How to Write an Engineering Internship Cover Letter in 5 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you're submitting a resume for an internship position, some employers might require a cover letter to supplement your application and introduce yourself as a candidate. Engineering cover letters can help summarise your skills, experience and why you think you're the best match for the job. Understanding how to create an engineering cover letter can help draw attention to specific skills and experiences that make you a suitable candidate for the internship position and ensure your cover letter is professional and organised.

In this article, we discuss the purpose of an engineering internship cover letter, describe how to write one in five simple steps and share a few tips and an example.

What is the purpose of an engineering internship cover letter?

An engineering internship cover letter serves many purposes. It can help introduce a reader to you and your resume by summarising key industry skills, experience and any goals you might have as a prospective engineer. A cover letter can also help make your resume feel more professional, as you address the hiring manager directly when writing a cover letter. Some employers might require a cover letter for internship positions to both determine whether you're a good match and if you have basic writing and communication skills. Cover letters can sometimes be the deciding factor for employers scheduling interviews.

Related: What Does a QA Engineer Do? (And How to Become One)

How to write an engineering internship cover letter in 5 steps

Understanding how to structure an engineering cover letter for an internship might help your cover letter feel more authentic, organised and well-written. Here are five steps you can take to write a cover letter:

1. Create your header and introduction

A header is the first thing a reader might notice on your cover letter. It typically contains your most important contact information and the date of your correspondence. Create a header that follows this format:

  • date

  • your contact information

  • name of recruiter or hiring manager

  • their professional title

  • company name

  • company address

It's important to address a cover letter directly to a company's hiring manager to ensure your letter reaches the right person. Include their first and last name and professional title for recognition and professional respect. You can also list the company name and address to avoid any confusion on where you want your letter to go.

2. Express your interest in the position and any career goals

Following your header, write a professional salutation followed by an introductory paragraph. The first paragraph of your engineering cover letter typically describes your interest in the open internship position and summarises who you are and what your career goals are for the industry. You can say things like Fourth-year engineering student with a high GPA, or grade point average, and goal to become a certified mechanical engineer within two years to summarise your goals effectively. Use the exact position title on the job description in your introduction so the employer knows which position you're seeking.

Related: How to Write a Civil Engineering Cover Letter in 6 Steps

3. Create a paragraph that describes your experience and education in engineering

The following paragraph typically summarises any experience you have as an engineering intern and your education level. You can also describe any accolades you received as a student. For example, if you're the leader of the university's engineering club, you can include that information to show an employer that you have experience with both management and working with a team in an engineering setting. Describe your level of education, when you plan to graduate and any other special achievements from your education. You can also include specific engineering project examples to show an employer any specific skills you used.

4. Describe key engineering skills and proficiencies

In the same paragraph as your experience and education, or in a shorter paragraph just below it, you can describe key engineering skills and proficiencies that you believe make you the best match for the position. Often, employers look for proficiencies with specific engineering concepts, tools or methods. For example, a civil engineering internship might require skills in construction management, AutoCAD software or blueprint drafting. It's important to highlight your best engineering skills to attract an employer's attention and help differentiate yourself from other applicants. Any skills you list on your cover letter you can also include on your resume.

5. Create a summary paragraph and salutation

Following your skills and education paragraph, you can close your cover letter with a short summary paragraph. This paragraph helps coalesce the information you presented into a single closing statement and is typically only two to three sentences long. Thank the reader for their time as a gesture of professional respect and express your enthusiasm for the internship position. You can say something like, Thank you for your time and consideration. I'm looking forward to our initial conversation and am excited about this internship opportunity." Close your letter with a professional salutation and sign or type your name.

Related: Q&A: How Can I Get a Software Engineering Internship?

Tips for writing a strong internship cover letter in engineering

Writing a strong internship cover letter can help show an employer that you possess the right skills for the position and can also write well. Here are some tips for a stronger cover letter for your engineering internship:

  • Keep your letter concise: Cover letters help supplement and summarise a resume. Keep your letter concise by focusing on specific examples of experience and education and your potential contribution to the position and company.

  • Use professional language: Write your cover letter using professional language and good grammar. Avoid using idioms, slang words or language that sounds informal.

  • Focus on key skills and proficiencies: Focus your cover letter on your key engineer skills and proficiencies to show an employer that you're well-qualified for the internship position.

  • Use a professional template: Using a professional cover letter template can help you organise your cover letter and create a more readable format. Consider an online template as a guide.

  • Use only one page: Cover letters typically only cover one page. Your resume and cover letter together typically comprise two to three pages total to keep things concise for the reader.

  • Utilise keywords from the job description: Check the job description to identify keywords to include in a cover letter. Keywords are typically industry-specific terms, skills or position requirements.

  • Use strong verbs and adjectives: Use strong verbs and adjectives to describe yourself and your experience. Consider alternatives to common words, like cultivated, organised or established.

Related: 13 Important Skills for Engineers (With Definition and Examples)

Engineering intern cover letter example

This example shows you how to write a cover letter for a mechanical engineering internship as a fourth-year bachelor's degree student. The letter follows a simple template and describes the candidate's experience and skills and the position they're seeking. Here's the example:

Alice Wong
2345 2345
Hong Kong

ATTN: Daniel Zhou
Hiring manager and career coordinator
Lightsfelt Engineering and Construction, Ltd
Hong Kong

Dear Mr Zhou,

My name is Alice Wong, and I am interested in the mechanical engineering internship position with your company, Lightsfelt Engineering and Construction, Ltd. I learned about this position from a job posting on a career website and believe I'm well-qualified for the position, with a strong background in mechanical engineering skills, excellent grades and a recommendation from a prominent professor at my university.

As the founding member of my university's engineering club, I established competencies in organising engineering projects, leading teams and working with others. As the club's leading member, I've organised over 250 different mechanical engineering projects for club members and helped many of my classmates increase their grades in engineering courses. I maintain a consistent 3.95 GPA throughout all four years of my education and participate in the yearly engineering competition at the university. This year, I earned the first prize for my vegetable oil-powered engine, which burns used vegetable oil as a power source.

I have strong skills in mechanical engineering principles such as materials engineering, blueprint drafting and design, teamwork and management and advanced mathematics. I believe I'm an excellent candidate for the engineering internship position because of my commitment to continuous learning in mechanical engineering, which I believe my experience and education support. I am grateful for your time and consideration and hope to hear from you soon.

Alice Wong

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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