How to Write a Cover Letter for Internship (Examples & Template)
You’ve found the perfect internship and it’s now time to apply and land the position!
But, in addition to your resume, you also have to write an internship cover letter.
You might end up staring at the blank Word document for hours and nothing comes out.
We don’t blame you; cover letters are hard to write even if you have a decade’s worth of work experience, let alone if you’re a recent graduate or a student.
Worry not, though; in this article, we’re going to teach you all you need to know to write a compelling cover letter for your internship.
- Do you need a cover letter for an internship?
- How to write a compelling cover letter for an internship
- Plug and play internship cover letter template
Do I Need a Cover Letter for an Internship?
First things first—if you’re wondering whether you actually need a cover letter for your internship application, the answer is yes .
An internship application is just like any other hiring process, meaning that a recruiter will go over your resume , cover letter (and maybe even references), and decide whether you’re qualified for the position.
And yes, recruiters contrary to what you might think, recruiters do read your cover letter. 56% of recruiters prefer a cover letter with an applicant’s application.
This is reasonable - a cover letter allows you to add essential information you didn’t have space for in a resume, as well as explain (in words) how your experiences are tied to the role you’re applying for.
As such, a cover letter for an internship is essential and complementary to your application package.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s go over all the best ways to write a cover letter for an internship.
How to Write a Cover Letter for Internship
#1. respect the format.
Before you can focus on your cover letter’s contents, you should first make sure you’re sticking to the right format.
Otherwise, your cover letter will be disorganized and the recruiter will have a hard time following your train of thought.
So, here’s the format that your cover letter for an internship should follow:
- Header with contact information. This includes your full name, professional email, phone number, and LinkedIn profile (if you have one). Underneath your contact info, you should add the date and the receiver’s information (the recruiter’s name and title, the company/organization name, and their physical address).
- Addressing the recruiter. Greeting the recruiter with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” is common, but not the best approach. Want to show the hiring manager that you did your research? We recommend you address the hiring manager by name directly. Our guide on how to address a cover letter covers everything you need to know on this topic!
- Opening statement. Your opening statement should be brief, but at the same time professional and attention-grabbing. Here, you introduce yourself, mention the position you’re applying for, and potentially a key achievement or two.
- Body. The body of your cover letter consists of 2-3 paragraphs where you highlight your education, provide background for your skills, and explain how you (and the company) would benefit from each other professionally.
- Closing paragraph. Your closing paragraph is your chance to include a call to action, to thank the recruiters for their time, or mention anything important you left out.
- Formal salutation. End your cover letter with a formal salutation such as “kind regards,” “sincerely,” or “best regards.” Our guide on how to end a cover letter can teach you all you need to know on the topic.
Having trouble getting started with your cover letter? Read our guide on how to start a cover letter and get inspired!
#2. State the Position You’re Applying For in the Opening
Recruiters hate one-size-fits-all cover letters and resumes.
Around 48% of recruiters and hiring managers aren’t even going to read your cover letter if it’s not customized to the role you’re applying for.
And one of the easiest ways to do this is by mentioning the role you’re applying for right in the cover letter opening.
This allows you to:
- Show that you will be tailoring the rest of your cover letter for that position alone.
- Prove that your cover letter is customized for this specific internship, and you’re not just randomly applying for the job,
Here’s a practical example of how you can mention the role you’re applying for in the cover letter opening:
Dear Mr. Jacobs,
It is my pleasure to apply for the Communications Assistant internship position at the United Nations Development Programme. I can confidently say based on my 2-year experience working as a journalist and my excellent academic results in the Mass Communications Major that I’d be a good fit for the position.
#3. Mention the Right Keywords
When reviewing your application, hiring managers tend to scan your cover letter or resume and look for the right keywords that would make you qualified for the internship you’re applying for.
E.g. If you're applying for a job in graphic design, the recruiter is probably looking for keywords like “Photoshop,” “Illustrator,” or “InDesign.”
As such, it’s very important to include the right keywords in your cover letter.
How can you find these keywords, you might ask?
It’s actually pretty simple - just look at the internship job description and go through the required skills & responsibilities and identify the keywords that you’d think the recruiter would be looking for.
Then, do the following:
- Sprinkle some of those keywords throughout your cover letter. When relevant, back them up with an experience. E.g. don’t just say “I’m good at Photoshop,” say how you’ve taken 3 different Photoshop classes and used Photoshop for 2 different projects.
- Don’t include keywords that don’t apply to you, they’ll just make it seem like you’re copy-pasting from the job description.
- Research and add other popular soft skills that recruiters look for in applicants for the role you’re applying for. E.g. If you’re applying for an internship as a communications assistant, chances are, you’ll need strong communication skills (even if this is not something listed in the job description.
Now, let’s look at a practical example. Let’s say that the internship you’re applying for requires the following skills:
- Ability to meet strict deadlines
Here’s how you’d mention this in your cover letter:
During my time as Editor in Chief at my University’s newspaper, I got to develop my communication and leadership skills significantly. For over two years, I was in charge of a 7 people team, which also helped my teamwork skills and my ability to meet deadlines.
Keep in mind, though, that it IS possible to overdo it with the keywords.
44% of hiring managers say they will dismiss a resume or cover letter that looks as if it has copied the job posting.
Using each and every keyword mentioned in the job description (without backing the skills up with experiences) might cause the hiring manager to think that you’re just copying the job ad & don’t actually have these skills.
So, don’t just copy-paste all the keywords from the job description, and if you DO mention a lot of those keywords, make sure to back them up with practical experiences.
#4. Highlight Your Education
If you don’t have a lot of work experience, your education and relevant coursework is your best chance to show that you’re a good fit for the internship.
Letting the recruiter know what kind of courses you’ve completed that are relevant to the internship you’re applying for will be a big plus for your application.
Say, for example, that you’re applying for an internship as a graphic designer. To make your internship cover letter impactful, make sure to mention all the relevant courses and related accomplishments.
Here’s an example of how you could do that:
As a Visual Design major, I have completed several courses that have helped me build my professional portfolio. A few of the most beneficial ones have been Design & Layout and Visual Communication: Theory and Practice. I have also gained valuable experience doing the layout of the university’s newspaper for 4 years and of several books as independent projects.
#5. Provide Background For Your Skills
It’s one thing to just claim that you have a set of skills and another to prove it.
Anyone can say that they’re great at doing something, but what makes all the difference is when you can actually put your money where your mouth is.
For example, in your internship cover letter, instead of just mentioning that you have “good time-management skills,” actually back it up with a past experience that proves it.
During the summers I assisted my family’s wedding planning business, I learned a lot about time management. In that kind of business, it’s important that things run like clockwork so in addition to time management skills, it also significantly improved my attention to detail.
#6. Explain Why You’re a Good Fit For The Position
In addition to just listing out the skills that are relevant and beneficial for the internship, you should also explain why you are a good fit for the position.
