How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship (The Complete Guide)

Author —
Astley
May 17, 2021
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There’s a good chance your hiring managers are going to ask you for a cover letter if you’re applying for an internship. 

While cover letters aren’t always necessary, there are special cases. 

A good example being, if you’ve been asked specifically to submit one.

When looking at how to write a cover letter for an internship, it’s one of the best ways to highlight and go in-depth on your personal traits, skills and qualifications. You’ll have the chance to express all the things to show what makes you the best person for the opportunity and why you’re an ideal candidate.

We’ve broken down an internship cover letter example later on in this guide and I’ll also be sharing how you can create a cover letter in less than five minutes. 

If that sounds interesting to you, be sure to stay until the end!

The Standard Cover Letter Format

The standard cover letter format includes the following:

  • The header section
  • Opening paragraph
  • Main body
  • Closing paragraph
  • Salutation & signoff

It’s the same for what every good cover letter should include, even if you have no work experience. However, to make up for not meeting all the desired requirements for the job, it’s important to demonstrate your passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

How to Write a Cover Letter For an Internship

The purpose of a cover letter is to show why you’re the best person to hire for the role

When asking for an internship, it’s important to make the most of everything you have and use it to your advantage to position yourself as the ideal candidate. After having completed your ATS resume, your cover letter needs to go into more specifics. 

We’ve listed 5 steps with some extra advice at the end to polish your application. The first step being:

1. Spend Time Researching Into The Company 

Before even starting your cover letter, it’s a good idea to do the diligent research into the internship and company you’re making an application for. 

To match the company values and expectations, you’ll need to refer back to the job description and company website. For example, check out their homepage and about page to see if there are any particular qualities being highlighted. 

This will give you a firm understanding of what their working culture is like and what they value.

When you take note of this and implement them on your cover letter, it makes your application more personalized and shows the employer the effort you’ve put in. 

2. Write The Introduction & Opening Paragraph 

Start strong by directly addressing why you’re making an application.

After the opening salutation, you should introduce yourself and make a statement to why you want to take on the internship opportunity. Mention how you came across the opportunity too - it’s even better if you’ve been referred by someone from the inside.

Also, don't forget to also give them a bit of background about yourself. 

If you have any connections to anyone from inside the company who referred you, it’s advantageous to mention this as well. Employee referrals makes the hiring managers' job easier and tends to give them something to look forward to when meeting you in person for the interview.

Keep in mind that this cover letter is all about them. Don’t go off track by talking about yourself too much without relating back to their needs!

3. Include Education, Relevant Certifications, Training & Coursework

Qualifications are a form of proof of showing your level of knowledge and capability. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean your GPA or grades define how skilled or capable you are. But, it’s a solid indication of how knowledgeable you are in the field. 

Any relevant training, coursework or certifications you have will all play a part in showing how qualified you are, and if you’re a good fit for the internship. Despite not being too familiar with the corporate environment, your qualifications can still suggest you’re prepared and ready.

4. Work Experience, Extracurricular Activities or Achievements 

If you have any work experience at all including volunteering, it’s always worth including and talking about. Ultimately, you’ll have somewhat developed skills and familiarity for what the real working environment is like, what working as a team is like, and what it’s like to work under pressure.

As you’re talking about any past achievements or extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in, always keep it relevant by relating back to the job description and focusing on your skills. 

For example, if you’re applying for a digital marketing internship and you’ve grown a blog in your spare time, talk about it! You can also mention that it’s given you more confidence to work in the digital marketing profession.

If you have a competitive amount of work experience, you could mention this first before your education and academic details.

Or, do you have no work experience at all?

You might find our other guide extremely helpful: How to Write a Cover Letter With No Work Experience Whatsoever

5. Close Correctly

In your closing paragraph of your cover letter, make a summary to highlight why you’re the best person for the internship. To finalize it nicely and place the cherry on top, you should be radiating enthusiasm. 

Finally, set the future pace by touching on what happens next, e.g. schedule an interview or for a follow up email. 

