How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship

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April 12, 2023
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min read

Finding the right internship is one of the best ways young professionals can get a step up in their careers. Internships provide crucial real-world experience that serves as a career launching pad and a network to build upon. 

An expertly crafted internship cover letter can be your winning ticket when applying for an internship—because a cover letter is just as important as a strong resume. Cover letters provide a chance to highlight your skills, enthusiasm, and unique, desirable traits.

However, writing about oneself is challenging for the best of us.

So, we’ve collected our best cover letter tips and guidance on how to write a standout cover letter for an internship. Below you’ll learn what a cover letter is, why they’re crucial in any job search, and simple tricks to create and tailor yours in less time than you’d think. 

What is the purpose of a cover letter, and why is it important for an internship?

An internship cover letter accompanies a job application and highlights your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Think of a cover letter as your opportunity to showcase your enthusiasm and commitment to a position, allowing you to expand upon the skills that make you a strong candidate.

Additionally, because some roles receive a high number of applicants, a cover letter can serve as additional insight for hiring managers when whittling down the applicant pool for greater consideration.

How to write a cover letter for an internship

Include relevant contact information

You want to make sure you use a professional internship cover letter format and that your contact information is near the top of your cover letter. This way, if they like you, it’s easy to find.

Depending on your preference, some people place their essential information along the top of their cover letter, similar to a header, or you can place it in the top right or left corners—there is no agreed-upon cover letter standard. 

It’s a good idea to include the hiring manager's contact information as well. Some companies get overwhelmed with emails, and when applying for an internship position on job sites, it can be difficult to tell where the cover letter will wind up. By including the hiring manager’s information, you can rest assured that your destination contact on your internship cover letter is clear.

Here you can find examples of a personalized cover letter. With Teal's Job Application Tracker, you can easily keep track of each application you submit, and you can quickly generate custom cover letters using the AI functionality within Teal's AI Resume Builder.

Address the hiring manager by name

Before you begin, it’s important to know how to address a cover letter, and you’ll want to address the hiring manager by name when you can. A name is often included in the job post; however, sometimes, the job posting merely states that “the candidate will report directly to the VP of Marketing.” With that, you can typically find a specific person through the company website, LinkedIn page, or Google search.

If the person is unfindable, you can contact the company directly through a support address to ask. Going the extra step to learn the hiring manager’s name will help demonstrate your commitment to the role.

Grab their attention and start with your “why”

Your cover letter implies an interest in the job, but hiring managers want to know why you’re interested in this specific position—and if this makes for a memorable story, all the better to grab the reader's attention. You don’t want to overload the reader with too many details, but a brief tale that illuminates how your values align with the role or brand can really help you shine—just be sure it’s relevant to the particular position.

You might also highlight a connection between a task you excel at and a key requirement for the internship position. This could be anything from your analytical abilities to your gift of gab. If the role calls for client-facing responsibilities, mention your knack for building and maintaining relationships. 

From there, use the next few paragraphs to share why you are the best fit for the role and incorporate hard data wherever possible. 

Outline relevant skills and achievements

Remember, hiring managers are looking for a qualified candidate with experience that best matches the role, so only include information that coincides with relevant duties. Even if there is something you are incredibly proud of, if it has nothing to do with the role, leave it on the cutting room floor. 

Draw attention to relevant experiences, achievements, and challenges you’ve overcome in the past. Demonstrate your suitability by mentioning workplace contributions to highlight your value to the employer and make it known you’re willing to learn to prove why you’d be an asset to the company. 

While high school and college students may have limited workplace experience, don’t be afraid to think outside the box! You likely have highlightable skills and achievements you haven't considered.

Babysitting, for example, requires a high level of trust and responsibility. Think about relevant coursework, internships, or volunteer work. Clubs and team sports help develop skills, as well as leadership positions and student body council, which all indicate strong communication skills. You may have been head of the yearbook committee or school newspaper; these require extraordinary time management skills and task delegation, which are important traits to any job.

While this all sounds easy in theory, we understand that identifying your personal strengths to highlight on a concise cover letter is hardly an easy feat. Fortunately, Teal's AI Resume Builder is loaded with helpful tools and tips to help you do this. Best of all, you don’t have to start from scratch. Teal’s Resume and Cover Letter Builder allows you to import your existing resume or LinkedIn profile, storing the information in one place to build out your exhaustive career history. 

Optimize your resume using Teal’s AI Resume Builder.
Optimize your resume using Teal’s AI Resume Builder.

Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases from the job description

Many employers filter out resumes and cover letters that do not match the specific skills and keywords for resume that the employer seeks. By including these in your cover letter, you help ensure that it successfully passes through the initial screening process.

Use Teal's AI Resume Builder to quickly compare the skills and keywords in the job posting to those in your resume and cover letter. Make sure to add any relevant experience to your application materials.

Teal’s AI Resume Builder compares the skills in a job description to the skills in your resume to give you a match score.
Teal’s AI Resume Builder compares the skills in a job description to the skills in your resume to give you a match score.

Matching relevant keywords helps demonstrate that you have the skills and relevant experience required for the job, increasing your chances of being selected for an interview. Failing to include relevant keywords in your application could result in it being overlooked.

A common misconception is that employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan your resume for keywords to automatically knock out candidates. While ATS is a way to electronically file applications, it’s not as advanced as you may believe. There are no “ATS bots” deciding your fate — a human will almost always be reviewing your cover letter and resume. 

While employers are using technology to file applications, you can be too. You can learn how to use ChatGPT through Teal’s guide; AI can be a great resource to help you get started.

Tips for writing an effective cover letter

Easily customize your cover letter with AI

With every internship application, you are marketing yourself to your client, and your resume and cover letter are the marketing materials. And just like in marketing, there is strategy involved. 

When using Teal's cover letter templates, be sure you personalize your cover letter to reflect specific keywords and phrases in the job ad. Teal’s AI Resume Builder and cover letter template feature uses AI to seamlessly gather key information from your resume and any job description to quickly generate a custom cover letter for each application. 

As with any personal marketing strategy, you have to think about what you have to offer, your most impressive accomplishments related to the position, and your target audience. By tailoring your content directly around the job description, you will have a better chance of landing that internship interview. This is your time to shine, so treat your letter with care. 

Keep it focused

With all the content-creation options available, jazzing up a resume and cover letter has gotten much easier. However, adding too much flair is detrimental. Unique and elaborate graphics, colors, fonts, and formatting can distract from the most important information: your experience. 

Simple is the way to go when crafting your resume and cover letter, using only standard fonts and formatting. Stick to Times New Roman or Arial for the font and save the files in PDF or Word. Simplifying your application package will get you past ATS software and give the hiring manager’s eyes a break.

Get personal with language

Writing in a professional manner is necessary for your internship cover letters; however, adding a warm and friendly tone can build a personal connection and give your writing a boost. As young professionals are starting out, they are often cautious with language, which can come off as robotic in correspondence. 

Remember: you are a person, so incorporating some light emotional language into your cover letter helps humanize you. The individuals reading your cover letter want to know what you’re passionate about or how you triumphed over adversity and other situations that involve emotion. Don’t be afraid to dip into those feelings a little when drafting your cover letter.

Including your personal thoughts and feelings allows you to show off your personal brand a little bit — even if that means cracking a joke or two. A warm tone helps hiring managers to feel connected to you. 

Do your homework

Researching a company helps provide an understanding of a company's culture, values, and mission. Remember, job applications and interviews are a two-way street; you also want to make sure they are the right fit for you. Secondly, it allows you to better tailor your cover letter, which shows your interest and enthusiasm for the role. 

Research can greatly improve your chances of success by providing further insight into a company's background and vision, helping you interview with confidence and stand out from other applicants.

You can keep track of the research you conduct in Teal's Job Application Tracker. Tips and guidance are offered of where and how to conduct research. You can also log the research completed on any contacts you have made at the company.

Within Teal’s Job Application Tracker, keep track of your research by adding personal information and notes about company contacts.
Within Teal’s Job Application Tracker, keep track of your research by adding personal information and notes about company contacts.

Stay organized

Keep track of your search with Teal’s Job Application Tracker, where you can easily organize your applications. You can access your tracker on the website or by downloading the Teal Chrome extension. This easily lets you save jobs you’re interested in, saves cover letters previously sent, and tracks internship positions you’ve applied for through sites like LinkedIn and Indeed.

With Teal’s Job Application Tracker, you can note company contacts, save jobs, view jobs you’ve applied to, mark follow-up dates, and more. It even lets you note your excitement levels on a scale of one to five stars; this way, you don’t forget to follow up with the ones you want the most. 

Follow up

Following up on your internship cover letter and job application via a personal email or message on LinkedIn could be the difference between landing your ideal role and never hearing back. An email should be sent within 24 hours of your interview thanking the person for taking the time to speak with you. 

To further demonstrate your interest, mention a few specifics from your discussion. For example, you might say that you enjoyed hearing about the company culture or were excited to hear about the dynamic responsibilities associated with the job.

