January through March of every new year always marks the prime internship search and recruitment period. Over the past few weeks, we updated our resume and found some internship opportunities, which now means it is time to apply, but first, we must do the most dreaded task of any application…cover letters.
Keep reading to find tips and tricks that will make writing cover letters for your summer internship a breeze, like the air coming off Lake Michigan on a warm summer day.
What to Include:
We can break any cover letter we write down into four paragraphs. The first paragraph is our introduction. In this space, we introduce ourselves and our interest in the internship. The second paragraph highlights our goal for the internship. In other words, what about the organization or the opportunity that drew us to apply? This paragraph requires a little research and creativity because we want to say more than “I want an internship before I graduate, and this seems cool.” The third paragraph, and optional fourth paragraph, highlight our academic accomplishments. This paragraph can include our most relevant classes and coursework, extracurricular activities such as student organizations, greek life, or athletics. The final paragraph is our closer. This paragraph should thank the reader for their time and consideration. Reiterate your contact information and state you look forward to hearing from the organization.
The Cover Letter Outline:
Paragraph One: The Introduction
- The Internship Position Title + Organization
- REMEMBER: always double check this updated for every cover letter you write
- Who you are → grade, degree, school
- Introduce WHY you are interested in the work
Paragraph Two: The Interest
- The overall goal of this paragraph is to be specific about why you are interested.
- Look at the role description and highlight an area of interest
- Research the organization and make note of how your personally relate to the organization
Paragraph Three (& Optional Paragraph Four): Your (related/relevant) Experience
- You only need one paragraph unless you have two specific experiences you would like to highlight for your internship.
- Writing about your qualifying experiences can be difficult in a cover letter as it requires you to be concise and specific.
- To ensure you are mentioning all the required information follow the STAR Method which is usually recommended to use when answering behavioral questions in an interview.
- You should write your qualifying experiences about classes you have taken and extracurricular activities you have participated in.
- Internship hiring managers understand that as a student your access to professional experiences are limited. Focus on your school experiences: what classes have you taken? Are you involved in any student organizations or extracurricular activities? Highlight those experiences.
Paragraph Four (or Five – if you have the second experience description)
- This paragraph should essentially thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration.
- Be direct! Use wording that expresses their interest in you such as “I look forward to hearing from you” before leaving your contact information.
**Note: Try to address your cover letter to a person. This might require some sleuth work and research. If you are unable to find a person to address the letter please avoid writing “To Whom it May Concern” and instead write the department or organization you are applying to.
What to Write if You Are Unsure:
You have begun drafting your cover letter and writing out your experiences paragraphs to plug into your various applications. However, you feel it would be a stretch to apply for that collection of internships you are interested in. You may feel this way because your courses or other significant experiences do not necessarily fit what you are applying for. You need help with what to write about.
As a DePaul University student, you have access to LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning is a high-quality resource for students looking to develop skills. Topics include Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, social media, web design, animation, photography, audio and video production, project management, leadership, marketing, and communication, to name a few. Prepare to upskill and write about this preparation.
Write your experience paragraph about what you currently do to develop and demonstrate your expertise in the subject matter or skill set. To wrap up, the section will touch on developing this skill accompanied with the internship will help you achieve your post-graduation career goals.
Sample Summer Internship Cover Letter:
Dear Luisa McDermott (Director of Development),
Please accept this cover letter and resume as part of my application for the Summer 20XX Fundraising Internship at the Department of Careers at DePaul University. I am a rising senior studying Public Policy and minoring in Political Thought & Law. My academic pursuits, membership, and involvement in event planning with the International Studies club make me an ideal candidate.
I am interested in this position because of the Department of Careers’ role in the greater community of DePaul University. As an organization, DePaul students can better understand potential career opportunities. Fundraising plays an essential role in providing students with these employment opportunities. Low-income students need help to afford unpaid work such as internships or volunteering their free time. This department ensures that students can complete these experiences that make them employable postgraduates. I want to assist other students in gaining these necessary experiences.
As the Event Planner for the international Studies club, I am responsible for the organization, communication, and budget for our monthly events. This means I plan the theme of each event and reach out to additional community members to speak or be featured. We typically offer refreshments options to draw students to join us for our events. By supplying refreshments, I must gain an understanding of expected attendance in addition to ordering the food. Placing food orders requires paying attention to our organization’s budget. To keep track of all these moving pieces, I use an excel spreadsheet to organize this information.
In addition to my event planning experience, my studies in Public Policy allow me to research ways organizations can benefit from solid fundraising programs. In my Grant Writing 101 class, I analyzed how nonprofit organizations use fundraising and grant writing for a diversified income. In this essay, I demonstrated how some organizations use their grant money to fund their fundraising events.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you to learn more about this opportunity. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can provide any additional information. I am best reached at (phone number) and (email address).
- Start by drafting a cover letter outline. It will make it easier and faster for you to apply for more internship opportunities.
- Customize your cover letter by expressing specific interest into why the position/organization would be a good fit.
- Make sure you can support this with a paragraph describing your academic experiences (this can include extracurricular activities or student employment)
- Carefully proofread and edit your cover letter prior to sending it.
- Always a good idea to make an appointment with the Career Center for that final nod of approval.
Found a couple summer internships you are interested in? Want to brainstorm or draft a cover letter with someone? Perfect! That’s exactly where we come in. Whether you’re a freshman or an alumnus, it’s never too early (or too late) to utilize our services.
Book an appointment with Ellie, or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431.