Write the perfect internship cover letter to start your career

In today’s competitive work environment, it is vital to send a perfectly written and structured letter when applying for an internship. Employers are busy people and they need to read your letter and CV and understand who you are quickly. It is of course essential that your letter is written in perfect English; mistakes in your language will see your letter discarded as unprofessional. If English is your second language, we are here to help you make no mistakes.

Writing emails and letters to ask for an internship is part of most graduates’ routes to a successful career. If you see an internship position or would like to inquire about possible internships,  be sure to target your letter to the listed contact person.  Write your letter in a formal style. Use formal salutations and closings, and ensure perfect spelling, grammar and punctuation. Have your work checked and polished and get ready to receive responses.

Write a letter or email in perfect English to secure your internship

How to Write an Internship Letter – Writing Paragraph 1

Use a formal salutation

In the first line, begin your letter with “Dear Dr./Mr./Ms./Mrs. Bloggs” depending on the contact person’s name, title, and gender. Do not write “Hi Bob” or “Hey.” An internship letter is a professional letter.

If you don’t know the person’s gender, address the person with his or her full name. For example, write “Dear Jo Baker .”

Introduce yourself

Tell the recipient your name and your status (e.g. Third year English major at University of York). State how you found out about the internship position, whether through an advert, through a contact, or whether you are making an unsolicited offer. If you have a mutual contact, mention this as soon as possible. For example, you could write: (The sales manager / My thesis supervisor), (title and name), suggested that I write to you. It is also always a good idea to mention your intentions toward a career in that particular field.

How to Write an Internship Letter – Writing Paragraph 2

Make connections between yourself and the employer

First things first, do plenty of research. Read through the internship description and pick out the key words and phrases. You can then incorporate these into your letter. Do the same with the company website and social media platforms as these will give you insights into the language they use and the culture of the organisation.

It is essential to describe how your experiences meet the challenges of the internship position. Remember, you are making connections between yourself and the needs of the employer. Examples:

“I see you are looking for someone with initiative and social media experience. I ran a successful Facebook and Twitter campaign to raise money for hats for the bald men of London during the winter months.”

“I see you are seeking an intern with good organisational and customer service skills. I organised and administered the distribution of wooly hats to eligible bald men by a team of volunteers in central London. I stayed calm and professional in the face of  some unwelcome responses”

not all the bald men wanted a wooly hat

Unfortunately, not all the bald men wanted a wooly hat.

How to Write an Internship Letter – Writing Paragraph 3

Describe your competencies and personal attributes using examples

Hiring managers, recruiters and HR professionals like to read about specific examples of your competencies and skills. If you work well in teams, give them an example. Perhaps you have excellent customer service skills: give an example.

As you can see, this paragraph is all about examples. A one or two sentence short story is perfect for illustrating what you will be able to bring to the position you are applying for. Remember to focus on the desired skills in the job description and to include any relevant extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

How to Write an Internship Letter – Writing Paragraph 4

In this final paragraph, restate your interest in the position and the company and inform the recruiter of your availability for work and interview. Importantly, tell them how to contact you by leaving your email address and phone number. Recruiters are busy people, so make it easy for them to contact you.

How to Write an Internship Letter – Checklist

  • Write in a formal way
  • Try to find a name to address the letter to
  • Do your research
  • Extract keywords and core skills
  • Be concise – keep it short and sweet
  • Match your skills and experience to the requirements of the role
  • Leave contact details
  • Use perfect English

Every month our native English editors and proofreaders correct the English in hundreds of internship and job application letters, and this experience means we know how to write them perfectly.

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