If you came across an exciting opportunity during your internship search, you may be wondering how to land the position. There might be hundreds of applications, and you want to make sure yours stands out from the crowd. Writing a strong internship cover letter is a great way to put your best foot forward during the application process.
Crafting application materials can be a daunting task, especially the first time. This article takes you through the key steps of creating an impressive cover letter and internship resume. No matter your career goals, read on to learn how to catch the attention of employers and secure that amazing opportunity.
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But how do you write a cover letter for an internship? That’s a good question. Your internship cover letter may be the first cover letter you have ever written, and so you may need some guidance to help you get started.
In this guide, we’re going to break down how to write a cover letter for an internship, and also explore an example of internship cover letters you can use to help you write your own cover letter.
Internship Cover Letter Guide
When it comes to internship applications, first impressions count. Your internship cover letter is a way to sell yourself to the recruiter and influences their decision when choosing a fitting candidate. Wondering why it’s necessary to craft an amazing cover letter when you have numerous documents, including certificates, that showcase your skills? Let’s find out.
Why Does Your Internship Cover Letter Matter?
According to CNN Business, Google received 125,000 applications for their internship programs in 2019. A cover letter helps you stand out in such a vast applicant pool. It introduces you to your prospective employer and highlights your enthusiasm for the role, which is necessary as most employers search for passionate people in addition to those with technical skills.
You’ll need to craft an exemplary cover letter that presents you as the perfect candidate for the role. A cover letter describes your skills and qualifications for the internship. This informs the recruiters that you are equipped to handle the tasks required of you. It details the specific skill set you possess, providing credible information for the employers.
A cover letter also explains why you are uniquely right for the position. For instance, if you are seeking a web developer intern role, you can demonstrate impressive websites you created in a previous role or during your education. This document also allows you to confirm your availability to start working with a company and is an essential part of the application process.
Essential Components of Your Internship Cover Letter
If it’s your first time applying for an internship position, you may be wondering where to start. Below are the different components that a typical cover letter should have if you want your application to be competitive.
- Contact Information. You should add your contact information in block style. Ensure you include your name, email address, and telephone number where it will be easy for the recruiter to find.
- Date. Don’t forget to indicate the date you wrote and submitted the intern cover letter. Remember, there are hundreds of applications, and submitting application materials earlier might give you a competitive edge.
- Salutation. Regardless of the type of job you are applying for, you should address the contact person by name. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, you can contact the company and find out their name. Don’t forget to add their title and address on the left margin.
- Body Paragraphs. The first paragraph should mention how you found out about the internship. The following paragraphs should detail your relevant skills, practical experience, or professional industry experience. Use concise sentences and paragraphs to ensure the cover letter is easy to read.
5 Tips for Writing a Strong Internship Cover Letter
Are you hoping to create a winning internship cover letter that will impress a potential employer? Here are five tips to help you craft a solid and compelling cover letter that will help you stand out as a strong candidate during the hiring process.
- Personalize Your Cover Letter. Even when using a cover letter template, you need to use your own words and write a unique letter for each application. You should highlight your unique skills and abilities that are in line with the job to convince the reader you are the right person for the position.
- Use Keywords. Does your cover letter resonate with the job listing? Carefully read through the internship position description and highlight the key skills and attributes required for the role. In your cover letter, mention the relevant skills and qualities you possess that can bring value to the company.
- Write Specific Examples. One of the main cover letter mistakes students make is telling instead of showing. Don’t just tell the recruiter you have specific skills, demonstrate them with examples of hands-on experience. For instance, you can prove leadership experience with an example of a challenge group project you spearheaded.
- Extracurricular Experiences. Did you help a friend create a website for their small start-up? If yes, use that experience to secure a web development internship. If you lack professional experience, highlight scenarios where you undertook an independent project and detail your impressive educational background.
5. Be Concise. As a student or professional looking for an internship position, you may feel the need to explain yourself using too many words. Recruiters don’t have time to read long cover letters as they receive hundreds of applications. Use concise paragraphs to convey your information and follow the proper cover letter format.
Internship Cover Letter Example
When sitting down to complete your application, it can be difficult to know how to write a winning cover letter that will land you the position. If it’s your first time writing an internship cover letter, below is an example that follows the ideal cover letter format including the structure and required components.
Internship Cover Letter Sample
Dear Mr. Doe,
I’m writing to you regarding the summer software development internship at XXX company. I believe my skills and experience in application and software development make me an ideal candidate to add value to your company.
In my previous semester, I volunteered to work in a local non-profit organization that helps homeless people acquire shelter. I assisted the web team in updating an application that allows individuals to identify drop-off points and plan for pick-ups. I also worked as a server at the student center for one year, which taught me how to create an excellent customer experience.
As a team player with software development skills, I believe I can add value to your company. Please feel free to contact me, as I would love to discuss this opportunity further. I appreciate your consideration.
Internship Resume Guide
An internship resume focuses on your skills and education, especially if you don’t have extensive work experience to highlight. Your resume should showcase your accomplishments, academic qualifications, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experience. You may also include other areas of your life where you have exhibited exceptional skills or creative thinking.
