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How to Write an Externship Cover Letter

An externship lets you get an inside look at a job or industry you’re interested in without the long-term commitment of an internship program. Though they’re shorter and less rigid than internships, externships still require you to apply and be accepted. Part of that application process is submitting an externship cover letter. 

We’ll explain how to write an externship cover letter that helps you stand out and get selected for the program of your choice. 

What is an externship cover letter?

First, let’s start with the externship itself. 

An externship is a short program usually lasting between one day and a couple of weeks. Participants shadow professionals in a specific job, company, or field during it. An externship is an informational experience, allowing you to learn about different careers and how companies operate. 

Like internships, externships are offered by companies via an application process. The application requirements typically call for a cover letter. 

A cover letter is a document that outlines why an externship coordinator should select you for their program. It showcases your related studies and positions you as a qualified, dependable candidate. 

Externships have limited slots for participants, and a strong cover letter can help you secure one of them. 

Why it’s important to send a cover letter when applying for an externship

Highlight your qualifications

Unlike an internship, an externship does not require participants to participate in projects and assignments. Still, a company wants to make sure it’s selecting candidates whose skills and backgrounds are aligned with the program. 

Just as you’re using the externship to broaden your knowledge about a potential career, a company primarily uses externships to connect with potential job candidates. So, your cover letter should explain you’re relevant experience and convey accomplishments that position your skills in a positive light. 

Communicate the externship’s value to you

What are you going to get out of taking part in the externship? Your cover letter should explain how it will help you narrow your career focus and better understand the field or whatever you’re personally hoping to gain from the program, making it more appealing to choose you.

When should you send an externship cover letter

Send an externship cover letter when applying for a position you found online or elsewhere. Your cover letter and the rest of your externship application materials should be submitted. 

Read the application instructions carefully to be sure you’re submitting it in the correct format. Some applications call for a PDF upload, while others can be emailed. 

What to include in an externship cover letter:


Introduce yourself and name the externship you’re applying for. Be sure to include the specific title since the company may have various internship and externship programs.

Your background

Provide information about your status as a student, what you’re studying, and what career path you’re on. Give some personal context that helps explain why you’re interested in this particular externship.


Cite noteworthy accomplishments that show your qualifications. This might include awards and recognitions, projects you’ve successfully completed in your college classes or part-time jobs you’ve held.

How you’ll benefit

Explain how you plan to use the knowledge you’ll gain once the program is complete.

What to omit

Your entire work or education history

Your cover letter is a summary, calling out the highlights from your relevant experiences. Save the laundry list of positions you’ve held for your resume.

Sample externship cover letter

Mr. Dearborn,

My name is Joseph Samuels, and I’m writing to be considered for your industrial manufacturing externship. I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student at NIT, hoping to pursue a career in consumer product development after graduation.

I’m committed, dedicated and creative. This spring, a group of my classmates and I entered a statewide competition to design the best new household gadget. Our creation, a handheld tool that cracks an egg and disposes of the shell, took first prize. For the past three years, I’ve consistently made my college’s dean’s list while also maintaining a part-time job as a stockroom associate at Baker’s Grocery.

I’m currently deciding whether I’m more interested in the development or mechanical side of the field. An externship with Bayer Industries would help me learn more about the inner workings of a commercial manufacturing facility, which I believe would give me clarity on the next steps to take toward my future career.

Thank you for considering me for the program.


Joseph Samuels

A well-written cover letter can help the externship coordinator get to know you a little better and convince them that you’re a worthy choice for the program.