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How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship Position [20+ Tips]

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship Position [20+ Tips]

We're about to learn how to make a cover letter for an internship. First: 


When I graduated college, I had to write a cover letter for a Watson Fellowship.


That's an internship on steroids. It's a highly competitive full-year paid stint overseas.


I was chosen out of 60 applicants.


I knew I had a shot when one of them read my intern cover letter and lamented, "Your whole life led

up to this."


It really didn't. I just had a great coach.


Now, so do you.


This guide will show you:


  • How to write a cover letter for an internship that blows away the rest.
  • Great internship cover letter examples that will get your resume read carefully.
  • The best format for a cover letter for an internship.
  • How to make an intern cover letter that hiring managers pay attention to.


Here's a sample cover letter for an internship made with our fast online cover letter tool. Want to write your letter in 15 minutes? Use our cover letter templates and build your version here.


infographic about how to write a cover letter for internship

Internship Cover Letter Sample—see cover letter templates and start writing here.


You know why that internship cover letter template is so perfect? It follows the following rules.


How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship


  1. Point out the particular position you’re applying for.
  2. Include the right keywords.
  3. List your relevant education and coursework.
  4. Add relevant skills and abilities.
  5. Describe why you’re the perfect match for the internship role.
  6. Explain what the company will gain by hiring you.
  7. Proofread your cover letter.


Let's put these rules into practise and take a look at dozens of examples of good internship letters to speed you on your way.


And if you want to learn how to write an internship resume, check: The Perfect Resume for an Internship (20+ Examples)




Choose the Right Internship Letter Format


Here's a bad dream:


You're going for the best internship ever.


It's got great pay, extreme exposure to real work, and high-level mentors.


But you showed up to the interview in a dingy Hello Kitty sweatshirt.


A poor intern cover letter format can have the same effect.


If you don't know how to write a cover letter for an internship, you can come off sloppy.


Use the three paragraphs format. It's professional, lean, and shows your best features in a tantalizing way.


Internship Cover Letter Format Example


Use this sample marketing internship cover letter template to create your letter now.


Business Letter Example


Giovanna Darcy

Graphic Designer

3797 Stadium Drive

Attleboro, MA 02703





Larissa Mamet

Paralith Marketing, Inc.

3703 C Street

Boston, MA 02110


Dear Larissa,


[First Paragraph – A "Hook" and Why You're Perfect for the Internship]


[Second Paragraph – The Offer]


[Third Paragraph – The Call to Action (CTA)]


Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


Giovanna Darcy


That's the stripped-down internship cover letter format for students. Use it, and you've got a chance to look like Sheldon Cooper in the rough.




Next, I'll show you what to include in that internship cover letter template so it shines out like a rescue flare.


Pro Tip: Need to write an email internship cover letter? Use the format above, but leave off the addresses at the top. Add your contact info at the bottom.


Need to know who to address a business letter to, or how to write a "To Whom it May Concern"

cover letter? See this guide: "How to Address a Cover Letter: Sample & Guide [20+ Examples]"



Convince the Recruiter to Read on With Your First Paragraph


There's the hiring manager. His name's Logan.


He's read 299 internship cover letters from students this week.


He just grabbed yours.


He also rolled his eyes. That's bad.


Your letter needs to hook him right away.


That happens with the right first paragraph.


Internship Cover Letter Examples [First Paragraph]


Check out these examples of how to write a cover letter for an internship:



I would love to get this graphic design internship. If you hire me, I'll work extremely hard and bring all my considerable passion to bear as your dedicated employee. I've completed rigorous coursework at UMass Boston to earn my BA in design. In addition...


What's wrong with that graphic design internship cover letter sample? Nothing, if it's the only one the manager reads.


But after a couple hundred, it's the prose equivalent of shampoo instructions. Everybody applying for this internship will promise to work hard. Everybody just earned a degree.



I was so excited when my protein shake packaging design was shortlisted for an Adobe Design Achievement Award.


It was no accident. Design has been a passion of mine since I was ten. I treated the coursework for my B.A. in Design at UMass Boston as a jumping-off point. My classes lit the way, but I dug in deeper with several extracurricular pursuits.


See? That first part shakes the manager from his stupor.


The second tells a compelling tale of the world's best match for this position.


