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How Your Cover Letter Can Help You Land an Internship

A great cover letter can make all the difference when it comes to applying for internships. Make sure yours stands out with these tips. 

By
Varsity Tutors
cover letter

Internships are a valuable opportunity for college students to build their portfolio and gain the essential skills for success in their career field. When you apply for an internship, employers typically require the submission of a resume and references. Sometimes employers list a cover letter as optional, but a great cover letter can be an integral factor in setting you apart from other candidates.

When composing your cover letter, it's essential to understand how to present yourself in a way that shows your full potential. Keep reading to learn how your cover letter can help you land an internship.

Your cover letter can provide you with an extra advantage

As a college student, it can often be challenging to build a portfolio of relevant work opportunities to present to prospective employers. When your resume might not fully showcase all you bring to the table, a cover letter can help employers gain valuable insight into your potential.

During the interview process, internship employers want to know how you will fit into the everyday culture of the company. Employers are often most interested in applicants that show drive and dedication from the start of the application process. That includes taking the extra time and effort to compose and submit a cover letter. If you use your cover letter as an opportunity to set yourself apart by telling your story and showing how it relates to their mission, you'll stand out.

Important elements to include in your cover letter

Research the company or organization to send a cover letter specific to the position you're applying for. If there's a description of the role, read it carefully for insights that will help you convey how you could benefit the company. Think about ways that your experience and goals match up with the company's mission and what they're looking for in an intern.

In your letter, begin by introducing yourself and stating what position you're seeking. Be specific, especially if there's more than one internship position available. Briefly discuss your schooling and any relevant coursework you've taken. Then, move quickly into explaining why this opportunity personally resonates with you.

Think about ways that your experience and goals match up with the company's mission and what they're looking for in an intern.

Keep your letter brief—a page or less—and make it consistent with your resume in terms of font, formatting, and other visual elements. You'll appear polished and professional.

Use your cover letter to illustrate your interest in the company or organization

Be sure to explain why you're interested in interning at this company. What do they offer that's a unique opportunity or excellent learning experience? How do you feel this position will help you achieve your long-term goals? Addressing these questions will give them a better understanding of your career trajectory and show that you're serious about this position.

Even though you're using this letter to introduce yourself, it's a great opportunity to present yourself as a good fit for this specific employer.

Even though you're using this letter to introduce yourself, it's a great opportunity to present yourself as a good fit for this specific employer. It's important to describe yourself in relation to their needs, and include only relevant work, classes, and volunteer experience.

Submitting a cover letter with your resume can showcase to potential employers that you're serious about this position and your career field. Use your cover letter as an opportunity to display your interest in the company, their mission, and the doors this position could open up for your future.

Lora Wegman is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

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