company before applying. Notice sentences like: “I really like and relate to what Philips stands for …” and “Furthermore, it is very appealing that Philips operates on an international level…”.This shows that the candidate’s done a thorough research of the company’s philosophy and structure.

#2 Warner Bros. Public Relations Intern Cover Letter Example

What can you take away?

  • Share a personal story. This can help you establish a sentimental connection between you and the company. Show them that for you, working for their company means more than any old internship.
  • Name-drop a referral. Now, this is a little bit of a cheat code. But, if you happen to know about anyone who has worked/currently works for the company, slip their name into your cover letter.

#3 University of Massachusetts Boston Intern Cover Letter Example

What can you take away? 

  • Write about what you want to gain from the internship. It shows that you’re not there just to have something to put on your resume; but that you’re motivated by the idea of gaining actual industry knowledge and skills.

#4 Audit/Tax Summer Internship at CohnReznick Cover Letter Sample

What can you take away?

#5 Intern at NBC Cover Letter Sample

What can you take away?

  • Keep your opening and closing paragraphs short and sweet. As you can see in this example, it helps keep a certain visual harmony of the overall document. And, despite the length, both paragraphs do exactly what they’re supposed to. Besides, recruiters might be discouraged to read the rest of your cover letter if your introductory paragraph is too long.

Key takeaways: How to write a cover letter for an internship

To sum it all up, an internship cover letter is a formal document that you submit together with your resume when applying for an internship. Its content should be something between a traditional cover letter and a motivational letter.

Its purpose is to introduce yourself to the recruiters in a more personal way than the resume allows. 

The main things you want your internship cover letter to communicate are:

  • who you are,
  • why you’re interested in this opportunity,
  • what make you the best fit for the internship, 
  • your motivation (your long-term professional goals),
  • your desire to learn (what you want to gain from the experience).

To write a truly impactful and persuasive cover letter, we recommend following these 7 key steps: 

  1. Specify which internship you’re applying for in the subject line.
  2. Include your contact information in a header.
  3. Address the recipient appropriately.
  4. Introduce yourself & your motivations in the opening paragraph.
  5. Elaborate on why you’re a good fit and what motivated you in body.
  6. End your cover letter with a confident closing paragraph.
  7. Finish off with a polite sign off. 

Finally, if you feel that the examples provided in this article aren’t enough, you can always find more in our cover letter database





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