Pro Tip: Writing an internship cover letter with no experience? Lead with an impressive fact. That could be an award you won, or just a compliment you got.


Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:


matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.



Need more help to write the best cover letter for an internship you can? See this guide: "How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]"



Make an Offer in an Intern Cover Letter Second Paragraph


Imagine someone rings your doorbell.


It's a grade-schooler. Her name's Sue. She impresses you with a story about how she saved the lives of 30 puppies.


She forgets to tell you she is selling Girl Scout cookies. Had you known, you would have bought a case from her.


Your internship cover letter needs to make an offer.


Do that in the second paragraph.


Look at the difference in these two engineering internship cover letter examples.


Internship Cover Letter Examples [Paragraph #2]


See if you can spot what's wrong in this first example of how to write a cover letter for an internship.



I did very well in my engineering core coursework. I excelled in differential equations, computer science, and physics. I learned about time management, collaboration, and problem solving. I also...


Let's translate that to English: It says, "I'm great. Gimme."


But what's in it for the hiring manager?


Now check out this next good cover letter sample.



Antido Inc.'s commitment to developing its interns far beyond mere clock-punching speaks directly to my voracious appetite for continued growth. I expect to grow my already award-nominated skill set to improve your quality, cost, and lead times, much as I did during my senior project in product development.


See that? "I can help you, and here's how." You've transformed yourself from ballast to a rocket pack.


Pro Tip: How can your letter of interest make a great offer? First find out what the company needs. Learn it in the job offer and by researching the company online.


Need to know how to start a cover letter for a nursing internship or IT internship? See our guide: "How to Start a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [20+ Examples]"



Add the All-Important Call To Action (CTA)


So far your internship letter is firing on all cylinders.


It's got a great hook.


The first paragraph shows you fit the job. The second makes an offer like the Minions made to Gru.


Now it has to ask for something.


That's the Call to Action (CTA).


It's easy to say, "Can I have an interview?"


It's more effective to write, "Can we discuss how I can help?"


Internship Cover Letter Examples [The CTA]


Why does this example of how to write a cover letter for an internship fall flat?



I would love the chance to talk more with you.


That's not awful. But it doesn't sizzle like this next computer science internship cover letter sample:



I would love to put my passion and skill to work for you. Can we schedule a call to discuss winning awards and accolades for Ultrafy?


Why does that work better? Because even as ask you ask for something, you're still giving something too.


Pro Tip: Other examples of what should be in a cover letter for an internship position? Passion, name dropping, a fact you love about the company, or an eye-catching achievement.


Need to lock down the format for your internship cover letter? See this guide: "Cover Letter Formats: A Complete How-To Guide [10+ Examples]"



Include Bullet Points in a Cover Letter for an Internship


You know what the hiring manager sees as she reads intern cover letter #229?


"Words words words..."


Like a robot reading out the phone book.


Want to hook her optic nerve up to her brain again?


Use bullet points.


They highlight your best accomplishments. Put them in your second paragraph, like in this good human resources internship cover letter example:



In addition to my college coursework, I dug in deeper with:


  • Extensive extra-curricular reading of over 200 books on HR, hiring, and corporate culture
  • Conducting a weekly podcast with interviews of 100+ top dHR pros(and 1500+ subscribers).
  • Freelance work on nights, weekends, and in the summers as a fill-in recruiter for small money but with great return in terms of lessons learned.


Wow. Now you couldn't pry the manager away with a pneumatic jack.


It blows away this next sample of how to write a cover letter for an internship:



 I didn't just complete my coursework. I also read extensively in the HR and business fields. Further, I created a podcast and interviewed a new HR pro almost every week. I also did freelance recruiting work on nights and weekends. In addition...


See? Word wall. Meanwhile, the hiring manager has dozed off in her macchiato.


Pro Tip: When writing a letter of interest, spend most of your time learning what the hiring manager needs. Then figure out how you can give it.


Want more help to write a judicial or engineering internship cover letter that stands above the pack? See our guide: "Cover Letter - Guide, Tips and Free Examples. Read More!"



Consider Using a Table in Your Internship Cover Letter


True or false:


You want to make things as hard as possible for the hiring manager.


Of course you want to make things easy.


A table format is a risky choice that does just that.


