Writing a cover letter for internship is the first thing that any fresher would usually do. In fact, it would be the first cover letter that you would write to apply for something similar to a job. Because, an internship is indeed the first job, regardless of whether it’s paid or unpaid.
In this article, I will discuss some very important points on how to write a cover letter for internship while providing a few examples.
Importance of Internship & Cover Letter
Let’s begin by understanding why an internship and a superb cover for one is important.
Internship is gateway to your career.
Personally, I consider applying for an internship is much more important than applying for a job. That’s because an internship is actually the gateway to your career. In fact, an internship provides excellent opportunities to put into practice all the knowledge you’ve gotten from studying a specific course.
An internship gives you on-hands practice on a job you’d like to do. In fact, an internship helps identify your strengths and weaknesses in a particular role and helps fine-tune your skills.
Furthermore, internships also prepare you for the highly competitive job market by providing some level of work experience that an employer would desire. This means, you enter the job market with an edge over any other fresher that hasn’t done an internship.
Therefore, an excellent cover letter for internship is extremely important. Because it actually serves as a resource to embark on your career, in a field of your choice and most likely, with an organization where you’d love to work.
Basics of Writing Internship Cover Letter
The above facts amply highlight the importance of internship and an internship cover letter. Therefore, before getting down to write one, here’re some key points to consider before creating an cover letter.
Identify Objectives for Internship
The first thing to consider before writing a cover letter is to identify your own professional and personal objectives for an internship.
Unless you’re serious about learning and fine-tuning your skills and putting your knowledge to test, there’s absolutely no point in applying for an internship.
In fact, a lot of interns drop out from internship because they find the work isn’t something they want to do.
While some interns aren’t willing to exert extra efforts to gain vital job skills, others apply for internships only because they want some sort of a certificate from the organization to use for job applications.
These factors come into play when you’re writing an internship cover letter. You cannot fake interest in an internship and later get off by dropping out because you can’t cope with the work or aren’t really interested in that career or profession.
Free Internship or Paid Internship
Are you planning to apply for a free internship or a paid internship? This is one more important element to consider before writing a cover letter.
That’s because college and universities often have agreements with companies for internships.
If you’re applying for one of those, it’s better to know in advance whether you’ll get any money from the work or would you be working only to test your knowledge, gain some experience and perfect your skills.
Understandably, there’re various laws that don’t allow organizations to hire interns for free. They will pay you some stipend. In such cases, it’s worth finding whether the stipend or wages would cover the expenses you’ll incur on traveling to work and other related necessities.
There’s no point in taking an internship where you would be spending a lot from your purse or pocket on commuting and other expenses.
Unless of course you’re very keen to complete an internship with that specific organization for any particular reason and are willing to work free or a small pay.
Know the Organization
Always learn about the organization before writing an internship cover letter. That’s because you might believe that working for a certain organization might meet your career needs.
But it may turn out that the company might not be able to offer you an internship for the specific skills you’re looking to develop.
One of the ways to learn about an organization and whether they’ve an internship role that suits your career objective is by reading company profiles available online or through worlds top job boards such as Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com among others.
There’re also several websites which are dedicated for interns only. They also carry reviews about pay and working conditions from interns that’ve worked there before you.
LinkedIn is another superb place to look for company profiles and reviews. In fact, LinkedIn is one of the topmost places where millions of fresher candidates look for suitable internships.
You may need to create a LinkedIn profile to access these reviews and pay scales, company leadership and areas of business.
Define Your Role as Intern
One of the common yet inadvertent error that most interns commit: they don’t define the role they wish to play as an intern while writing a cover letter to apply for internships.
As a result, they end up working in areas that’ve nothing to do with their skills or sometimes, educational qualifications. As a result, the internship they do has little or no positive impact on their career. And sometimes, it can prove to be a waste of time and effort.
The best thing to do while writing an internship cover letter is by defining the role you would like to play at the organization. Here it’s important to consider two things.
The first is the significance of that role to your future growth in the chosen career. And secondly, the benefits the employer gets by offering you internship for the role.
Find Future Scope of Employment
As I mention earlier in this article, an internship is the gateway to your career. In fact, most employers are willing to offer fulltime employment by offering jobs to successful interns. And this could be an opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss.
Because it saves you the hassles of looking for jobs, applying, appearing for an interview and competing with others to get hired.
Also, you’ll be familiar with working conditions at the organization where you do an internship and know co-workers. Also, over a period of three to six months, the routine of reporting for work as intern would have become part of your lifestyle.
This is yet another element to consider while writing a superb cover letter for internship. Regardless of the size, if the organization does hold the promise of a future for your career, it’s best to be very clear and indicate the same in your cover letter.
Possibilities of Work from Home
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is causing a tremendous spurt in work from home. America is home to an estimated 57 million freelancer, the largest such workforce in the world.
And companies are hiring interns on specific roles to cut payrolls and buffer the financial crunch due to lower business yields caused by economic downturns caused by the pandemic.
Furthermore, the pandemic is also moving internships from office to work-from-home systems due to the need for social distancing.
One of the advantages of freelancing as intern is that you can work from home for organizations that’re based anywhere in the country or even abroad.
If you look around, there’s superb chances that you might find some work from home internships. These can prove very useful in developing your work from home skills and you could become a very successful freelancer too.
Writing Cover Letter for Internship
To write a fantastic cover letter for internship, I suggest you bear all the above points in mind. At the same time, you need to follow a proper format while writing one. You can find some excellent samples.
Here’re some broad guidelines on how to write a cover letter for internship.
1. Subject Line
Clearly mention on the cover letter- or nowadays on the subject line of email- that you’re applying for internship.
