Whether you’re writing an internship essay or an internship cover letter with no experience, remember that your cover letter is very much a part of your internship application. Your internship cover letter format and content should be written like a business letter.

Internship cover letters basics

An internship cover letter is very like a job application cover letter but not the same thing. This type of cover letter is very much more related to your interest in the position.

Your cover letter should contain:

  • A statement of your reasons for applying for the internship.
  • Information regarding the value of the internship to your career goals.
  • Information related to any academic values related to the internship.
  • Expressions of interest in specific elements of the internship and its role.

This is the basic information the internship provider needs to assess your application. Remember that your cover letter is actually part of a competitive application process. The success of your application involves comparison with other candidates.

Internship cover letter sampleDos and don’ts for cover letters

When writing your cover letter:

Do explain your motivation for applying for the internship. This is absolutely basic, required information for internship providers.
Do keep your cover letter straightforward and easy to read. Stick to short paragraphs, 1 to 3 sentences.
Do be specific about your areas of interest. Many internships are genuine career opportunities, so express your interest and enthusiasm.
Don’t babble or go off topic. Keep your cover letter strictly in the context of the internship.
Don’t forget to edit your cover letter, removing any extraneous material, and correcting any errors. The last thing an internship provider, reading a very large number of applications needs to read is a cover letter full of typos.
Don’t rehash any of the information in your resume. It’s not necessary.

Cover letter content

A cover letter doesn’t actually have to be a very long letter. It does, however, have to be effective. When writing your cover letter stick strictly to functional issues and your areas of specific interest in the internship.

You can use your cover letter for a bit of self-promotion, too, highlighting your grades and areas of expertise. If, for example, you have extracurricular or other associated skills and experience, include that information in your cover letter.

(If you have referred to these associations in your resume, it’s okay to expand that information, provided it is clearly relevant to the internship, and the information is of value to the internship provider.)

A word of warning – You may have seen online examples of cover letters for internships. You will notice that some of these cover letters really are no more than “please find enclosed my application” letters. You’ll also have noticed that others look very much like job application letters.

That’s exactly what they are – recycled job application cover letters.

These letters are unsuitable for internship applications. They’re not even particularly good as job application letters.

Do not use these substandard examples for your internship application cover letter.

Your cover letter is a great opportunity for you to add value to your internship application. Don’t waste that opportunity. Write an interesting, useful cover letter and read internship resume samples, and you will get the best results.