Applying for internships can be stressful, and the last thing that you want to be wasting lots of time on is the cover letter, right?
Cover letters are often dismissed as the unimportant add-on when it comes to internships and job applications but in fact, they are extremely important.
They give you the chance to address your potential employer personally, give them a taste of your personality and appeal to them why you fit the internship requirements.
In some cases, employers may not even reach the rest of your application if the cover letter is unimpressive.
So how do you avoid this outcome? How do you write a cover letter so amazing that it gets you the spot?
Well, here is some handy guidance when it comes to writing cover letters for engineering internship applications. Read it through and try to apply it to your own cover letter to help give it some spark.
Table of Contents
Writing Cover Letters – What’s The Purpose?
We touched upon why cover letters are a great opportunity for you, but what exactly are they meant to do?
Well, the purpose of the cover letter is to give you a chance to express your interest in the position you are applying for and to expand upon anything mentioned in your resume.
So, for interns, you will want to focus the topics covered in your cover letter on why you want an internship with this company and talk about why you would be a good choice for the company to choose.
This is where expanding upon your resume comes in. You can highlight any work experience you have done (the more relevant to engineering the better), and projects you were a part of, or any research you have had a hand in completing.
The important thing is that you sell yourself to the company, convincing them to take a chance on you and give you the internship.
With that in mind, you can write the body of your cover letter with ease.
Structuring Your Cover Letter
Remember that this is a cover letter. This means that it should be laid out like a traditional letter with your name and contact details clearly visible in a column in the top left corner of the page.
Start your cover letter by addressing the name of contact with ‘Dear [insert their name here]’. If you don’t have a name, then refer to their role instead. Don’t be vague and say ‘Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom this may concern’.
Then you can start writing your main body. Remember the points above before you start your first paragraph.
The first paragraph should be about introducing yourself, identifying the internship you are applying for and why you are interested in it. Remember to mention your year, college, and major and bring up where you first heard about this internship.
Show off that you have researched and know about the company by mentioning something specific, like a partnership they did or a project that they are working on that you are interested in.
Stay positive and don’t be generic – it gives off the impression that you are not that interested in the internship.
Then for the next two paragraphs, you should sell yourself by understanding what is required for this position and how you meet those requirements.
Don’t just tell them that you do – explain how you excelled in a class in a certain skill that the internship focuses on, or that you have experience in a similar role with another company so you are already familiar with the demands of the role.
Remember to highlight your character and put some personality into this. Talk about experiences and stories outside engineering that also make you a great candidate – for example, playing in a team for an extracurricular sport means that you work with others really well.
Basically, you are informing the company why you are the best person for the internship. Don’t sell yourself short. Be enthusiastic and emphasize a bit to get your point across.
Try not to repeat yourself or your resume too much. Be unique and speak from the heart – it’s really easy when you want an internship so badly.
And finally, close your cover letter with a very short and sweet closing paragraph. Summarize your qualifications and qualities, reiterating why you are the best person for the internship.
Remember to thank them for their interest and time, and point out that your contact details are above. Otherwise, how would they contact you to tell you that you have the internship?
Proofread Your Cover Letter
No first draft is perfect.
There is bound to be spelling mistakes, points you missed out or sentences that just don’t make sense. This is why it is so important for you to proofread your cover letter and redraft it once or twice.
This task can seem daunting but it is so important as it will help improve your chances of landing the internship.
Some tips for when it comes to proofreading include reading your cover letter out loud. This can help you find any grammatical errors or misstructured sentences as you will be able to physically hear the words instead of them just being in your head.
Another tip is finding someone else to proofread your letter. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will be able to pick out mistakes that you have missed. Ask a friend or relative to proofread your letter – it will only take a few minutes and could save you a lot of embarrassment!
And that’s it!
Now you know how to properly layout your cover letter and what it should contain. Remember to keep it to one page (no one will read pages and pages, no matter how well it’s written) and don’t be afraid to seek advice or help from a proofreader!
And whatever you do – make sure you have the right name of the company! Nothing is more embarrassing than applying to a company and addressing them by the incorrect name!
With all that said, all that is left for you to do now is draft your cover letter, check it, and send it off. Best of luck!