Internships are a tremendous opportunity combining a work opportunity with your education. As with other education programs, competition for these programs can be fierce. Many times there are multiple applicants for a single position. Therefore, it’s important to stand out from that crowd. One strategy that can help you do this is to use a motivation letter for an internship application.
A motivation letter for your internship application is a letter that you include with the standard application that you submit for the program. It’s a lot like a cover letter for a job but with a different flavor. A motivation letter aims to convey to the hiring manager why you would make a strong candidate and how you can contribute to the program. Many times, hiring managers for internships want to help candidates progress in their future education and career while also looking for future talent. You want to write a motivation letter for the internship that highlights where you can meet those goals.
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Preparing to Write Your Motivation Letter
The first part of preparing for your motivation letter is to consider how your education and aspirations line up with those of the hiring company and position. Normally, for a job, you would call out your background and experiences and how they make you a great candidate for the position. While there’s nothing wrong with that for an internship, when you’re writing a motivation letter for an internship, you’re going to want a different strategy.
For an internship motivation letter, you want to show the hiring manager how excited you are about the opportunity and how they want you on their team. Start by reviewing the position description. Write down position requirements and responsibilities that align with your degree program, experiences, and life goals.
Next, review the company. Its mission, goals, history, and future plans. Write down how they align with your experience and goals. If you have trouble, you can find a lot of this information in places like the company website, corporate filings (if it’s a public company), press releases and other public information. Thankfully, it’s usually out there and easily accessible.
Once you have this list, review it and mark off the biggest or most impactful things. Your goal is to tell a true, motivating short “story” about why they should choose you for this position. You want to find the parts of the job and your background, career goals or aspirations that line up.
With that in hand, it’s time to start typing.
Writing Your Motivation Letter for Internship
It’s time to start writing your motivation letter. First, we’ll cover some basics.
You should always try to address your letter to someone. A good person is the hiring manager if you can find them. It’s not even horrible if you get it wrong. It shows that you took the time to research the company and who you are likely to be dealing with. Your goal is to make a connection and it’s easier to do that with a person.
Open your letter with an introductory paragraph. This is usually a few sentences introducing yourself, identifying the position you’re applying for, and stating how excited you are to have the opportunity.
In the next 1-3 paragraphs, you want to outline why you want this position and why you would be a good fit. This is where the notes we made above are introduced. You want to use the reason or reasons that are the most powerful and engaging. At a minimum, you should at least briefly tell them where you are at in your academic career including your grade or level, the school, and the program.
Here are some ideas that you can use to find that connection:
- How the position aligns with your studies – For example, if it’s a marketing position and you are a junior in the marketing program with a lot of relevant courses under your belt, this could be a good opportunity. Unfortunately, strong study does not mean success, so if you have something you can demonstrate how you can succeed or contribute then that is worth adding. Of course, it never hurts to show great, relevant academic achievement (e.g. grades and projects) for an internship.
- How Your Accomplishments Prepare You – If you have work experience, extracurricular experience, or volunteer experience these can be great to include. For example, if you are applying for a software company and you have built your own software, or maintained IT systems for a charity those are great to include.
- Passion for the Career – When the internship position gives you a chance to observe or experience your dream career that can be motivating for some hiring managers.
- Passion for the Company – If this is a company you have long dreamed about working at, you can include that passion and why. Managers like to hear that. It makes them proud to be at the company and can be exciting for them too.
Any of these, or a combination of them can be great to include in the body of your motivation letter for the internship. You want to keep it succinct, show your excitement and stay relevant. Just because you have a list, be careful not to just throw everything out there that you can think of.
This is about quality. One passionate motivating reason is better than ten boring reasons. Your goal is not to write a long letter, but to convey what this position means to you. Keep the total length to one page or, if you are using an email, the more that the reader can see without scrolling, the more they are likely to read. That doesn’t mean that is all the space you have but information “below the fold” often isn’t read.
Close out your letter thanking them for their time. Reiterate your excitement about the position. Then, make sure they know you are available to speak more or answer any questions. It’s good to include your contact information even though you know that they have it.
