Beginners Guide to Writing a Cover Letter

  • Sep 03, 2020


Cover letters are often the most ignored part of an internship application from the perspective of those applying. Most students aren't sure about the purpose of a cover letter or how to write one. 

A cover letter is one of the easiest ways to leave a good impression on a recruiter in order to receive an interview Read on for a beginner's guide to writing a perfect cover letter.

What is a Cover Letter and Why is it Important ?

In simple terms, cover letters help in adding a personal touch to job applications. A resume has a list of all your educational qualifications, extracurriculars, and prior work experience in a summarized format Resumes allow recruiters to have insight into your previous experience and skills, but not your personality.

Meanwhile, cover letters are customized according to every application. They act as a chance to explain your academics and other skills and how they will benefit you in the current internship.

Cover letters are a great tool to leave an impression on the employers and stand apart from the crowd. 

This guide will walk you through the elements of a good internship cover letter.

The Perfect Cover Letter Checklist:    

Here's a checklist of the essential elements your cover letter should have in order to be remembered by a recruiter. You can use this as a quick list to review each of your cover letters as well!      

1. Start with a bang!

2. Be specific and clear.

3. Do not copy a template.

4. Use keywords wisely and show relevant experience.

5. Explain how you plan to add value to the company.

6. Proofread and review after content is written.      

Start With A Bang:

Always try to catch the employer's attention through a strong introduction. Depending on the position, the employer may have received hundreds of applications for the same position. A mundane introduction is enough to make him move to the next application. Instead, try and gain attention from the very first line. This will ensure that the employer will go through your cover letter until the end.

As a useful tip, imagine yourself to be the hiring officer of the company and draft your cover letter from that perspective. Include things that they would like to see in an application from their “ideal candidate”.      

Be Specific and Clear:

As stated above, an employer goes through numerous applications. Make sure you include the necessary details in a clear and precise manner. Specify the role you are applying for in the introduction. As for your academics and extracurriculars, keep them brief and to the point. Unnecessary details can waste space on a cover letter, as you are limited (most of the time) only to a page.    

Do Not Copy A Template:

There are many cover letter templates all over the internet. While they can be useful if you are short on time, you should try to write each letter on your own. Chances are, the employers have already seen those copied templates many times before. A fresh and unique cover letter is sure to grab the employer's attention. While there are definitely different aspects of a cover letter that can be reused and taken from others, there should be information included on a cover letter that is job specific and catered to the organization you are applying for,

Do not include things that you cannot do or have never done before in the letter. There is a chance that a recruiter may ask about these things during an interview and you do not want to come off in a negative light. Remember to always be yourself while writing a cover letter and avoid copying from other sources.

Use Keywords Wisely and Show Relevant Experience:

Go through the internship description and look for skills that are mentioned by the employer. Be sure to include these skills in your cover letter if you have expertise in any of them. If the internship description mentions “leadership ability” as a trait, include any experiences that show a display of leadership abilities. This does not necessarily need to be an academic experience, but anything that shows      

Explain how you'll add value to the company:

Towards the end of your cover letter, mention how you will add value to the company. Tell the employers all of the skills that you can bring to the table. It will give the employers a reason to hire you. You can also add what you will gain from the company and how pursuing this internship is aligned with your future goals.

Proofread and Review:

One common mistake that many applicants make is that they do not review or proofread their CVs and cover letters before sending them. Common grammatical errors can impact your cover letter negatively. Make sure to go through them at least once and ask someone such as a friend or family member to review it too.      

A cover letter is a chance to present yourself to the employer and showcase your knowledge and skills. A well-written cover letter can boost your chances of getting an internship. These are some handy tips that will surely improve your cover letter.


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