Extra Tips on Cover Letters for an Internship

Now you should have a pretty good idea for how to write a cover letter for an internship. Even though you might be lacking in work experience, you can always use your years of education, qualifications, personality and interests to your advantage. 

Don’t forget - you should always be making the most from everything you’ve got. 

Before analyzing our internship cover letter example, there are still a couple more things you shouldn’t forget to do, this includes:

  • Tailoring your cover letter
  • Including power words & ATS keywords
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Passions & interests
  • Stick to a one-page cover letter
  • Edit & Proofreading

Tailoring Your Cover Letter 

Everything we’ve discussed in this guide would be put into waste if you haven’t taken the time to do research on the company you want to work for. If your cover letter feels generic like you’ve sent the same application to 10 other companies, you won’t leave a strong impact. When it comes to job hunting, it’s quality over quantity.

Including Power Words & ATS Keywords

Using the right power words can take your application to the next level for both your resume and cover letter. Likewise, you should also be including ATS keywords to show a good understanding of the job description and to beat the applicant tracking system.

You might also find the following useful:

Show Enthusiasm 

When talking about your objectives, motivations and goals especially, use your tone of voice to radiate enthusiasm in wanting to be a part of the internship program. One way to do this is by exuding confidence and expressing a willingness to learn and commit.

Passions & Interests

If you don’t have much things to talk about, you can go back to your passions and interests then link them back to your objectives. Then don’t forget to tie this back in with the company’s mission and values. 

Stick To a One-Page Cover Letter

Every cover letter should be no more than one page long. It’s easier for the hiring manager to review your application if everything is straight to the point and concise. 

Don’t Forget to Edit & Proofread

Before sending off your application, review your cover letter to ensure there are no spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. It’s troublesome to have done everything perfectly but then it all takes a turn for the worse because of a small, overlooked mistake.

Internship Cover Letter Example Breakdown 

In this cover letter example, you’ll notice the applicant is a student in their final year and is now applying for a graduate program. 

The candidate’s cover letter is structured nicely and mentions how they’re ready to embark on their professional career. To kick things off, they’ve provided the hiring manager with a brief introduction about themselves as well as their reasons for why the opportunity appeals to them.

Before getting into relevant work experience, this candidate has focused on describing their formal education and academic background first. As you go into more detail, don’t forget to showcase any skills or qualities that have been developed in the process.

Towards the end of the cover letter, they’ve made an emphasis towards a past responsibility in order to highlight a key skill. Doing this is a great way to impart the hiring manager with a strong impression of your experience and understanding.

Finally, remember before signing off to thank your hiring manager for their time and to set the pace for what happens next.

Summary & Rezi’s AI Cover Letter Writer

With everything we’ve gone through, you now have the knowledge and tips to go out there and write a cover letter for an internship. 

As a reminder, here’s the 5 steps to write a cover letter for an internship:

  1. Spend time researching into the company
  2. Write the introduction and opening paragraph
  3. Include education, relevant certifications, training & coursework
  4. Include work experience, extracurricular activities & achievements
  5. Close correctly

Furthermore, here’s our extra pieces of advice:

  • Tailor your cover letter
  • Include power words & ATS keywords
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Mention your passions & interests 
  • Stick to a one-page cover letter
  • Don’t forget to edit & proofread

At the start of this guide, I mentioned sharing how you can create a cover letter in less than five minutes. The best part about it is that it’s a really straightforward process. 

With Rezi’s AI cover letter writer feature, all you need to do is the following:

Step 1: Enter your job title

Step 2: Copy and paste the job description

Step 3: Press the “AI Writer Ready” button

It’s as simple as that. 

In minimal time and effort, you can generate a tailored cover letter that matches the job description. You also wouldn’t have to stress over writer’s block or including the right keywords as that’s all taken care of for you!

You can start the process now and build a cover letter for free with Rezi by clicking below:


“Absolutely love Rezi. I swear it was thanks to Rezi that helped me land my 1st internship. Also love the pro features” - Calvin C.

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