If a company posts they’re looking for interns, you can directly state that you’re applying for the internship. And if there’re no ads but you’d like to apply, frame your subject in words such as “Request for Internship.”
2. Address it Right
Meaning, address your cover letter for internship to the right person. This could be anyone from a Human Resources manager to an admin executive or even the business owner in some cases.
Where possible, refer to the person by their family name.
Often, you might come across an email that begins with the prefix “careers@”. In such cases, simply use the words Dear Madam/ Sir.
3. Introduce Yourself
A cover letter for internship should always start with a brief- say two or three sentences- introduction about yourself. You can state things such as your location, age and gender, if necessary.
The introduction part is something where you could us creativity. Rather than penning those typical run-of-the mill introductions, use something creative such as “Would you like to give a budding (profession) an opportunity?” or “Could you play a role in shaping my career?” these creative intros can catch the employer’s attention.
4. Indicate Your Qualifications
Nobody expects you to have work experience while applying for internship. Therefore, the focus would be obviously on your academic qualifications.
Therefore, the next thing that you should mention are your educational qualifications. Be very concise and state only details such as the stream of your studies and the degree you hold.
There’s no need to go into further details since those will appear on your Resume. Hence, it’s best to avoid repetition in the internship cover letter.
5. Importance for Your Career
You can add a few lines about why the internship holds tremendous importance for your career. By stating the significance of the internship for your future, you’re actually indicating an interest in the chosen field.
This tends to impress an employer. They know you’re serious about the chosen career and would be more willing to offer an internship compared over any casual applicants.
Your interest also clearly indicates you’re open to learning, exerting extra efforts and being an asset to the organization while on internship.
An internship means the company or employer also invests resources on your skills development. Usually, they’ll allot lots of resources such as time and effort of a senior in that field and work tools such as computer, Internet use and of course, the stipend they pay.
Your interest in the field and internship is an indicator that an employer can view the expenses as an investment in your future and the business itself.
6. Reasons for Selecting that Organization
As a rule, always say why you’re interested in working for that particular organization where you’re applying for an internship. The cover letter should contain strong reasons on why you’re selecting that organization.
This is possible when you study a bit about the organization or employer, as I mention earlier. Point out how the employer can help your career growth by investing on your internship. Be clear and precise about what areas of the organization are interesting for your career launch and growth.
At the same time, never fake it to make it. This means, avoid flattering language or flowery words since they’ll definitely be seen as the proverbial apple polishing. It will be viewed as a cheap tactic to get an internship instead of genuine interest.
7. What You’ll Bring to the Table
An internship is a two-way street. An organization invests resources on your career launch and helping you gain skills to become a successful professional.
In return, they expect your services would help them boost operations in a department where you specialize.
Generally, an intern is expected to utilize their knowledge and skills with minimal help from seniors. This means nobody will babysit you while you’re working. But you’ll have seniors at hand to help, should you encounter any issues or require assistance while working.
Therefore, clearly mention the knowledge and skills if any that you’ll bring to the table when given an internship, on the cover letter.
Doing so actually helps an employer to find the right internship for you and allot the necessary resources and work. And you benefit by working in the field of your choice by using what you’ve learned.
8. Specify the Duration
And finally, specify the duration for which you’re seeking internship. That’s because an internship has no fixed duration, as you might wrongly believe.
In some cases, a fortnight of internship is standard while in some professions, internships could stretch for as long as a full year. But generally, an internship spans between three and six months, for most common professions.
Usually, the organization will specify the duration of internships they’re offering. Or your college and university might stipulate the number of weeks you need to do internships. In any case, it’s important to mention the period for which you wish to work as intern.
There’s one vital tip here. Always leave the door open. Meaning, mention that you’re willing to consider fulltime employment with the organization, if it benefits both. This tactic works wonders.
An employer knows you aren’t there for the short run and they would be keen to invest more on your internship. Because it helps them avoid the hassles and expenses of hiring, while getting a staff member that possesses the necessary skills.
9. Paid or Unpaid Internship?
Most organizations will pay some stipend or wages to interns. Because unpaid work goes against labor laws.
But there could be a situation where you wish to do internship with a company because working there serves your career goals and helps gain lots of vital skills.
And that specific organization mightn’t have an internship opportunity or may not be taking interns at all.
In such a situation, you needn’t mention that you’re willing to work free as an intern. Instead, you can request the organization to consider your request and pay you whatever they may deem fit for your work.
In fact, every organization will definitely pay you a stipend, depending on your qualifications and role.
10. Appeal for an Interview
And finally, end your cover letter with an appeal for an interview. In fact, I would suggest going one step further and asking the employer to respond negatively, if necessary.
Because a ‘no’ is always better than waiting in anticipation for a ‘yes.’ Generally, most organizations are open to offer internships if you show your interest and reasons clearly.
When you ask for an interview, it means you’re very serious about the internship and have strong interest in working for the organization. It’s also an indicator of your seriousness in the career and confidence that you can overcome the challenges of an interview.
There’re many ways to appeal for an interview. One of them is to request the employer to invite you for exchanging ideas which could help your career.
The other is by teasing the employer that you would be an asset to their business. Use any way that you believe suits your style.
Cover Letters Examples for Internship
You can draft a superb internship cover letter based upon the guidelines I’ve given above. However, here is a sample cover letter example for your reference. You could adapt and rewrite them to suit your qualifications and career needs.
Before concluding, I’ll add that the above example is just for your reference. You can alter and modify it according to the type of skill you’re applying for as an intern.
I’ll emphasize that an internship can open doors to dream career. Therefore, following the guidelines I mention could help you to write a cover letter for internship.