This means that you should connect the dots between what the company/organization is looking to gain from its interns and what you can do to provide those services.
So, after you research and create an understanding of what is required of you, you should use your cover letter to explain why you’re a good fit for that position.
For the sake of the example, let’s assume you’re applying for an internship at a Human Rights organization. A big chunk of what the role requires is categorizing virtual files of the cases the organization has worked on in the past.
What you want to do, in this case, is show how you can help with that particular job as an intern. Here’s how:
I have spent 3 summers working at the National Library, where I was tasked to sort and categorize books based on their topic, author, and year of publication, and also memorize where each section fits in the library. I believe this skill, which I have perfected over the years, can really be of use for the internship position at Organization X.
#7. Describe What You Would Gain Professionally
In addition to showing (and proving) your skills and how you can benefit the company, you should also explain how getting the position will benefit YOU .
When it comes to internships, oftentimes they serve the purpose of helping students and young professionals acquire in-depth knowledge about the industry, create a network, and develop skills that will benefit them throughout their careers.
So, it will surely help you make an even better impression if you show that you are self-aware about what you’ll get out of the internship and how it will help you grow professionally.
Here’s how you can do that:
I am excited for this internship to provide me with the necessary customer service skills and network that will help me grow professionally in my future career as a customer service manager.
#8. Proofread Your Cover Letter
After all, is written and done, there’s one final thing to do and that is make sure your cover letter doesn’t have mistakes.
A spelling or grammar mistake probably won’t disqualify you, but at the same time, it will probably be a red flag for recruiters that you’re not too attentive.
For this reason, ask a friend to proofread your cover letter or use spell-checking software such as Grammarly and Hemingway .
Want to know what other cover letter mistakes you should avoid? Our guide on cover letter mistakes has all you need to know on the topic!
#9. Match Your Cover Letter & Resume Designs
Want your internship application to truly shine?
Match your cover letter design with your resume!
Sure, you could go with a generic Word cover letter template, but why fit in when you can stand out?
At Novorésumé, all our resume templates come with a matching cover letter template , guaranteed to make your application truly special.
Cover Letter for Internship Template
Struggling to create a cover letter for your internship?
Simply follow our tried-and-tested internship cover letter template!
And that’s a wrap! You should now have all the necessary information about how to create a cover letter for an internship.
Now, let’s do a small recap of the key learning points we just covered:
- Cover letters are a must when you’re applying for an internship.
- When you start writing your cover letter, make sure you respect the format: the header with contact information, the greeting to the recruiter, an opening paragraph, the body with 2-3 paragraphs, and a closing paragraph followed by an official salutation and your name.
- Some of our main tips on how to write a cover letter for an internship include: state the position you’re applying for, make use of the right keywords, and back up your skills with experiences.
- Use a cover letter builder and match it with your resume to make sure your cover letter truly stands out from the rest.
- Entry-level Cover Letter
- Do I Need a Cover Letter in 2024?
- Top 21 Cover Letter Tips
How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship [Examples & Template]
Published: September 15, 2023
Writing a cover letter can feel like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a lot of real-world experience.
Fortunately, a cover letter is actually a chance to explain how your extracurriculars and classes have taught you exceptional leadership and time management skills.
We’ve created an internship cover letter template to provide some initial structure and inspiration. For the best results, download our template, then add your own creativity and flair with the tips below.
5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.
- Standard Cover Letter Template
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Template
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship
- Include your name, date, location, and contact information.
- Include the company, department, and company address.
- Address the hiring manager.
- Set the context for your application.
- Sell your experience.
- Close the letter with grace and a call to action.
There are different formats you can use when writing internship cover letters, but you can’t go wrong with the traditional business letter format. Business professionals use this template style to apply for full-time roles, so your cover letter will stand out above the rest. Remember to proofread, use formal terms such as “Dear” and “Sincerely,” and lean towards a professional tone in your body copy.
1. Include your name, date, location, and contact information.
Although some companies are firmly against using applicant tracking systems, chances are many of the companies you apply to will screen your resume and cover letter using one. That means you’ll need to stand out to both an automated system and human recruiters.
Have you ever heard the myth that you’d get credit for writing your name on the SAT exam? The same applies to adding contact information to your cover letter, but it’s 100% true. Make it easy for the recruiter to get in touch with you by providing an up-to-date phone number and email address.
In the past, it was common for job and internship seekers to include their exact address on their cover letter as they’d mail them directly to the hiring managers. In today’s digital world, most hiring teams won’t need to know your exact home address to extend an internship offer, so feel free to leave it off. Simply include your city and state to give the team an idea of your proximity to the office.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Email: [email protected]
2. Include the company, department, and company address.
If you’re writing a cover letter for several internship opportunities, you’ll find it helpful to search the full name, department, and headquarters address of each company. Doing this as a separate step will help you copy the information accurately in your cover letter. Remember, you don’t want any typos or mistakes in your cover letter, especially when it comes to information that can be easily found on the internet.
Finding the department name may not be as simple, so you can leave that out if you’re unsure. If your company has several campuses or operates in different cities, use the address of the location where the internship will be performed or the office location where your hiring manager works. If your internship will be remote, use the company’s general headquarters address.
City, State Zip
3. Address the hiring manager.
As a student looking for an internship, you’ll definitely set yourself apart from other applicants by being resourceful. You can show your resourcefulness by searching for the hiring manager’s name to properly address them in your cover letter. Occasionally, their title is stated in the role description. You can then search for the role on LinkedIn to identify their name. If you can’t find a name, you can instead address them by title only. Other times, though, finding the name of the hiring manager could be more difficult. If a Google search doesn’t return a first and last name, your best bet is to leave the name out. Sacrificing a bit of personalization is much better than addressing the wrong person in your cover letter.
Dear X, (try to find the hiring manager’s name… if you can’t, you can put “Dear [Company A] Hiring Committee”)
4. Set the context for your application.
In the first paragraph, explain how you heard about the company or position, and if you know anyone at the company, mention them here. Next, express your own interest in the company or position and explain briefly how it relates to your own passions. Don’t forget to introduce yourself in this paragraph, writing your name, your education level, your major, and your interests.
You may opt for a creative first line to capture the reader’s attention. One that worked for me early in my career went something like this:
“ Can I tell you a secret? I’ve been telling stories since I was five years old. No, not fibbing — real storytelling... ”
This is where you’ll benefit from researching the company’s culture. While this opening statement worked well for startups and more laid-back companies, a big accounting firm might find it culturally off-beat.
5. Sell your experience.
Scan the internship position description and pick out a few qualities you think apply to you — just don’t choose all the descriptors mentioned as it could appear disingenuous and make your cover letter too long. For instance, if I see a company is looking for someone who’s “outgoing, organized, hardworking, and willing to take criticism,” I would pick those that describe me best and focus on providing examples in the body of my cover letter.