Why Does Your Internship Resume Matter?
If you already have a project portfolio that showcases relevant examples of your skills and proficiency, you might wonder why you should spend time writing a resume. An internship resume is part of the application process and helps recruiters make hiring decisions.
A great resume can grab an employer’s attention if you put effort into the layout and design of the document. Outline your relevant skills and experience, and display accomplishments that prove you can deliver. Ensure that the keywords in the job description are in your resume as many companies auto-sort application documents based on these keywords.
Essential Components of Your Internship Resume
An internship resume contains several sections which you may not be familiar with. If you are wondering what to include, here are the essential components that a potential employer will expect to see on your document.
- Contact Information. Your contact information should be at the top of the resume. You should include your name, email address, and location. When writing your address, just mention city and state, as you don’t have to add all the details.
- Summary Statement. The summary statement is optional as it highlights your qualifications and experience, which are covered in detail in other sections. However, a summary statement is a great way to briefly introduce yourself and show you are a qualified individual. If crafted well, it can encourage the hiring manager to read on.
- Education. This section is vital as it helps students shine since they might have a lack of experience. If this is the case, the education section should go above the experience section. Include the name of the institution, its location, your degree and intended major, GPA, honors, and relevant coursework.
- Experience. Most students have limited experience in their study area, but that does not mean you are limited. You can include part-time jobs, sports, student organizations, and volunteer work. When listing the experiences, ensure you write them in chronological order with the most recent experience at the top.
- Skills. This is the last section of your internship resume, and it entails any skills relevant to the role posted. For instance, if it’s a programming internship, you can list HTML, Java, and Python skills since they are relevant. You may also add soft skills such as multi-tasking and leadership skills.
5 Tips for Writing a Strong Internship Resume
To make your resume stand out as competitive amongst hundreds of other applicants, here are things you should consider to go the extra step. You might want to mold your resume for each job application to include relevant examples of your accomplishments or skills that apply to the specific internship you are applying for.
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- Avoid filler words. To create a strong internship resume, you should avoid fluff and convey your message using strong action words. Avoid cluttering and overwriting by using active language and impact words.
- Highlight relevant skills. If your only work experience is outside the field you wish to work in, highlight how these jobs helped you build relevant soft skills. Strong communication skills, creative problem-solving, or customer service experience can be relevant in several fields.
- Include a hobbies section. If you have a hobby that has helped you develop specific skills, you can include it in the hobbies and interests section. For instance, you can add game development if you enjoy creating games in your spare time.
- Resume formatting. Generally, resumes should be one page. The hiring manager receives numerous internship applications, and they have limited time to go through them. You should include all the relevant sections while keeping the information as brief as possible.
- Use concrete examples. A generic resume does not appeal to hiring managers. You need to give concrete examples and data to prove you are qualified. For example, you can highlight an experience where you led a group of students and won a Google Science Fair award.
Internship Resume Examples
Internship candidates can find it difficult to write a strong resume due to the numerous details required. Below we have included an example of the education section of a resume, as many students find that part challenging. We also included a full resume template to get you started.
Internship Resume Sample: The Education Section
Miami State University Expected June 2022
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, GPA 3.7/4.0
Relevant Coursework: Computer Networks, Relational Database Management Systems, Practical (C++) and Practical (ORACLE).
London Study Abroad Program: the University of Roehampton, London School of Arts September to December 2020.
Sample Internship Resume Template
[Professional profile like LinkedIn]
[Write a summary statement that shows you have outstanding academic performance and knowledge in what the internship requires]
[Add your educational background in chronological order, starting with the current one.]
[Include relevant coursework, accomplishments, study abroad programs, and your GPA.]
[If you have been working in a field that’s related to the internship program, include it here, and ensure you start with the current one.]
[You can add volunteer experience and other jobs such as an office receptionist.]
[List four or more relevant skills and use bullet-points.]
Extra Qualifications or Details
[You may choose to add an awards section, a hobbies section, a languages section, or a certifications section.]
Internship Resume Template Resources
- Zety. This resource includes a simple template for an internship resume. The outline includes all the sections, including volunteer positions that an internship applicant may have previously engaged in.
- ResumeGenius. This resource includes examples of resumes for a wide variety of fields to help you get an idea of what employers are expecting.
- Resume Templates. If you are looking for a free template that will guide you on resume sections, this is ideal. This template displays all the sections you need to fill, although it does not elaborate on what you should write.
Importance of an Internship Cover Letter and Resume
An internship cover letter and resume can make you stand out among other applicants. They allow you to showcase your academic achievements, relevant experience, and demonstrate your skills. No matter what your career direction, crafting a resume and cover letter that keeps your audience in mind can help you to secure an internship opportunity.
Internship cover letters are an opportunity to outline your talent and experience, and link your core strengths to how you can help a business achieve their goals.
