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Andrew Arkley|January 8, 2021

How To Write a Cover Letter For An Internship

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Unsure how to write a cover letter for an internship? We’ve got you covered.

It can be tricky knowing how to get work experience, particularly during a global pandemic where positions are scarcer than ever before.

In these unprecedented times, a great internship cover letter can make all the difference. 

For our top tips on how to secure that internship, read on…

Introduce yourself

According to a study by Microsoft, the average attention span of a human is eight seconds – and for hiring managers, it’s no different. 

For this reason, even the very first line should be well thought out and precise. 

As such, doing your research and addressing your work experience letter to the relevant person within the company can be key. Often, this can be found on the company website or on LinkedIn.

Don’t worry too much about not getting the right person exactly – managers will appreciate a candidate taking the initiative to research.

The ‘what’ & ‘how’

It’s useful for companies to know which job role advertising methods are working, so it’s a good idea to state which role you’re applying for and where you found it. 

For example, in the first paragraph of your work experience cover letter: “I am excited to apply for the role of CV Intern at PurpleCV, as advertised on PurpleCV.com.”

Why are you a good match for the job? 

If you’re applying for an internship, there’s a good chance you might not have huge amounts of professional experience – and that’s okay.

As such, ‘key skills’ are the name of the game for your internship cover letter. 

Firstly, using the job description, pick some key soft skills the employer is looking for. Among the most in-demand skills for 2020 were creativity, persuasion and collaboration, according to LinkedIn.

Next, match these to your own experiences. These might range from working as a waiter in your local restaurant to extra-curricular activities such as sports.

When describing your experiences, make sure to use active verbs which emphasise the impact you had. You can find an extensive list by Harvard University here. If you can use numbers to quantify your achievements, all the better.

In an internship, a willingness to learn is key – it’s likely you will be shown various parts of the business, so being able to pick up new things quickly is important. How have you demonstrated this? Maybe you took the initiative to learn a new hobby recently?

Once you have this down, think about what makes you unique. What do you have that you feel no other candidates will have? Make sure this shines through in your work experience cover letter.

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Performing in the role

You might want to take it one step further and apply your skills directly to the role.

This could be done in a few ways. 

For example, if the internship mentions any specific duties, mention how you would use your skills with reference to the exact wording used in the job description. Make the hiring manager imagine you in the role.

Alternatively, you could also state how your skills would help you in your chosen industry.

For example, in your work experience letter: “My excellent written communication skills would be key as a journalist.”

Although not a long-term role, think about how you could add value to the company… you never know – doing well here could help you further down the road! 

Why do you want to work for the company?

Here, you might like to think about what inspires you about working for this organisation.

Are there any major projects or campaigns they’re working on? You might find these on their website, social media or Google News. If you want regular updates, you can even set Google Alerts on specific keywords.

LinkedIn can be a great tool, too – maybe the company or its employees are posting about certain topics. If you’re lucky, you might have a connection at the business who can talk to you about any upcoming projects. If not, why not reach out? 

What are their company values and vision? Do these align with your own personal values? To get a better idea, you can check out Glassdoor.

Or maybe a specific employee has inspired you to pursue this career path? 

Whichever reason you choose, conveying genuine enthusiasm in your work experience cover letter is key.

Concluding

Signing off an internship cover letter can feel awkward. 

Often, it is sufficient simply to thank the hiring manager for their consideration and indicate you are looking forward to hearing from them.

If this feels too abrupt, you may wish to write one or two concluding sentences which recap the body of your letter.

Remember: when signing your own name, if you have named a person at the start you should use ‘yours sincerely’. If you’ve addressed your letter to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, you should sign with ‘yours faithfully’.

Formatting

So you’ve crafted eloquently your work experience letter, but sending it without formatting properly can put your hard work to waste.

The key areas to focus on here are font, length and spacing.

Font should be clear, readable and of an appropriate size (no size 48 Snap ITC here, please). 

In addition, ideally, your letter should be 200-300 words in length and certainly no longer than a page.

Finally, avoid large chunks of text and make sure your paragraphs are logical. A good rule of thumb is to aim for four paragraphs divided into how you heard about the position; why you are a good candidate; why you are interested in the role and the company; and concluding remarks.

How to write a cover letter for an internship

Crafting a strong work experience cover letter is one of best ways to get noticed for an internship. 

If you’d like to give yourself the best chance of attracting attention, click here to find out more about our professional CV writing services.

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