It connects the dots. It lets the busy hiring manager hear the click as you fit snugly into the job description.


Internship Cover Letter Example [Table]


Here's how to write a cover letter for an internship that includes a table:




Internship Cover Letter Example

You're Looking For:

I've Accomplished:

Someone who can wow with web designs.

My web design professor said, "Your work leaps off the screen."

An intern with passion for the job beyond just earning money.

In the past four years, I've read over 200 non-assigned books on design, art, and business.

Skill with mobile design.

A mobile freelance client said, "Your work is beyond my wildest dreams."




Tables work in a letter of application because they show you understand the internship. They also show you're a good pick.


Warning: Some managers can't stand tables in business letters. Use them at your own risk.


Pro Tip: If you can't find a way to impress the recruiter, make one. Volunteer for the company's favorite charity. Take a class in the manager's favorite subject.


Do you really need an intern cover letter? See our guide: Are Cover Letters Necessary?



End an Internship Cover Letter on a High Note


Imagine you're 20-year-old golf sensation Lydia Ko.


You're tied for first place in the U.S. Open.


It's the 18th hole. You've got the perfect backswing. Your form's immaculate.


But you still have to hit the ball.


You've got to close your internship cover letter with a bang.


End your letter with a thank you, a space, and then your name.


Like this:


Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,
Steve Howeth


Need other ways to end an internship cover letter for college students? Try these:


  • Best regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • Respectfully,
  • Thank you for your time,
  • Kind regards,


Pro Tip: Writing a research or marketing internship cover letter with no experience? Network. Get to know someone at the company, then drop their name in your letter.


Already know how to write a cover letter for an internship? Want to end it? See our guide: "How to End a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [+20 Examples]"



Internship Cover Letter Tips


You almost got the internship.




What did you do wrong?


It wasn't your hook or your three paragraphs. Those were great.


Your problem? You spelled "detail-oriented" wrong and didn't notice it.


The hiring manager laughed so hard she popped her Spongebob stress ball.


Follow these internship cover letter tips to dot your i's and cross your t's.


Match to Win


Fit your intern cover letter format to your resume. The styles should match.


How to Write a "To Whom it May Concern" Cover Letter


Don't know the hiring manager's name? Try one of these:


  • Dear Nursing Team Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Software Development Hiring Team,
  • Graphic Design Intern Search Committee,
  • Internship Recruitment Team,


Those work because they get specific, even as they lack details.


Writing an Internship Cover Letter [Format Tips]


Don't miss these tips on grammar, spacing, proofreading, and font.


Best Font for an Internship Cover Letter. Use fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Cambria in the 10-12 point size.


Proofread. Use spell checking and grammar checking. You should also set your intern cover letter aside for a day and then come back to it. Better still, have a grammar-savvy friend give it a look.


How long should a cover letter for an internship be? 200 words is long enough. Anything longer will make the hiring manager's eyes glaze over.


Line Spacing. An internship cover letter should be single spaced. Add a line space after each paragraph.


How to Write a Cover Letter Email for an Internship


Writing an email cover letter? The only difference between email and paper letters is how you list the contact information. Cut it from the top. Then add only your contact info after you sign off.


List your:


  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Personal Website (If Any)


Like this:


Dear Internship Hiring Manager,

[First Paragraph – Hook and Why You Fit the Internship]


[Second Paragraph – The Offer]


[Third Paragraph – The Call to Action (CTA)]


Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


Giovanni Darcy



Pro Tip: If you save your internship application letter as a PDF, put the text in your email too. That'll make it easier for recruiters to find you in an email search.


Want more advice for how to really nail your law or accounting internship cover letter? See our guide: "Why Should We Hire You? Best Answers (6 Proven Examples)"


Key Takeaway


Knowing how to write a cover letter for an internship makes all the difference. 


Here's how to write a cover letter for an internship:


  • Use the three paragraphs format. It's short, conveys the necessary info, and wins the hiring manager over like a Jedi mind trick.
  • Start your internship cover letter with a hook that keeps recruiters reading. A big accomplishment works great.
  • Make an offer in your first two paragraphs. Your intern cover letter ought to give more than it takes.


Want to know more about how to write a cover letter for a summer internship? Maybe you found the best way to write an internship cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments! We love to help!

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Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a career expert who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
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