Mentioning the traits directly in your cover letter shows you’ve read the position description, and makes your cover letter more scannable. If the hiring manager is looking for someone with content skills, she might scan your cover letter looking for the words that indicate experience with content.
Finally, brainstorm a few compelling examples to show how you embody the most important characteristics. Don’t just write, “I have excellent customer service skills.” You want to prove it. Support your claim by writing something like,
“ Last summer, I worked as an orientation leader at my college, serving as a resource for incoming students and their parents. This experience strengthened my customer service skills. ”
Even if you don't have a lot of (or any) job experience, think about highlighting skills you've gained from extracurriculars, volunteer experience, or even passion projects:
“My passion for dance led me to become a volunteer dance teacher which helped me develop as a leader.”
6. Close the letter with grace and a call to action.
If the internship application does not explicitly state “please do not contact,” you might choose to conclude by specifying how you will follow up, such as, “I will call next week to see if my qualifications are a match,” or, “I am eager to meet with you to discuss this opportunity, and am available for an interview at a mutually convenient time.” Conclude by thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to consider you, and end on a positive, confident note, such as, “I look forward to speaking with you soon.”
You may even go a step further and give the hiring manager a call to action. Include a link to your online portfolio, a website, or even a YouTube channel where you display your work and personality. To see how often hiring managers are viewing these additional items, include tracking to your link using a URL tracker like Bitly to capture that data.
Sample Internship Cover Letter
Featured resource: 5 free cover letter templates, event planning internship cover letter.
1 Hireme Road
Boston, MA, 20813
Email: [email protected]
May 20, 2021
Event Planning Department -- Internship Program
35 Recruiting St.
Boston, MA, 29174
Dear Internship Coordinator,
At the suggestion of John Smith, a senior marketer at Company A, I am submitting my resume for the Event Coordinator internship position. I am a junior at Elon University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Event Management, and am passionate about event planning. I am thrilled to hear about Company A’s Event Coordinator internship program and feel my experiences and skills would be an excellent match for your organization.
As an executive member of the Student Union Board at Elon, I am in charge of organizing, promoting, and implementing multiple school-related social activities per week, while being challenged to design new events. I work cohesively with a diverse team made up of students and faculty, and I also foster relationships with novelty companies.
My experience as an Orientation Leader has further prepared me for this internship. It was essential that I remain positive, outgoing, and energized during move-in day and act as a liaison between new students, families, and faculty in a fast-paced and demanding environment. I was expected to maintain a highly professional customer service ethic while interacting with families and new students.
My Elon University experiences, executive board membership, and orientation leadership role have prepared me to be successful in the Event Coordinator internship program. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can add value to Company A.
Marketing Internship Cover Letter Template
Marketing Department — Internship Program
I am a passionate, creative, and driven Elon University student with leadership and event planning experience, as well as strong communication skills. I am seeking opportunities to showcase my writing abilities in a challenging and stimulating environment. My skills and experiences will enable me to deliver successful results as a digital marketing intern for Company B.
Please allow me to highlight my key skills:
- Prior experience writing blog posts and press releases for marketing objectives
- Strong communication skills and ability to adopt voice for diverse audiences and varying purposes
- Efficient in managing multiple projects with fast-moving deadlines through organization and time-management skills
- A firm understanding of grammar rules and how to write effectively
- Experience in leadership positions, both as Student Union Board executive leader and as an Elon Orientation Leader
- Proven ability to form positive relationships with people from around the globe, exhibited by my internship experience in China last summer
- Experience organizing, promoting, and implementing social events
- Proficient in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere), and social media platforms
In closing, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can be an asset to Company B. I will call next week to see if you agree that my qualifications are a match for the position. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Internship Cover Letter Examples
1. hospitality internship cover letter, why this cover letter example works:.
Passion, a willingness to learn, and previous industry experience are the factors that make this cover letter stand out. The hiring manager is able to see that the candidate has a genuine interest in the field of hospitality and takes their future in the field seriously.
How to incorporate these tips:
Start by analyzing your own experience and interest in comparison to the internship you're applying for. Do you have any examples, facts, or figures that you can include in your letter? This will help the hiring manager understand your interest in the position and give them more of a reason to hire you over the competition.
2. Supply Chain Internship Cover Letter
This student has concrete experience in three specific areas of the supply chain: demand forecasting, inventory management, and logistics strategies. Naming these areas of expertise is not only helpful for landing the internship, it helps the hiring manager structure the team by pairing them with other interns and mentors who can complement that skillset. If there's anything a hiring manager loves more than a prepared hire, it's a hire who's proactive!
3. Fashion Design Internship Cover Letter
Hands-on experience isn't possible in every field of work, but when you aspire to work in the fashion industry, there's no better way to stand out for an internship. In this internship cover letter example, Peter shares that he has practical experience designing clothing which demonstrates his ability to illustrate, design, and produce a material product which is exactly what Sleeves & Thread is looking for.
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. If you're planning to work in an industry that produces material goods, technology, or even provides services, a great way to prove your chops is to do it before you get the job. This might look like starting a small summer side hustle, working pro bono, or taking on projects at school for extra credit. Whatever route you choose, make sure to take on projects that build a quality portfolio that hiring managers will want to see.
4. Finance Internship Cover Letter
Rebecca takes the time to highlight her skillset, but she also balances her cover letter with reasons why Banking Corporation will be a great fit for her budding career. She gives plenty of reasons why the company is appealing to her which helps balance the cover letter.
The obvious point of a cover letter is to sell your skills to the hiring manager in order to secure the internship. However, it's important to remember that the hiring process is a two-way street. It's beneficial to incorporate reasons why you want to work for the business. Explaining what the business is doing that aligns with your personal goals and values can be the factor that tips the scale in your favor and gets you hired.
5. Marketing Cover Letter Internship Example
If you work in the industry of the arts, creative, or marketing, chances are you'll have more freedom when it comes to drafting your cover letter. Here, Robin takes a novel approach by weaving colorful language that practically jumps off the page. With just enough pizazz, her personality shines through which could leave the hiring manager wanting to learn more.
It may be tempting to throw in flowery language for the sake of standing out, but proceed with caution. A better approach would be to imagine you're seeing the internship opportunity for the first time, then share your excitement with a friend. Next, write down what you said, exactly as you said it, and edit from there to include the key points of a cover letter we mention in this article. You'll sound natural while still getting your point across succinctly.
Internship Cover Letter Templates
Standard internship cover letter template.
Use this cover letter template as a foundation for your cover letter. You can customize it to fit your experience and the companies you’ll be applying to.
Download this cover letter template
Data-Driven Internship Cover Letter Template
If your major is data-driven like STEM, marketing, or accounting, this is the internship cover letter template for you. With this template, you can include the data highlights of your class projects and assignments to show the hiring manager that you can support your experience with credible facts.
