Business students wishing to advance professionally may seek out internships in order to gain work experience relevant to their career goals. When applying for internships, a strong cover letter can make the difference between a rejection and an interview. Although drafting an effective cover letter may seem daunting, learning a few key tips can greatly increase an applicant’s likelihood of success.
The Importance of an Internship Cover Letter
The staffing company Robert Half explains why cover letters are considered a crucial element of an internship application:
- Cover letters are a way for applicants to establish a connection with the company
- Cover letters allow applicants to highlight their enthusiasm for the position
- Cover letters give applicants the chance to describe why they are perfect for the job for which they are applying
- Cover letters give applicants the opportunity to fully describe their skills and qualifications
Furthermore, cover letters provide a chance to expand on the positive aspects of one’s resume and explain any elements that might seem problematic (such as chronological gaps in work or education). Cover letters are often the first information an employer receives when making a hire. It is vital that this document remain precise, direct and positive.
The Business Internship Cover Letter
When writing cover letters, students should keep the following in mind:
- Limit cover letters to a single page
- Keep the font consistent throughout the cover letter and resume
- Tailor the cover letter to the specific position and company
- Use professional, formal language
Standard cover letters are structured into various sections:
Applicants should begin by offering their own contact information including their name, address, phone number and email. Below this, they should include the same information for the person to whom the letter is addressed.
The greeting should acknowledge a specific person and address him or her formally. If writers do not know the name of the reader, they may simply use the title “Hiring Manager.”
This section should include:
- An introduction. Students should mention the position they have applied for and how they heard about the opening
- Their current year in school, the university they attend and their course of study
- Why they are interested in the position
The middle paragraph should describe why the applicant is perfect for the position. It should briefly discuss experiences or projects that demonstrate a specific qualification sought by the employer. It should also discuss what the applicant can contribute to the company in order to help meet its goals.
It’s important to note that a cover letter should not simply restate information from a resume. Additionally, if the middle paragraph is too long, it may be broken up into two, making the letter easier to read.
Here, applicants should politely ask for an interview. They should repeat their phone number and email, and explain that they will follow up with the company soon. Any other practical remarks (such as if the applicant will be visiting the area) may be included in this section as well. The paragraph should conclude by thanking the reader for his or her time and consideration.
Closing signatures should use the words “sincerely” or “best regards.” If the employer requires a hard copy of the cover letter, applicants should sign their name with ink above their printed name. If the letter is sent by email, a typed name should suffice.
A Note on Word Usage
When writing both cover letters and resumes, certain words are more effective than others. Useful words include strong verbs such as “achieved,” “managed,” “led,” “generated,” and many others. When describing an employer, words like “admire” and “inspired by” help demonstrate the applicant’s interest in the position and his or her positive opinion of the company.
Conversely, there are words to avoid, explains FlexJobs. Some include:
- Any expletives
- Words spelled in nonstandard English such as “thru,” “nite” and “lite”
These words tend to present applicants in a negative light, serve as useless fillers and demonstrate a lack of communication ability.
Getting Ready for Your Internship
Internships are often considered a bridge for business students between their education and the working world. By earning a degree such as the online business administration degree with a management concentration or an online business administration degree with a marketing concentration at Husson University, business students are one step closer to a successful career. These programs can be completed in as little as one year, offering students a chance to rapidly advance in their fields.