Your internship cover letter is different from an employment one – for starters, as a student you may not have much experience to showcase. But the cover letter is also the first impression that you give to your prospective internship employer. Not creating a good cover letter to go with your resume would make you seem lazy, unprofessional and uninterested – now we really wouldn’t want that, would we?
Through your cover letter you can make up for the lack of experience by highlighting your talents, knowledge, skills and enthusiasm. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you draft your letter:
- NEVER carbon copy any email.
- Use an email id that is professional sounding. Email ids such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (and yes people do create such email ids) are completely unprofessional.
- Avoid using the same text for all your mails. A personalized email to the recipient would show that you are serious about your application.
- Research the university that you wish to apply to before sending the email. Be clear about why you have chosen this particular institution.
- Avoid sending attachments in MS WORD format, use PDF instead.
- Re-read the mail to check for spellings, flow of thoughts, grammatical errors and to ensure that you have spelt the person’s name/mentioned his/her designation correctly.
The subject: It is important that you choosing a good subject line that stands out, so that it does not get lost in the load of emails that the professor would be receiving. Use a short and precise subject line – you wouldn’t want the recipient to ignore your message completely, just because you did not word your subject properly. You could perhaps write “Seeking internship opportunities in your university.”
The salutation: While addressing the recipient, use the appropriate title. If the recipient holds a doctorate degree, use “Dear Dr. Abc,” otherwise, you can use “Dear Mr Abc,” or “Dear Ms Abc.”
A line of introduction: Use the first line to identify yourself and give a brief introduction. Give your name and your educational qualification (which year/major or anticipated) you are in. This is also a good place to mention any references you have. For eg, if you got the professor’s email through a common contact, you can mention that Mr/Ms X (designation) suggested that I contact you.
The content: This is the crux of your mail. Here is where you need to explain why you are writing to this particular professor and why you have decided to choose this specific research position/field of internship. What skills do you plan to gain from this internship and how your contribution would make a difference. You can write about how you plan to use the skills you gain from your internship and your career plans. However, do not let the whole mail be just about boosting your career. You can also include information on how you came across this particular professor. It will help to find out what this professor has done and read up on papers that she/he has published. This will show that you are actually keen on the internship.
The closure: A warm but simple closing (‘Sincerely’, or ‘Best regards,’) is fine. It may help to include your e-mail id or phone number under your name if you have invited the recipient to contact you. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can add that as well. In the first draft, just compile your thoughts and write it down in a rough manner. Once you have put the idea across, you can write it in a proper manner.
About the author:
Aniket Singh works for Apple Inc. in California, United States. He is also the author of “Intern Abroad This Summer”.
Aniket holds a BTech degree in Electrical Engineering from the IIT, Madras, Chennai, and a Master’s degree in Wireless Systems from Politecnico Di Torino in Torino, Italy. He has interned at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland during this studies.
Visit him at www.aniketsingh.com
Check out his book at www.internabroadthissummer.com