Entry-level Cover Letter Template
As you approach your senior year of college, you may be looking for entry-level roles rather than internships. Cover letters are just as important for full-time roles as they are for internships, so use this template to make the transition in your job search.
Wrapping Up Your Letter of Recommendation
A resume isn’t always enough to make an impression. Including a cover letter in your internship application is the first step to setting yourself apart from other applicants. Study and apply the six steps for writing a professional internship cover letter and use one of these samples or templates to customize it. Your resume gives the highlights of your time in college while your cover letter tells the story of how those experiences will serve you as an intern with your future employer. Use it to your advantage to land the first role in your career as you navigate college and beyond.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.
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15 internship & entry level cover letter templates
Make a professional cover letter to land the perfect internship or entry-level job with these free easy to use templates.
When applying for a job, a well-written cover letter can be just as important as a strong resume. A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume and provides additional context for your qualifications, experience, and interest in the position you are applying for. In this article, we will explore what a cover letter is and why it is an essential part of the job application process.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that serves as an introduction to your resume. It is typically addressed to the hiring manager or HR representative and provides additional information about your qualifications, experience, and interest in the position. A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out from other applicants and showcase why you are the best candidate for the job.
Why is a Cover Letter Important?
A cover letter is important for several reasons. Firstly, it provides an opportunity to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and explain why you are interested in the position. This can help to establish a personal connection and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. Secondly, a cover letter allows you to highlight your relevant skills and experience, which may not be immediately apparent from your resume alone. Finally, a well-written cover letter can help to demonstrate your writing skills and attention to detail, both of which are valuable qualities in any job.
What Should be Included in a Cover Letter?
A cover letter should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for and should include the following elements:
- Introduction: Begin by introducing yourself and explaining why you are interested in the position.
- Body: The body of your cover letter should provide additional information about your qualifications and experience, as well as specific examples of how your skills align with the requirements of the job. Use this section to highlight your relevant accomplishments and demonstrate your understanding of the position.
- Closing: End your cover letter by thanking the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity to interview for the position. Be sure to include your contact information so that the hiring manager can easily reach you if they have any further questions.
In conclusion, a cover letter is an important part of the job application process. It provides an opportunity to introduce yourself to the hiring manager, highlight your relevant skills and experience, and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. By taking the time to craft a well-written cover letter, you can increase your chances of standing out from other applicants and securing the job of your dreams.
Cover letter templates for internships
Software development internship.
[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP Code] [Your Phone Number] [Your Email Address] [Today's Date]
[Hiring Manager's Name] [Company Name] [Company Address] [City, State ZIP Code]
Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],
I am writing to apply for the Software Development Internship at [Company Name]. As a computer science student with a passion for programming, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or programming experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s software development initiatives.
[Your Signature] [Your Name]
Data Science Internship Template
I am writing to apply for the Data Science Internship at [Company Name]. As a computer science student with a strong interest in data analysis, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or data-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s data science initiatives.
Cybersecurity Internship Template
I am writing to apply for the Cybersecurity Internship at [Company Name]. As a computer science student with a strong interest in cybersecurity, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or cybersecurity-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s cybersecurity initiatives.
Marketing Internship Template
I am writing to apply for the Marketing Internship at [Company Name]. As a [Your degree program or field of study] student with a passion for marketing, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your team.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or extracurricular activities. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to learn and grow with [Company Name].
Finance Internship Template
I am writing to apply for the Finance Internship at [Company Name]. As a [Your degree program or field of study] student with a strong interest in finance, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or finance-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s financial initiatives.
Journalism Internship Template
[Hiring Manager's Name] [Publication Name] [Publication Address] [City, State ZIP Code]
I am writing to apply for the Journalism Internship at [Publication Name]. As a [Your degree program or field of study] student with a passion for journalism, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or journalism-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Publication Name]'s editorial team.
[Your Signature] [Your Name]Template for a Design Internship
Technology Internship Template
I am writing to apply for the Technology Internship at [Company Name]. As a [Your degree program or field of study] student with a strong interest in technology, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or technology-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s technology initiatives.
Public Relations Internship Template
I am writing to apply for the Public Relations Internship at [Company Name]. As a [Your degree program or field of study] student with a passion for communication, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or communication-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s public relations initiatives.
Education Internship Template
[Hiring Manager's Name] [School Name] [School Address] [City, State ZIP Code]
I am writing to apply for the Education Internship at [School Name]. As a [Your degree program or field of study] student with a passion for teaching, I am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or teaching-related experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the internship and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [School Name]'s educational initiatives.
Cover letter templates for entry level jobs
Basic entry-level template.
I am writing to apply for the [Position Name] role at [Company Name]. As a recent [Your degree or educational program], I am excited to begin my career in [Industry] and believe that this position would be an excellent opportunity to do so.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and explain your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight your relevant coursework, internships, or extracurricular activities. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name].
Entry-Level Marketing Template
I am writing to apply for the [Position Name] role at [Company Name]. As a recent graduate with a degree in Marketing, I am excited to begin my career in this field and believe that this position would be an excellent opportunity to do so.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and explain your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or internships. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s marketing initiatives.
Entry-Level Human Resources Template
I am writing to apply for the [Position Name] role at [Company Name]. As a recent graduate with a degree in Human Resources, I am excited about the opportunity to begin my career in this field and believe that this position would be an excellent opportunity to do so.
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s HR initiatives.
Entry-Level Graphic Design Template
I am writing to apply for the [Position Name] role at [Company Name]. As a recent graduate with a degree in Graphic Design, I am excited to begin my career in this field and believe that this position would be an excellent opportunity to do so.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and explain your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight any relevant coursework or design projects. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s design initiatives.
General Cover letter templates
Job application template.
I am writing to express my interest in the [Position Name] role at [Company Name]. As a [Your current or most recent position] with [Number of years of experience], I am confident that I possess the skills and qualifications necessary to excel in this position.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. In the second paragraph, highlight your relevant experience and skills. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Career Change Template
I am writing to express my interest in the [Position Name] role at [Company Name]. Although my background is in [Your previous career or industry], I am eager to pursue a new career path in [New career or industry] and believe that this position would be an excellent opportunity to do so.
[In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and explain your career change. In the second paragraph, highlight your transferable skills and any relevant experience. In the final paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and provide your contact information.]
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.
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Student Internship Cover Letter Samples & Examples That Worked in 2024
Internships are an important step in any young professional’s career. These positions give you an entryway into the industry of your choice, helping you to learn the ropes and build industry connections that can lead to long-term jobs down the line.
In this guide, we teach you five essential steps for writing a cover letter for an internship application. Continue reading to learn all about:
- Formatting a header for your intern cover letter
- Tailoring your intern cover letter to specific employers
- Writing a strong introduction for your intern cover letter
- Selecting the right skills and accomplishments for your intern cover letter
- Ending your intern cover letter with a memorable conclusion
- Finding useful job search resources for interns
1. How to properly format a header for your intern cover letter
The first step to writing an excellent cover letter that wins you the internship of your dreams is to create a professionally-styled header.
