While cover letters for any type of search generally follow the same guidelines, sometimes it can be helpful to look at how to specifically write a cover letter when applying to internships. The landscape of these applications can be different as oftentimes as you don’t usually have a lot of experience, or any experience directly related to the opportunity you’re seeking. Circling back to the conundrum of “how do you get experience without having any experience?” which we’ve previously discussed.
Check out these top five tips for writing an internship cover letter:
Tell a Story
Sentences such as “My experiences as Psychology major and student leader on campus have equipped me with the skills to communicate effectively, manage my time, and think critically.” are ineffective. Using academic and extracurricular experiences are key for internship cover letters, but it’s necessary to pull specific examples and tell a story that really shows the potential employer how you have gained or developed a skills. Talk about an event you planned from start to finish or group work that you’ve delegated and managed. Don’t just tell them your skills, show them your skills.
When relying on transferable skills from classes, service, activities, etc. it’s important to connect them back to the position you’re seeking and show the reader how it’s relevant. Think of your cover letter as a bridge between your resume and the position description and take the time to explain how these skills and experiences will specifically equip you for the internship responsibilities.
Don’t “Be honored”
Employers don’t want to read how honored and special you would feel should you be selected as their intern. They most likely have a large applicant pool and you wouldn’t be applying if you weren’t interested, correct? It is important to show your specific interest but make sure you focus on how you can specifically contribute to the organization and not just on how great of an opportunity this will be for you.
Address a Specific Person
Do not begin your letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Human Resources” but take the time to do your research and find out who the contact is for the position that you should be addressing. While this is an added step it will show that you are willing to put in the extra effort.
Don’t Undersell Yourself
While you may not have specific experience in the area that they’re seeking, oftentimes for an internship your transferable skills can be relevant enough to meet qualifications. Do not specifically write “While I may not have any relevant experience…”, instead talk about your transferable skills and then connect them to how it will enable you to perform in the internship.
For more tips on cover letter formatting as well as additional do’s and don’ts, check out our Cover Letter Tip Sheet. If you need assistance with writing a cover letter or having yours edited before submission come by our drop-in advising hours 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday in THC 306 or Q273 in the Robins School of Business. No appointment needed!