Located within Teal's Job Application Tracker are templates to use as a starting point when crafting a follow up email following an interview.

Use communication templates within Teal's Job Application Tracker to craft thoughtful thank you emails.
Use communication templates within Teal's Job Application Tracker to craft thoughtful thank you emails.

Teal’s Job Application Tracker provides suggestions and guidance on what to include in a great cover letter:

  • academic achievements (GPA, awards, etc.)
  • explain your interest in the field
  • use specific examples to demonstrate your relevant skills and job experience
  • emphasize willingness to learn 
  • demonstrate enthusiasm and motivation
  • describe your goals for your internship role
  • use appropriate length (don’t include irrelevant information to make it longer)
  • keep it concise and error-free (proofread)
  • use a professional tone
  • get feedback: have a teacher, mentor, or family member review both your cover letter and resume and provide feedback 
  • follow up

Internship cover letter examples

High school internship cover letter

​​Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the summer internship program at [Company Name]. As a highly motivated high school student and canine shelter volunteer, I am excited to gain valuable work experience and learn from industry professionals.

I am particularly drawn to [Company Name]'s commitment to innovation and community involvement. I have always been passionate about making a positive impact in my community, and I believe that your organization's values align with my desire to help others. I am confident that I can provide a meaningful contribution given my background in volunteering, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to develop my skills and contribute to community projects through your internship opportunities.

I'm experienced in computer science and have excellent customer service skills. I'm a quick learner and have demonstrated an ability to easily adapt in new environments. Through my involvement in various class projects and volunteer activities, I have developed strong communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

I am excited about the prospect of working with your team and contributing to the success of your organization. Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy in your hiring process. I look forward to the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications with you at your earliest convenience.

Best regards,

Angela Lansbury

Internship cover letter when switching industries

Dear Mr. Maiz,

I am writing to express my interest in the woodworking internship at Cohesive Grains. As a welder looking to make a career transition into woodworking, I am eager to gain practical experience and further develop my skills in this field.

My professional background is primarily in welding with a bachelor's degree in graphic design, but I am confident that my firm understanding in design and digit dexterity are transferable to woodworking. I am particularly drawn to Cohesive Grains’ upcycled vintage pieces and the impact that your organization is making in this field. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your team and learn from industry professionals.

In my current role, I have demonstrated my ability to work under tight deadlines while maintaining a commitment to quality and artistic expression. I am a quick learner, and I am always eager to take on new challenges. I believe that my ability to create detailed welding work and my passion for woodworking make me a strong candidate for this position.

I am excited about the prospect of working with your team and contributing to the success of your organization through this internship experience. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to finding a mutually convenient time to further discuss my qualifications with you.


Jasyn Barn

Quickly create a personalized cover letter with Teal

Teal's AI Resume Builder with AI functionality can generate multiple versions of your cover letter with the click of a button. By inputting your desired job description, Teal can generate a unique and custom cover letter for each internship application you apply for, saving you time and energy.

Step 1: Sign up for Teal

Step 2: Download Teal’s Chrome extension and start bookmarking internships

Step 3: Build out an exhaustive career history (including certifications, projects, etc.)

Step 4: Attach your desired job description and use Teal’s AI Resume Builder with AI functionality to generate multiple versions of your cover letter tailored to each specific internship

Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.

Once you've landed an interview, check out our guide on common internship interview questions and example answers to help you prepare and seal that internship offer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I include in my statement of interest for an internship if I have limited work experience?

Focus on your academic achievements, relevant coursework, projects, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate transferable skills. Highlight your enthusiasm for the field, your eagerness to learn, and any volunteer work or internships that show your commitment and potential.

How can I tailor my cover letter to stand out for a competitive internship position?

Research the company and the internship role to understand their values and goals. Use this information to demonstrate how your skills and interests align with their needs. Mention specific aspects of the company or industry that excite you and how you can contribute to their projects or initiatives.

Is it appropriate to reach out to the company for more information before writing my letter of interest for an internship?

Yes, it's appropriate and can be beneficial to reach out for more information. Contacting the company shows initiative and can provide insights that help you tailor your cover letter. Be professional and concise in your inquiry, and use any information gathered to strengthen your application.

Rachael Gilpin

Rachael is a writer and SEO strategist who accidentally got her start after keeping a personal blog during a year-long stint in Spain. From there, she started freelancing with a small marketing agency in New Zealand. With each new assignment, she was thrilled with disbelief that people were happy to pay her to play with words. The disbelief still has not completely subsided and she feels remarkably fortunate to have found a craft that excites her daily.

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