A cover letter header is the first block of text a reader will see when looking at your cover letter. It helps to not only give the letter structure but to also create a sense of visual flow.
In your header, you should include:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information
- The name of the company you are applying for an internship at
- The address of the company (this detail is especially important if a company has multiple locations)
Here is an example of a well-formatted intern cover letter header
Mack Jones , Engineering Student & Intern (123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | linkedin.com/in/mack-jones
To: Applejax Engineering Internship & Hiring Department 1234 Street Address Birmingham, AL
Create your cover letter fast with artificial intelligence.
2. how to tailor your intern cover letter to specific employers.
In addition to creating a header, another step to take is to research the employer thoroughly before beginning to write your cover letter.
Using the information you uncover in your research, you can tailor your cover letter to a specific company and employer. For instance, if a company is involved in a major project, you can highlight which of your skills can contribute to tasks associated with the project.
You should also look up who at a company is responsible for hiring, as this is the person most likely to read your cover letter. Once you discover who this person is, address them directly in your cover letter greeting.
Here are 3 examples of personalized cover letter greetings
Dear Intern Manager Jane Casey,
- Dear Ms. Jane Casey,
- Dear Hiring Manager Paul Newly
3. How to craft a strong introduction for your intern cover letter
Now that you have your header in place and your research ready to go, you can begin writing the body text of your cover letter.
The first paragraph you will write is your introduction . This should feature key information, such as:
- A brief overview of your professional and academic history
If you are a student applying for an internship, you likely lack extensive professional experience. Instead, you should focus on highlighting your relevant academic beckground.
- A statement on why you are enthusiastic about applying to this company
- A mutual acquaintance
Naming a mutual acquaintance when possible can go a long way in terms of giving you a competitive edge over others applying for an internship.
Here is an example of a strong introduction from an intern’s cover letter
As a senior at Appalachian State University, I have studied communications and public relations for more than three years. In my time at the university, I served as the Assistant Editor and later as the Chief Editor of the school newspaper. While working for the school paper, I met your company’s Head of PR, Mr. John Eggleston, whom I interviewed for a feature. Impressed with my professionalism, Mr. Eggleston strongly suggested I apply for this internship.
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4. How to select the best skills and accomplishments for your intern cover letter
After completing your introduction, you can now write the remaining body paragraphs of your letter.
The body paragraphs are where you will provide more in-depth insights into who you are, what skills you possess, and what accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the position.
Whenever possible, you should include quantifiable data points in your descriptions, such as statistics relating to a specific accomplishment. For instance, a customer service representative could list the exact percentage of sales they increased during a set timeframe.
Always aim to include the most relevant information possible and find ways to draw connections between your skills and the requirements of the internship.
Here are 6 examples of skills to describe in an intern cover letter
- Communication (describe your communication style)
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Critical thinking
- Time management
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in an intern cover letter
Developed and executed a successful social media campaign: During my marketing internship at XYZ Company, I took the lead in developing and executing a social media campaign aimed at increasing brand awareness and engagement. Through strategic content planning, targeted audience segmentation, and creative visuals, we achieved a 30% increase in social media followers and a 20% boost in overall engagement. This campaign not only expanded the company's online presence but also generated valuable leads and customer interactions.
Conducted market research to identify new target segments: As an intern at ABC Corporation, I was responsible for conducting market research to identify untapped target segments for a new product launch. Through surveys, focus groups, and competitor analysis, I gathered valuable insights into consumer preferences and market trends. Based on my research findings, I developed a comprehensive target segment profile and recommended strategic marketing initiatives to capture these segments. The insights provided by my research contributed to the successful launch and positioning of the product in the market.
Assisted in the development and execution of a successful email marketing campaign: During my internship at DEF Company, I actively contributed to the planning and execution of an email marketing campaign. I collaborated with the marketing team to create engaging email content, design visually appealing templates, and segment the target audience based on demographic and behavioral factors. As a result of the campaign, we achieved a 25% increase in email open rates and a 15% conversion rate, effectively driving sales and customer engagement.
5. How to end your intern cover letter with a memorable conclusion
Last but not least, the final step in writing an intern cover letter is to create a memorable conclusion .
Making a conclusion memorable ultimately comes down to letting the employer know how and when to contact you, as well as applying slight pressure by stating when you plan to follow up. This can encourage the employer to contact you quickly, increasing the chances of you earning an interview.
Don’t forget to include a formal sign-off (sincerely, many thanks, etc.) to keep your cover letter sounding professional through the very end.
Using email signature generators to create a polished and professional signature can also leave a lasting impression on the recipient.
Here is an example of a memorable conclusion from an intern cover letter
It is with great excitement that I submit this application and letter for your consideration. I am eager to hear from you and hope to speak directly within the next week. You may reach me any day of the week between the hours of 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., or from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the evenings. If I have not heard back by next Monday morning, I plan to follow up via phone call at that time.
6. Useful job search resources for interns
Stepping into the professional world as an intern can be thrilling yet overwhelming. Navigating through job posts, company profiles, and application expectations can seem like a maze.
But don't fret, we've got your back. Here are some excellent resources to uncomplicate your internship hunt:
- Glassdoor: A one-stop shop to explore company reviews, salary insights, and potential interview questions. They also have a comprehensive section dedicated to internships across industries.
- LinkedIn: The world's largest professional network can be a goldmine for internships. Leverage features such as job alerts and company pages to hone your search.
- Indeed: Known for its robust job listings, Indeed makes finding internships straightforward with its user-friendly interface and advanced search options.
- InternMatch: A resource geared towards helping you find the perfect internship. You can filter by city, industry, and even specific skills.
- Your university's career services: Often overlooked, but your institution's career centre can provide personalized advice, contact with potential employers, and insight into upcoming job fairs and networking events.
Remember, while these platforms can streamline your search, landing the perfect internship also hinges on a well-written cover letter. So be sure to stand out from the crowd and show your potential employer who they'd miss out on if they didn't bring you onboard!
Student Internship Cover Letter FAQ
While the structure and core content of your cover letter should remain the same, an unpaid internship cover letter might include a section explaining why you're willing to forego pay. This could be due to the valuable experience it offers, the chance to work with specific professionals, or because the internship aligns with your career goals.
Absolutely. If you lack professional experience, academic projects are a great way to showcase your skills and initiative. Just make sure to explain how the project is relevant to the internship you're applying for.
While it might save time, it's not the best strategy. Hiring managers can usually tell when a cover letter has been recycled. Customize your cover letter to match each position. Is it more work? Yes. But will it improve your chances of landing the internship? Absolutely.