If you don’t have any professional experience to mention, you can discuss any projects, extracurriculars, or courses that you are currently participating in. Otherwise, you should feel free to mention any working experience you have, and discuss in your letter how you believe that experience makes you a good candidate for the internship.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to craft a professional cover letter that distinguishes yourself from other candidates, and positions you as a good applicant for an internship.
More Extra Tips on How to Write an Internship Cover Letter
Cover letters are an opportunity for you to discuss what makes you a good candidate for a particular position. Unlike resumes, which are written more like a list of your skills, cover letters are structured as a letter, and allow you to highlight specific features about yourself that you can use to demonstrate why you are a good fit for a role.
Here are a few tips to help you write a cover letter for an internship:
Tip #1: Link your cover letter to the company
When you are writing your cover letter, you should try to anchor the contents of the cover letter to the specific company at which you want to work. In practice, this means that you should focus on telling a story about what you can offer them, rather than what you expect from them as an intern.
The goal of a cover letter is to help inform a company as to why you are a good fit for a position. As a result, you should personalize your letter for each position that you apply for. Why are you interested in working for the company? Does their vision resonate with you? Are they working on an interesting product you feel you would be able to add value to?
For instance, you could mention in a sentence that you read the company’s vision statement and were impressed by their commitment to a certain value. This tells an employer that you have done research into the company, which shows that you must be interested in the position.
Tip #2: Discuss coursework and extracurriculars
In a standard cover letter, you would spend time discussing what professional experience has prepared you for the position for which you are applying. However, in an internship cover letter, you may have no experience that you can talk about.
That’s a common predicament to be in, so don’t worry. Instead of talking about your professional experience, you can discuss any coursework or extracurriculars that relate to the position for which you are applying.
Suppose you are applying for an engineering internship. You may want to mention a few of the engineering and mathematics courses you have taken at college, or the fact that you are a member of your college’s auto shop club.
The extracurriculars you discuss should be relevant to the position for which you are applying, to make sure that it is clear to the employer how a certain project or activity has prepared you for the role.
When you are discussing your coursework or projects, you should provide specific examples. This will make it easier for an employer to draw a link between a project you have worked on—or a class you are taking—and the type of work that you would be doing on the job, if you were to be hired.
Tip #3: Mention your skills
Most of your cover letter should be focused on discussing your skills, experience, and educational history. Unlike a resume, though, you should not just list your experiences; you should use them to tell a story about you.
For instance, suppose you participated in a design apprenticeship after you graduated high school. You could mention that you were known well for being organized and that you were always willing to take on extra challenges in the workplace.
While you may not have any professional experience to mention, citing any skills that you have is a great way to impress an employer. Are you a good communicator? Great! Mention an example or two when you have practiced these skills. Do you believe that you work well in teams? Discuss a time when you effectively worked on a team.
Tip #4: Don’t undersell yourself
When you are writing an internship cover letter, you may be tempted to undersell yourself.
If you have little or no professional experience, it may feel like you should add in phrases like “I may not have a lot of professional experience in this field…” or “Although I lack real-world experience using this skill…”. This is often a mistake.
Instead of talking about why you are not qualified for a job, mention how you are looking to learn and that you are willing to do what it takes to advance. For instance, you could say something like “I am looking forward to the opportunity to practice my programming skills in a real-world environment.” This sentence informs the employer that you may not have a lot of experience, but that you are willing and able to learn.
Cover letters are an opportunity to sell yourself to an employer. Talk as much as you can about your strengths and how you can help a business achieve its goals, and avoid mentioning any deficiencies in your skills.
Tip #5: Explain why you, specifically, are a good fit for the role
A dozen college students with similar academic credentials to you could be applying for the same internship. Does this mean that you shouldn’t apply? Of course not. It means that the application process could be competitive, and so you should be doing as much as you can to show your value to an employer.
In your cover letter, you should add a few sentences on why you, specifically, are a good fit for the role. To help you do this, you should read over the job description and consider what requirements you meet, and how you think you can help the business.
Does the job description mention that they are looking for someone to help them with designing websites using Sketch? You could mention that you have used Sketch extensively in class. Does the job description discuss how a passion for politics is optional, but appreciated? You could then write in your cover letter that you are an avid follower of political commentary.
Internship Cover Letter and Resume FAQ
Yes, you should add your degree to your resume if you studied for a significant period of time before dropping out. You can explain the interruption in your education in your cover letter if you wish to.
You can send the application via email or deliver the hard copy. Make sure you carefully read the company’s application instructions and follow them exactly. Often this is a test to see if potential candidates have attention to detail and can follow instructions. Failure to do so may automatically exclude your application from further consideration.
Action words are verbs that demonstrate activities you have successfully done. When using them, you should express yourself in an active voice. For instance, you can say ‘facilitated mobile application design development.’ Other action words include ‘managed’, ‘operated’, ‘designed’, and ‘programmed’.
A well-written cover letter should not have any spelling or grammatical errors. You should also ensure that the information is authentic and realistic. Make sure the relevant keywords are clearly visible to the hiring manager, who may be skim reading. In your resume, use bullet points for key achievements. In your cover letter, use concise paragraphs.
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