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How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship

On the hunt for an internship that'll get your foot in the door?

Not sure where to start?

The first thing you should do is craft the perfect resume and cover letter to send to potential employers.

When applying for a position in the ‘real world’, you’re expected to have a few substantial qualifications in your toolkit. However, as someone seeking an internship, you are most likely limited to experiences you’ve had within the classroom.

While most students focus on polishing up their resume, the cover letter often remains an afterthought, even though it offers you a golden opportunity to explain why you are the ideal candidate. Your cover letter should outline the key transferable skills and experiences you’ve developed throughout your tertiary education, which best fit your role.

Here is a guide to help you structure your internship cover letter in a way that will capture the attention of prospective hiring managers.

Take a look at our internship board to find your next role.


The Perfectly-Tailored Cover Letter Structure

Crafting a well-structured cover letter can be the difference between grabbing attention or getting overlooked by a hiring manager. So, you should set yourself up for success by planning and organising your letter thoughtfully.

Internship cover letters are typically written in a business letter format. This entails a proper structure including your name, contact details and date at the top of the page, followed by the contact information of the employer you are addressing. For letters via email, you can opt to place your contact information in your email signature to hone in a professional touch.

The letter is typically written in three to four brief paragraphs. This is because the employer will only skim this letter, so it should be easy to navigate and scan over within a matter of 10-30 seconds. Clear and concise paragraphs will do the trick for encompassing all the necessary points you need to make. A great tip is to look at an internship cover letter example or two online to help you with the formatting.

Here is a summary on the correct internship cover letter format you should follow:

1. Your contact information

2. Company and employer’s contact information

3. Salutations: Formally address the hiring manager's name and contact details or host company

4. Paragraph #1: State your application and introduce yourself

5. Paragraph #2: Share your relevant skills and coursework to qualify yourself

6. Paragraph #3: Align your goals, interests and values with the company's culture

7. Paragraph #4: Call to action

8. Outro: Sign off

This being said, many industries appreciate creative flair shown through cover letters and resumes, such as in marketing or graphic design fields. If this is relevant to you, feel free to modify and tweak this structure to demonstrate some artistic aptitude.

Adjust the structure or reconstruct it at your own discretion, as it gives you an opportunity to visually express your talents beyond stating them through words on a page. It’s a simple but impactful strategy to grab the attention of your reader whilst emphasising your awareness of the field and tactical thinking. The right blend of personality and professionalism can be a game-changer in leaving a lasting impression in your cover letter. Here's how you can make a first impression that truly counts.

PARAGRAPH 1: State Your Application

Start strong. The paragraphs throughout this letter for an internship are designed to capture attention, being brief yet teeming with essential details. After introducing your name, education level, majors and/or school, this first section should highlight the specific internship position you are applying for (e.g., a civil engineering internship at Roadcross Inc.). Think of it as your personal headline that catches their eye. The aim is to convince your hiring agent that you have not just submitted a generic cover letter that you’ve copied and pasted into a couple of other emails to different companies.

Hiring agents normally juggle countless job applications for various roles, so you should provide this contextual evidence to make their jobs easier and appeal to them. This opening statement should also mention how you discovered the job ad listing. Hiring agents and employers are very interested in knowing which job posting channel they employ is most effective in reaching candidates. By explicitly stating where you stumbled upon their job listing, you’re not only keeping them informed but also subtly hinting at your thorough approach.

PARAGRAPH 2: List Relevant Coursework and Skills

It is understandable for most students to have little to no job experience to beef up their resumes or internship cover letters. So don’t fret!

Describing your relevant coursework can be just as valuable to employers. Perhaps you can share relevant subjects or projects you’ve completed at university or any accomplishments/awards you were acknowledged for to prove your talents. Emphasising your academic and professional experience will show the dedication and hard work you can apply to the internship role.

A great cover letter includes your extracurricular experiences such as volunteer work or ‘shadowing’ experience because these count as ‘real world’ fieldwork. Such experiences are vibrant testimonials of your adaptability and diverse skill set. Remember, every chapter of your student life, whether inside the classroom or beyond, paints a picture of the value you bring to the table.

PARAGRAPH 3: Align Your Goals and Interests

In order to showcase that you’re the best fit for the internship role, you need to align your value, beliefs and passions with the company you're applying for. A good tip is to take a look at the job description and use examples from your own personal experience to demonstrate how you can apply the company values as an intern at their company.

In the same paragraph, include a description of what your goals are and what you would like to learn from the internship. After all, internships are a two-way street: employers offer internship programs with the intention to upskill, network and build the experience of their students.

PARAGRAPH 4: Call to Action and Follow Up

The final paragraph is where it counts. Your concluding words should resonate, leaving an echo urging them to engage with you further. A call to action is not just a formal step, but a strategic move to pave the way for what’s next. Let them know you’re proactive, ready, and eagerly awaiting the next step.

At this point, it is a good idea to review your internship cover letter examples and check if you have peppered in buzzwords from the job advertisement. This is to draw the recruiter’s eyes to the relevant professional information you have provided, making sure your let is tailored and individualised to the company you're applying for.

Closing Paragraph

Sign off with a statement to express your gratitude for the opportunity they are offering and your interest in attending an interview. A succinct and heartfelt note of thanks can leave a lasting impression.

Keep your outro in your cover letter short, one sentence at most. Your closing remark should be sincere and as short and sweet as possible so as not to deter attention from your body of text.

Before signing off, give your letter a few more proofreads, ensuring each word counts and resonates. You can even get feedback from a relative or friend to make sure you are primed for success.

Premium Graduate Placements: Your Journey Starts Here

Securing an internship is a critical step in the journey of many students, offering a gateway into the professional world and an opportunity to gain invaluable practical experience.

Crafting a compelling cover letter is an integral part of this process.

At Premium Graduate Placements, we make it our mission to provide students and graduates with a wide scope of internship placements across all relevant industries in Australia.

For further information on our internships, get in touch with our team today.