If it's possible, try to find out the hiring manager's name – LinkedIn or the company's website can be good places to start your search. If not, it's safer to use a generic greeting like "Dear Hiring Manager" as opposed to "To Whom It May Concern," which can seem outdated.
Yes, you can. Remember that internships are learning experiences. What's critical is showcasing your willingness to learn and the skills you do have in your cover letter. Don't focus solely on what you lack, but more on what you'll bring to the company.
Martin is a resume expert and career advice writer at Kickresume. In his five years at Kickresume, he has written hundreds of in-depth, painstakingly researched resume advice articles and, as chief editor, he has also edited and revised every single article on this website. Tens of thousands of job seekers read Martin’s resume advice every month. He holds a degree in English from the University of St Andrews and a degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Amsterdam .
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Sample Cover Letter for a Summer Internship
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Cover letter example for a summer internship, how to send your cover letter, more sample cover letters.
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Are you on the hunt for a summer internship or job? You will most likely need to include a cover letter when you apply, in addition to a resume and references . When you're applying for summer positions, it's important to show the hiring manager how you're qualified for the position and what you have to offer the employer.
Here's everything you need to know to prepare that piece of correspondence, from what to include to how to send it, along with an example of a summer internship cover letter that you can use for inspiration while writing your own.
Work Experience and Skills
In your cover letter , you should include your previous employment (internships and work) experience and two or three examples of the relevant skills you gained. I
Educational and Extracurricular Activities
If you only have limited related employment experience, you can include examples from your coursework, school projects, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work.
How You're a Fit for the Job
Your goal is to provide the hiring manager with an understanding of how your personality, background, and skills will translate into making you a strong employee or intern. So, include information that demonstrates how your abilities align with the role itself.
Your resume lists your skills, and your cover letter highlights how you have put those skills to use.
The following is a sample cover letter for a summer job or internship. Remember to omit the contact information from the header for emails. You can tailor it to fit your experiences and the position for which you are applying.
Your Contact Information (skip this section if you're sending an email) Your Name Address City, State Zip Code Phone Number Cell Phone Number Email
Employer Contact Information (skip this section as well if you're sending an email) Name Title Company Address City, State, Zip Code
Date (Again, no need to include this section in an email)
Dear Mr./Ms. LastName,
Please accept my enthusiastic application for the public relations internship you posted through ABC College's Career Services Office. I would love the opportunity to work as a summer assistant for your company. After reading the description of the position and the required skills, I believe I am a well-qualified candidate for the job.
You specify that you are looking for someone with strong writing skills for publishing press releases and other information material. As an English major, a writing tutor, and an editor of my school paper and multiple literary magazines, I have become a skilled writer with a variety of experience.
I also fulfill your requirement that applicants be both academically successful and resourceful. As a double major in the Honors Forum with a 3.99 GPA, I have displayed my strong work ethic and my ability to rise to intellectual challenges. I have also demonstrated my resourceful nature while working for Sarasota Reads, a program that involves discussing literature with young adults. As a group leader, I have devised numerous creative ways to engage children in the novels we read.
For example, I organized a festival for the students to provide information on the social context of one of the books. I believe my academic record and independent, resourceful nature make me extremely qualified for an internship with your company.
Working as an office assistant for the Career Services Office at ABC College, I have acquired skills that will be valuable as a PR assistant. My position has helped me gain experience in making phone calls, performing standard office duties, and executing computer efficiency. I have carried out these responsibilities with organization, speed, and accuracy for the past three years.
I am confident that my office experience, writing skills, academic record, and resourcefulness are just the qualities you are looking for at Sunrise, Inc.
I have enclosed my resume, along with a recommendation from Jim Greenspan, my supervisor at Career Services.
I would love the chance to speak further with you about my opportunities with your company.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Signature (no need to include in an email)
First Name Last Name
Email Signature (skip this section in a hard copy letter) Cell: 555-555-8745 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Depending on the application process, you will either send your letter in written form or by email.
If you are emailing your cover letter , you will need to be clear in the subject line about the contents of the message. For example, the subject, “Sarah Campbell’s Cover Letter: Summer Journalism Internship,” is straightforward and will allow the hiring manager to file it appropriately.
For emailed cover letters, there's no need to include contact info in the heading. Instead, begin the message with the salutation. You can add your phone number and email address below your closing.
Keep browsing and looking for inspiration with these cover letter samples for a variety of career fields and employment levels, including an internship cover letter sample, entry-level, targeted, and email cover letters.
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Home » Internship Tips » Tips & Tricks » How to Write Cover Letter for an Internship?
How to Write a Cover Letter for Internships [Examples & Template]
Cover letters and resumes are the introductory documents that help an employer form their first impressions about a future employee. Thus, it is very important to draft the perfect documents to find success, especially when applying for an internship. To help you through the drafting process we are going to walk you through the process of writing a cover letter for an internship that not only grabs attention but leaves a lasting impression.
Table of Contents
How to Write Cover Letter for an Internship?
Want to write the best cover letter for an internship role? Follow the steps below and learn how to write a cover letter for an internship.
- Mention Your Details: At the top left corner of the internship cover letter, write your full name, address, email ID, and phone number.
- Add Date: Next, add the date you are writing the letter.
- Mention Receiver’s Details: Mention the receiver’s name followed by the company address. The receiver can be the manager or the HR professional responsible for recruitment.
- Address the Recruiter: Write “Dear [name]” to address the recruiter before beginning the main content of the letter.
- Opening Statement: Write a brief statement that appeals to the recruiter and informs them of your intent to apply for the internship position. You can add one or two of your key achievements here but do not forget to mention which position you are applying for.
- For example , you mention you have strong communication skills. Back the claim with a background story of how you gave a presentation on a technical topic and were able to communicate your idea easily to the audience due to your skills.
- Closing Paragraph: Thank the recruiter and add a call to action, like requesting them to check your resume for more details or that you are available for an interview to discuss the internship opportunity further.
- End With Formal Salutation: End your letter with “Warm Regards” or “Sincerely.”
Also Read: How to Write Cover Letter for a Job?
Cover Letter Template For Internships
Let us look at this template to understand how to write a cover letter for an internship.
Also Read: Cover Letter Formats
Sample Cover Letter for Internship for Different Sectors
Here are some cover letter examples/samples for an internship based on different sectors for your better understanding:
1. Sample Cover Letter for Information Technology (IT)
This sample cover letter for internship is for the IT Sector like Web Development, Data Analyst, etc.
2. Sample Cover Letter for Finance
This cover letter format for an internship will guide you on how to create a cover letter for a job in the financial sector.
3. Sample Cover Letter for Marketing and Advertising
This cover letter for internship in the marketing and advertising will help you showcase the skills that will enable you to contribute effectively in the corporate world, especially if you are seeking digital marketing internships .
4. Sample Cover Letter for Graphic Design
This is the best cover letter for an internship in graphic designing . It will help recruiters see your passion for design which will increase your chances of getting hired.
