How to Write a Killer Cover Letter for an Internship (Sample)

How to Write a Killer Cover Letter for an Internship (Sample)

Do you know how to write a cover letter for an internship, without previous professional experience?

Since internships are an entry-level opportunity, it might not seem clear what is expected by a potential employer within a cover letter. However, there are a variety of ways in which you can make a positive first impression on a hiring manager through your cover letter.

When tasked with writing a cover letter, almost everyone goes to google and searches for a cover letter template. Trust me, I have been there. The thing is every cover letter template sucks. No matter how good the template, a copied template sucks. It’s like trying to make a movie by replicating Star Wars. The problem is that it lacks genuineness and narrative.

Right now, take 5 minutes and write a cover letter to your dream company. One caveat, don’t look up a single template or glance at an old cover letter you’ve written. Ready. Set. Go.

So what did you come up with? Odds are it’s pretty usable, let’s go ahead and make some improvements.

Acquire Your Target:

One of the quickest ways to set yourself apart from other candidates is showing that you’ve done your homework. It’s easy to write “Dear recruiter,” but it’s a lot more impressive to address it to a specific individual.

If you’ve networked with someone in person, that’s a start. If not, consider using LinkedIn and figure out who you are likely emailing.

Do Your Research:

Prove that you are not simply copy-pasting the same cover letter to every job listing you see. Talk about something that you know the company does that interests you. It does not have to be hard. When I met a recruiter at Toyota, I talked about the new redesigned Camry, a freaking Camry (one of the most vanilla vehicles in the world of automobiles). While I might have lost a few jalopy points for knowing so much about the Camry, it showed the recruiter that I had been keeping up with the company.

Tell a Story (in tweet form):

Tell a short story about who you are and why you are applying. It does not need to be vivid with details, but a cute intro will do. If you don’t believe that you can tell a story in that span, remember Hemingway wrote a story in 6 words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn” – Ernest Hemingway).

Compare two options.

I would love to intern for Toyota this summer. I believe my experience in finance and design, along with my experience from being part of the business council qualify me for this internship. It would be a dream come true to work for Toyota.

This is a pretty typical introduction for an email. Following most advice, it does the job, it’s clear, concise, and has a definite ask for the company. But it fails to stand out from just about every other cover letter. Let’s try a more unique introduction.

Going to the dealership as a kid was like going to Disneyland. Growing up my friends were fascinated with sports cars, but I was intrigued by how cars were built and designed. Maybe it’s because my family always drove practical cars like Toyota’s. Now that I have some finance and design knowledge, I would love to help the team that makes these fascinating cars.

It will not win a Pulitzer, but at least it stands out from 80% of cover letters.

Offer Value:

We’ve already talked about this. But it’s important to re-iterate that your cover letter should focus on how you can offer value.

When I worked at Kammok and was going through the general email account, I would see dozens of emails that were all the same. They all started with introducing themselves and how they would love to work for the company or how it was their dream to work in the industry. Rarely did we see emails where someone included tangible reasons for how they would benefit the company.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful that you see a specific company as your gateway to fulfilling your dreams. But, it is not compelling for an employer to dwell on what they can do for you.

As a stranger, especially one trying to grow a business, employers care much more about how you can help grow their business than about how they can fulfill your dreams. If you can prove your value to someone else’s operation, you are already ahead of 80% of candidates. Here’s the thing, once you do land the opportunity, you will have plenty of chances to grow and learn. Again, it’s about framing the relationship.

Edit Away:

I have made the mistake of misspelling a company’s name in a cover letter and still managed to get the job, but for all intents and purposes your cover letter is a) a pitch on why you would add value to the company b)a signal of how vested in the company you are c) an indicator of the work that you do.

If you expect someone to take an hour to interview you, they expect that you take ten minutes to edit your letter. The simple reason you need to make sure your letter is meticulous is that everyone else’s will be meticulous. And if you do not put in effort into your cover letter, why would an employer expect you to do better work once they hire you.

Not to beat a dead horse, but edit your cover letters.

Example Of An Application Letter For An Internship In Kenya

Dear [Hiring Manager],

I am writing to express my interest in the internship position available at [Company Name]. As a student pursuing [Degree/Major] at [University/College], I am excited to gain practical experience in [Industry/Field] and believe this internship would provide the ideal opportunity to do so.

Throughout my academic career, I have been involved in various extracurricular activities that have helped me develop a range of transferable skills, including communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. Additionally, I have completed relevant coursework that has equipped me with knowledge and expertise in [Specific Area of Expertise].

I am particularly interested in [Company Name] because of its reputation for excellence in [Industry/Field]. I believe that the company’s mission, values, and commitment to innovation align with my own personal and professional goals. I am eager to contribute my skills and knowledge to [Company Name] and learn from the talented professionals on your team.

In addition to my academic qualifications, I have gained practical experience through [Internship/Volunteer Work/Part-time Job]. During my time there, I was responsible for [Key Responsibilities/Projects], which allowed me to apply the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios.

As an intern at [Company Name], I am confident that I can make a meaningful contribution to your team. I am excited to work on projects that will challenge me and push me to grow as a professional in [Industry/Field].

Thank you for considering my application. I have attached my resume and would be happy to provide any additional information or answer any questions you may have.


[Your Name]

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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