A cover letter is an important tool to use when applying for a job because it:
- Introduces you to the prospective employer
- Highlights your enthusiasm for the position
- Describes your specific skills and qualifications for the job or internship, and clearly explains why you are a good fit
- Confirms your availability to start a new position
You should always include a cover letter when applying for a job unless you are specifically told not to by the employer. We recommend that you write a cover letter (aka letter of intent) after you have drafted and tailored your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) for a particular job description. For academic faculty and teaching positions, see cover letter instructions in Masters, Ph.D.'s and Postdocs section. When applying online and limited to uploading one document, you can create a single PDF document that includes both your resume and cover letter.
What to Include in a Cover Letter
Use the cover letter template and planner to get started. When drafting your cover letter, keep the following DO’s and DON’Ts in mind:
- Limit the cover letter to one page if possible, unless applying to academic faculty, teaching or research positions.
- Use the same font and formatting in the cover letter as you use in your resume.
- You might also want to use the same header in both a cover letter and resume. See header formatting examples.
- If providing a printed copy, use the same type of paper for both your cover letter and resume. Resume paper can be purchased at the UC Davis Bookstore or at an office supply store.
- Many tech companies prefer the cover letter not be attached, but uploaded as text in an email with the resume attached.
- Use formal, professional language in a cover letter. This is true when sending your cover letter as text in an email (above point).
- Personalize each cover letter to the specific position you are applying to.
- Address your cover letter to a specific person or the hiring manager whenever possible. If you don’t know their name, use one of the following examples:
- "Dear Hiring Manager,"
- "Dear [insert department here] Hiring Team,"
- "Dear Recruiter, "
- “Dear Search Committee Chair and Committee Members:” (used for academic teaching positions)
- "To Whom It May Concern: " Note, this last one uses a “:” not a “,”
- Check for typos, proper grammar and accuracy.
- Use spellcheck, but do not rely on it to catch all errors.
- Have multiple people review your application materials.
- Make an appointment with an ICC adviser to review your application materials before you apply.
- Unless told explicitly not to, you should always include a cover letter in your application.
- Don’t use text abbreviations or emoticons if you are using email.
- Don’t be too wordy or write just to fill the entire page.
- Don’t submit a generic “one size fits all” cover letter; tailor your cover letter to fit each position. Thus, none of your cover letters will be exactly the same, though a lot of content will be similar in each.
- Don’t repeat or summarize your resume in your cover letter. Instead, focus the cover letter on your enthusiasm for the job, excitement about working with that organization, to highlight unique skills that make you qualified for the position and a good fit for the employer.
- Don’t overuse adjectives or superlatives, especially subjective ones (e.g. “You are the best company in the world” or “I am the most hardworking student intern you will ever meet.”).
- Quantify when possible. "I've helped organize three club events, including two successful initiatives attended by 25 people" is a better descriptor then "I've helped organize several club events, including a couple successful initiatives attended by many people."
- Don’t exaggerate your skills or experience.
- Don’t use UC Davis letterhead, logo, or UC seal in your cover letter. [NOTE: For graduate students and postdocs, some departments allow use of department letterhead for tenure-track faculty applications. Check with your department before using.]
Internships resume objective examples
Resume objectives are starting to get more outdated, but in some cases may still help with your internship job search.
Use these resume tips when writing your objective.
A strong, concise internship resume objective could help you stand out from a long list of internship candidates. Some will argue that resume objectives have become obsolete over the years—the career summary is more common nowadays—but when you're applying to internships, it's important to let hiring managers know exactly why you're the one they should pick. An objective does exactly that.
Employers receive large amounts of resumes for internships from college students and recent grads. That's why it's so important to ensure that your resume stands out and makes a statement. Writing your resume is tough enough, but the resume objective is the first thing hiring managers will read. It's essentially their first impression of you, so you want to make sure it's a good one.
Tips for writing your internship resume objective
The resume objective for an internship should immediately grab the reader's attention. The objective should be straight to the point and concise, but it should also highlight a few reasons why you'd be an invaluable asset to the company or organization. Rather than write an objective that details what you hope to gain from the internship, think of it as the place to sell your skills and any competencies that would benefit the hiring manager and existing employees. This objective should consist of a well-written paragraph and should also include the name of the organization to which you are applying, if possible.
Sample objectives for internship resumes
The following internship resume objective examples are a good place to start when crafting your resume objective, but be sure to tailor them to suit your own needs and the needs of the internship you hope to acquire:
- Results-oriented college graduate with a background in performing scientific research interested in gaining an internship position with ABC Company.
- Obtain an internship with ABC Company that will benefit from an advanced knowledge of economics and customer service skills.
- Seeking a summer internship with ABC Company where my strong problem-solving and analytical skills will be utilized. My part-time work experience and marketing studies will provide solid support to ABC Company's marketing department.
- Seeking an internship position that will allow me to explore career options in the IT sector. A self-motivated, hardworking graduate student in computer science, I have consulted in the computer center, tutored undergraduates, and completed advanced projects relevant to this internship position.
- To obtain an internship with a leading marketing company which provides the opportunity to expand my knowledge as a communications major. My experience as assistant editor of the campus publication, in addition to my strong writing skills, ensures I will make a positive contribution to ABC Company.
- To obtain an engineering internship that will utilize my analytical and design skills. A 4.0 GPA throughout my mechanical engineering studies attests to my hard work and enthusiasm for the engineering industry.
- Seeking an internship at ABC Healthcare Facility to further my nutrition studies where I can utilize experience gained as a dietetic intern at XYZ Hospital.
When writing your resume objective for an internship, remember that the employer wants to know what you will bring to the table, not merely what you hope to gain from the experience.
Are you trying to find an internship, but aren't sure where to start? A great first step is to join Monster today. As a member, you can upload your resume and make it searchable to recruiters who are searching our database every day, looking for interns just like you.