5. Sample Cover Letter for Human Resources (HR)
This is the best way of writing a cover letter for an internship if you are looking for work from home HR jobs or for in-office HR Jobs.
6. Sample Cover Letter for Law
This format will highlight your relevant skills and experiences and make you a strong candidate for part time jobs /internship opportunities.
Mistakes to Avoid while Drafting a Cover Letter
When writing cover letters it’s important to pay attention to minute details, here are some mistakes that you should avoid while writing your cover letter:
- Generic Templates- Craft a unique letter for each application, tailored to the specific internship and company.
- Ignoring Formatting- Use clear headings, bullet points, and a readable font. A well-formatted cover letter reflects your attention to detail.
- Overwhelming Length- Keep your cover letter concise and to the point. Aim for around 250-300 words.
- Neglecting Proofreading- Always proofread your cover letter before sending it out. Typos and grammatical errors can make a negative impression.
- Overusing Jargon- While it’s great to demonstrate your knowledge, avoid overloading your cover letter with industry jargon or technical terms. Explain complex concepts briefly and clearly to ensure your message is easily understood.
In this blog, we’ve covered some key points for writing a cover letter for an internship. By adding your own unique touch and showing your excitement for the role, you can set yourself apart from other applicants. So, take your time while writing a cover letter, and let your strengths shine on the page.
If you thought this blog was helpful, tell us in the comments section below. Also, check out these online interview tips before going for your next job interview.
Also Read: What is Mock Interview?
Frequently Asked Questions
To write a good cover letter for an internship, include keywords from the internship description, proofread to ensure content flow, highlight extracurriculars, format well, and customize each cover letter.
To write a letter asking for an internship, research the company to tailor your response accordingly. Write a meaningful subject line, add a greeting, and express your interest in the internship and the reason along with your skills and educational qualifications.
Here is a sample for a basic cover letter: “My name is [your name], and I am writing to express my interest in the internship role [role title] at your company [company name]. I am excited to share that I believe I have the necessary skills and knowledge that make me the best candidate for the internship role. Kindly consider my application. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Here is how you can write a cover letter for a legal internship, “Dear [recruiter’s name], As a recent law graduate, I am excited to hear about the internship role your company [name of the company] is offering. I have an additional certification course in corporate law and possess trial preparation skills. I am certain my skills and talent will be a great addition to your organization. Kindly consider my application in a positive light. I am excited to discuss this opportunity further with you. You can contact me at [email ID]. Thanks for your consideration.”
You should write a cover letter for an internship because it allows you to mention additional details you could not in the resume and provide background to some information like skills.
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Sandipta Banerjee has completed her Master's in English Literature and Language. She has been working in the field of editing and writing for the past five years. She started her writing journey at a very young age with her poems which have now evolved into a poetry blog. She was working as Editorial Head in a US-based publishing house before joining Internshala.
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Are Cover Letters Necessary?
Do cover letters matter these days? It depends on who you ask.
Some recruiters love learning more about each job applicant, while others find the practice antiquated. So should you write one if it might not even be read at all?
Keep reading for advice from career coaching experts, plus:
- When you should (and shouldn't) write a cover letter
- What to do when a cover letter is "optional"
- Tips for writing an effective cover letter
- What an effective cover letter template looks like
Do I Need a Cover Letter ?
In most cases, yes—you should submit a cover letter with your resume.
While the cover letter has increasingly become a divisive topic among recruiters and job seekers , it's still often listed as a requirement on job applications .
But regardless, many recruiters still think cover letters are important.
According to a 2023 study by recruitment website Zippia , more than a fourth (26 percent) of recruiters "always read cover letters " and think they're an important component of the hiring decision. And almost half (45 percent) said that not including a cover letter could get your application rejected.
So in most cases, it's best to be cautious and include one.
In short, including a cover letter will almost never hurt your job search —but it can help.
- It can help you stand out from the crowd . Recruiters read through countless resumes for just one role. If you have similar qualifications as other candidates, a cover letter allows you to showcase your personality and unique skills.
- It shows you're willing to go the extra mile . Searching for a new job is already a lot of effort, so it may be difficult to rationalize writing a customized cover letter for each role. But the Zippia study found that 61 percent of hiring managers consider a customized resume (with a cover letter, portfolio link, etc.) the "number one tactic for applicants to boost their chances of getting a job."
- You can address potential biases . In a perfect world, recruiters wouldn't count you out based on things like employment gaps or " job hopping ." Career coach Marlo Lyons recommends using your cover letter to "fill in any gaps" and provide context about these types of situations so recruiters don't get the wrong impression.
When You Should Include a Cover Letter
It's ultimately up to you whether you include a cover letter.
Octavia Goredema, career coach and author of Prep, Push, Pivot , says that the decision to submit a cover letter hinges on "where you are in your career journey and your personal career goals."
In addition to when it's a required part of the job posting, here are scenarios where it's in your best interest to submit one:
- If someone referred you to the job : According to Goredema, "If you were referred to an opportunity by someone at the company or have a personal history that correlates with the role, a cover letter enables you to share that."
- If you want to add additional information : Say the job you're applying to requires candidates to live on a specific coast. If you don't currently live in the area but are willing to relocate, mention that in your cover letter so you aren't automatically rejected based on your current location.
- If you're changing careers : Goredema recommends writing one "if you're in the early stages of your career or making a professional pivot. A cover letter provides the opportunity to add additional context to the information included in your resume."
- If you don't have any previous work experience : If you're new to the workforce, you may not have any applicable previous positions to include on your resume. Use your cover letter to highlight transferrable skills and explain why you think you'd still be a good fit.
Lastly, Goredema suggests that "if this is your dream job, a cover letter provides the space for you to explain with impact and highlight what you do best."
Debra Boggs, founder and CEO of D&S Executive Career Management, adds: "As long as a cover letter is well-written and error-free, it will never hurt your chances of winning an interview."
So the more important the role is to you, the more effort you should put in.
When You Shouldn't Include a Cover Letter
There are certainly times when you should send a cover letter with your resume—but are there times when you shouldn't send one in? Here are a few instances:
- If the application platform doesn't have a space to upload one : If there isn't a space for you to attach your cover letter or other supporting documents, don't sweat it. This means that other applicants won't be able to send one either.
- If the job posting doesn't require one : If the post specifically states that you shouldn't include a cover letter, it's not a trick. The recruiter likely doesn't plan to read it, so it's best to reserve your time for other job search activities .
- If you aren't a strong writer : Lyons recommends forgoing a cover letter if you aren't a good writer and don't have anyone to help you. "The cover letter could be your first impression, and a badly written one—especially with grammatical errors—could make recruiters not want to screen you for the job."
- If you don't have time : Strapped for time? Goredema suggests "[focusing] on your resume and the application requirements versus haphazardly throwing together a few sentences just to meet an application deadline."
