7 September 2023
Writing an Internship Cover Letter (with Examples)
Writing an internship cover letter is a bit like getting in and out of skinny jeans. It’s tricky, but pretty much an essential life skill.
Most employers will ask you to attach one alongside your CV when applying for an internship.
In this guide, we run you through all you need to know.
- What is an internship cover letter?
- How to write a cover letter for an internship
- Internship cover letter example
What is an internship cover letter?
Put simply, an internship cover letter is a formal letter that outlines who you are, why you are interested in the role and why you’re a smashing candidate.
A cover letter for an internship should urge an employer to read your CV and seriously consider your application. And, when you’re likely applying as one of many applicants, it should help you stand out.
This doesn’t mean doing anything crazy, like making all the text bold and pink. But it does mean (humbly) boasting about your attributes and skills.
Read on for the how…
How to write a cover letter for an internship
Here is a step-by-step guide to putting together an internship cover letter. Think of it like an IKEA manual without confusing diagrams and Allen keys. (Unfortunately.)
Firstly, make sure to tailor your cover letter for each internship application you make.
Set up a document in business letter format. There’s a template for this in Word. But you can also find what you need on Google.
Then…begin to write.
STEP 1: The opening
The opening address in a cover letter is remarkably important. It’s like the first flight of an albatross chick.
If it takes to the wind, it’ll soar off the beach and into the sky to a life of internships and career opportunities. If it falls and lands in the ocean, it’ll get wet and almost immediately be ripped apart by tiger sharks.
If you address your cover letter to the wrong person. Or to nobody at all, tiger sharks will be the least of your problems. So try and avoid Dear Sir / Madam or To whom it may concern.
Dear Full Name, e.g. Dear John Smith, Dear Mr / Ms Surname, e.g. Dear Mr / Ms Smith. Always write Ms instead of Miss / Mrs. Don’t presume marital status.
Finding the recruiter’s name is not always easy. If you’re struggling via LinkedIn, you have a number of other options…
- Ring or email the company, and ask for the name of the person who is tasked with reading the cover letters for the internship you’re applying for
- Many organisations have a ‘no name’ policy for confidentiality reasons, so if they can’t give you a name…
- Address your cover letter to the head of the department your internship is in
- If you cannot find the name of the person who handles recruitment, address your internship letter to someone that works in human resources (HR)
- As a last resort, address your cover letter to someone in your team.
STEP 2: Introduction
In the introduction of a cover letter for an internship, you need to specify what internship you are applying for.
Be specific. Here’s an example:
“I am writing regarding the vacancy for the consultancy internship with PwC.”
It’s also a good idea to reference where you found the internship vacancy. Employers love to know what channels students use when looking for jobs. Here is an example –
“as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my CV attached.”
You also might like…
- How to Write an Internship CV
- Common Internship Interview Questions
- The Best Internships and Placements
STEP 3: Company research
Now it’s time to let the recruiter know why you are interested in the internship. Don’t write ‘because mother told me to’. You want to give specific reasons why the company or the content of the course have drawn you to this internship.
Do some research about the company that is organising the internship. Below is a list of areas you should focus your research on…
- Origins of company
- Has the company been in the news recently?
- Any major projects the company has been involved in?
- Background of directors or the manager of the team you’re applying to
- Company values / vision.
If you want to research the programme you are applying for, check for any case studies or reviews written by previous interns.
Then craft your next paragraph around the question: why do you want to do this internship? Here is an example of how to approach this –
“I am drawn to this internship at PwC because it concentrates on sustainability and climate change consultancy. I have read about PwC’s recent project implementing new sustainability procedures in government buildings across the UK. My involvement in the ‘Clear Up Our Campus’ campaign at university makes me perfect for this internship.“
Here, you have shown why you are attracted to the course, demonstrated that you understand what the internship consists of, and even commented on a recent project. It’s a winning formula.
STEP 4: Work experience & qualifications
Now we move on to your work experience, skills and qualifications and why they make you perfect for the internship.
Ensure that you keep the content of your internship cover letter relevant to the role on offer. If you can do a passable impression of Morgan Freeman, that’s great. But it won’t improve your chances of getting an interview.
What unique skills can you bring to the company? What previous work experience has prepared you for this internship?
If you can answer these questions, employers will be under your spell. As if you were Hermione Granger. Or Ronald Weasley.
Try something like this –
“As my CV describes, I am two years into a Sustainable Engineering degree, achieving high grades in modules focused on sustainable planning in urban environments. My studies have imparted the groundwork of knowledge and analytical skills crucial for a career in this consultancy field. I also have three years of work experience at The Bear Factory, which has imparted great collaborative skills.“
STEP 5: Outro
In this closing section, thank the recruiter for considering your application and express your interest / availability for attending an interview.
One sentence will do it. Something like this…
“Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the programme further in an interview.”
STEP 6: Signing off
If you start your covering letter with a personal name, such as “Dear Susie,” end it with “Yours Sincerely.”
If you didn’t manage to find the recruiter’s name, use “Yours Faithfully.”
Once you’ve proofread, it’s pen down and time to find some cake. You’ve officially finished your internship cover letter, just in time to apply for that internship.
Want to impress employers with your application and land yourself a top job? Sign up to our FREE Career Coaching Course, a four-day virtual programme in October, to upskill yourself on CVs, applications and interviews.
Internship cover letter example
The examples from each step in this guide have been combined to form a complete example of an internship cover letter.
This example is for a consultancy internship with PwC…
Dear John Smith,
I am writing regarding the vacancy for the consultancy internship with PwC, as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my CV attached.
I am drawn to this internship at PwC because it concentrates on sustainability and climate change consultancy. I have read about PwC’s recent project implementing new sustainability procedures in government buildings across the UK. My involvement in the ‘Clear Up Our Campus’ campaign at university makes me perfect for this internship.
‘As my CV describes, I am two years into a Sustainable Engineering degree, achieving high grades in modules focused on sustainable planning in urban environments. My studies have imparted the groundwork of knowledge and analytical skills crucial for a career in this consultancy field. I also have three years of work experience at The Bear Factory, which has imparted great collaborative skills.’’
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the programme further in an interview.