Check Your Work
Before you send your motivation letter for your internship application, there are a few things that you need to check:
- Spelling – Good spelling shows attention to detail, professionalism and backs up your academic credentials. Review your letter carefully for spelling. Use spell check and, if in doubt, have someone review it for you.
- Grammar – The same tips apply to grammar. Make sure to use proper punctuation and proper phrasing. Of course, most applications today have spell checkers and they’re pretty good. Grammarly is an even better tool, though. Even with the free version, you can get more robust spell-checking like finding common spelling errors like “their” and “there”. If English is a second language or you’re not a great writer, you might want to check out the paid version. It helps more with style-related issues like tone, readability, and suggesting better phrasing.
- Keep it formal – Stay formal and professional. You can still show excitement.
These simple tips will help you with any motivation letter. It’s especially true when you’re trying to show off your academic credentials.
Sample Motivation Letter for an Internship Application
Below, we’ve included a sample motivation letter that you can use to guide you through drafting yours for your internship application. Please do not use this letter. It’s here as a guide. You want to tell your own story.
You might also be sending it as an email instead of as a letter. These days, there are fewer and fewer letters being sent. That’s okay. A few tips to change it to an email-
- No need to use the address block – An email is different than a letter. You don’t want to include them to and from email blocks. Start with the salutation.
- Use a professional-looking email address – It’s great that your friends email you at “firstname.lastname@example.org”. That may not be the best email to use for professional correspondence. You can get a free email from Gmail and then have it forwarded to your regular one (just don’t respond from that one either.)
- Still address it to someone – You actually have to do this to get the email to go out. Send it to a real person.
- You can send it to more than one person – If you are working with a recruiter, you can send a copy to them. It’s a good idea to send the email to each person individually. Change the salutation and maybe customize the opening paragraph a bit. You could even tell them you are sending it to someone else. “I have also reached out to Ms. Davis but I wanted to make sure you know how excited I am about this opportunity.”
If you only have a name and a position but no email address, that’s okay. Most companies use a standard format for their email addresses. Common versions of this are email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. First, if you’re working with a recruiter, there’s a good chance they will give you an email. Follow the same format for anyone else you want to reach out to. It’s not foolproof but often works.
We have written this guide to help you write your own letter. Sometimes, we get asked for more help from our readers. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources for that but we want to give you any help we can.
Probably the best resource we have found for such help is to look on Fiverr to hire someone. Fiverr is a marketplace where you can hire someone for a specific project. They offer different projects at set prices that you can hire them for. This link will take you to a search for freelancers that do motivation letters specifically. We can’t offer any specific names on there because the freelancers change. We can give you some pointers on finding the right person for you, though.
Make sure to review their projects and their reviews. Some might offer letters specifically for MBAs or education applications. Others might just do motivation letters. That’s probably okay. If you’re not sure, you can contact them and discuss it with them before hiring them. Here are the things to look for if you contact them (which isn’t a bad idea even if you think they’re great).
- Responsive – Make sure that they respond in a reasonable amount of time. If they don’t respond quickly when they want your business they won’t be quick when they have it.
- Communication – You’re asking them to write a letter for you to a graduate program. Asking them questions in writing is a good chance to see the quality of their writing.
- Check All Their Deals – When you look at their offerings, there are usually multiple tiers of offerings. Pay more, get more, or get it more quickly (or both.) Don’t always go for the cheapest. Sometimes, the more expensive deals can help you more.
- Read Their Reviews – Read through the reviews and look for patterns. Anyone can have an occasional bad review but if you need a letter in a few days and they have a lot of complaints about timing, they probably aren’t the freelancer for you.
The good news is that these are writers who do this a lot and have seen a number of ways to do it. Often Fiverr offers reasonable deals at reasonable prices for projects like this. Just like anything else, you just need to make sure you hire the person for you.
While we can’t recommend a specific freelancer, please make sure you leave a review, especially if you find someone really good or really bad. That way, other readers can find the right freelancer when they need them. If we all leave reviews, then we can find the best people together to help us out.
Good luck with your internship! Let us know if you find anything that works and how we can make this better.
Sample Motivation Letter for Internship
Below is a sample motivation letter to get you started. You can use this to start your own. We also have an editable version available here for $5 (USD). It comes in Microsoft Word format and you can use it with Word or Google Docs.