What To Do When a Cover Letter is 'Optional'
"Optional" cover letters can feel like a trick. You want to show the recruiter you're interested in the role, but you don't want to waste your time if it isn't necessary.
Lyons recommends skipping the optional cover letter "if your resume and LinkedIn profile are complete and no further explanation is needed."
However, it can be helpful to write one if "your resume doesn't tell the whole story about you." (Think resume gaps or career changes.)
Goredema believes it can be helpful to include a cover letter, regardless of whether it's a requirement. "Why not take the opportunity? It may help you to stand out. Going the extra mile by sending a well-written, personalized cover letter can only work to your advantage versus working against you."
So it can be helpful to put in extra effort if you have more to add to your application. But you shouldn't include a subpar cover letter just for the sake of it.
7 Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter
Regardless of your feelings toward the now-controversial cover letter, you'll likely find yourself writing one for at least some of the jobs you apply to.
Here's how to draft one that actually grabs a recruiter's attention:
1. Keep Things Short
Lyons suggests writing "three to four paragraphs at most, with two to three sentences in each paragraph."
Goredema adds: "Avoid long rambling sentences and keep your letter concise to make it easy to read."
Even if a particular recruiter loves cover letters, they might sift through hundreds of applications to find the right candidates. So it's best to be brief.
2. Follow the Rules
Some recruiters will ask you to include a portfolio link, send the cover letter via email, ask you to answer specific questions, etc. Be sure to fully read the job post's requirements—you don't want to be counted out for failing to follow directions.
3. Don't Repeat Your Resume
Lyons cautions repeating information the recruiter already has access to. Instead, "Tell the story of you—something important that you did not cover on your resume and how that story connects to the current position."
Think of it as connecting the dots between your experience, skills and capabilities. Explain why you'd be a good fit for the role rather than repeating the skills section of your resume .
4. Use Active Voice and Action Verbs
With active voice, the subject of a sentence performs the action. Passive voice puts more emphasis on the object of the sentence.
Using active voice is more direct and straightforward. Plus, it helps keep things brief.
Aim to use active voice throughout your resume and cover letter. This will help you sound clear and confident.
Here's an example of passive voice, plus how to fix it to use active voice:
- Passive voice : The treats were eaten by the dogs.
- Active voice : The dogs ate the treats.
If you struggle with writing in active voice consistently, think about the action verbs you'd use to describe your skills and experiences.
For example, instead of "I was tasked with x," you could say, "I managed x."
5. Be Specific
Include specific examples (i.e., instead of "I'm a team player," allude to a situation where you were a team player). If you've ever taken a writing course, you've probably heard the advice "show don't tell." The same advice applies to your resume and cover letter.
You could say "I have marketing experience," but what does that communicate to the reader? Not much.
Be specific about your experience and accomplishments. Instead, say "I led a marketing campaign that increased quarterly newsletter sign-ups by 40%."
Check your cover letter for grammar and spelling mistakes before submitting it to avoid a professional faux pas.
Use spellcheck or an external app like Grammarly, which is also compatible with web browsers.
7. Customize It
At best, a generic cover letter is boring or a little awkward. At worst, it can be unprofessional if what you wrote about has nothing to do with the job you're applying for.
Think about it this way: your cover letter might be the deciding factor between you and another candidate with the same skills and experience. So you want to grab the recruiter's attention.
You don't need to spend tons of time rewriting your cover letter for every job application, though. Here are a few things you can do to stand out:
- Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name (you can sometimes find this information on the LinkedIn job post)
- Include the company name and job title
- Mention what you like about the specific company and its culture
- Detail skills and experience specifically mentioned on the job post
Boggs advises to "create a template that you can easily customize to include the relevant skills and experience for each job and employer."
Read on for inspiration for your own template.
Cover Letter Template
It can be time-consuming to write a new cover letter for every job application. Here's a template you can customize for different positions:
Dear [name of recruiter, "hiring manager"] , I saw the job posting for [exact title of role] and am excited about the opportunity. [1-2 sentences detailing why you're interested in the role/company.] In my previous role, [brief description of your accomplishments beyond what your resume states.] I also have [1-2 sentences detailing relevant experience, including specific skills and level of proficiency.] [If applicable: include a short paragraph with a link to your portfolio or any other relevant links.] Thank you for your time—if you'd like to schedule an interview, please feel free to contact me [brief description of the best time and method for contact.] Sincerely, [Your Name] [Phone Number] [Email]
Cover Letter FAQs
Still wondering if you need a cover letter for your specific situation? Or if recruiters actually read every cover letter? Read on for answers.
Do I Need a Cover Letter for a Part-Time Job?
The same advice applies to part-time jobs—cover letters aren't always necessary, but they can help you stand out. If you're especially interested in a part-time role, it's a good idea to submit a cover letter.
Do I Need a Cover Letter for an Internship?
Many people who apply for internships don't have significant prior work experience, so a cover letter is especially helpful here.
Instead of previous jobs, you can talk about:
- Your education
- Extra-curricular activities
- Transferrable skills
- Volunteer experience
You can include similar points if you're looking for an entry-level job and don't have prior work experience.
Can I Use AI To Write a Cover Letter?
Proceed with caution when using ChatGPT or a similar tool to write content for you. Employers may be using AI content detectors to identify which candidates used a shortcut.
AI programs like ChatGPT create content based on their existing libraries, so content is never really "new." Meaning it's impossible to tell if you're accidentally plagiarizing someone unless you heavily edit the chatbot's answers.
Goredema points out a potential pitfall in relying too heavily on AI: "If your goal is to get an interview, you don't want there to be a huge gap between how you communicate on paper versus how you communicate in person ."
Here are a few ways you can use AI to add to the writing process :
- Checking for active voice
- Adding action verbs
- Creating a rough draft
- Checking your writing tone
Do Recruiters Actually Read Your Cover Letter?
The big question—is the effort behind your cover letter worth it? Again, there's no perfect answer.
The most important thing is to ensure hiring managers have all the information they need to fairly consider you for a position.
Boggs cautions: "Remember, not all recruiters and hiring managers read cover letters, so
make sure to include all your relevant qualifications and accomplishments
in your resume as well, so these details don't get missed."
But there are other creative ways to stand out apart from a cover letter.
According to Goredema, "The general feedback I hear from the recruiters I work with is that a resume accompanied by their LinkedIn profile supersedes a cover letter because they will tell a recruiter at first glance what they need to know about a candidate."
So, are cover letters really necessary these days?
Lyons says that recruiters primarily care about two things:
- "Does an applicant have the skills and capabilities to do the job?"
- "Will the applicant fit the culture of the team and the company?"
Cover letters can help you stand out among a sea of applicants or explain difficult job situations—so in most cases, it's helpful to include one with your resume.
But whether you decide to send a cover letter with your resume or not, be sure the recruiter has all the information they need to be confident about you and your experience.
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