An internship application letter (or cover letter) is different in a number of aspects from a cover letter for a full-time position at a bank. First and foremost, a banking internship cover letter should be short and to the point whereas a ‘full-blown’ cover letter should use up the whole page. I recommend the banking internship cover letter to span maximum three paragraphs – in some cases and for some banks, one succinct paragraph would be enough.
In an internship application, your CV matters more than your letter so spend more time on the former to make it easy to read, highlight all your relevant academic and work achievement and extra-curricular pursuits. The internship cover letter should explain briefly who you are and why you are applying for this particular internship in this particular bank. You should use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your excellent networking abilities and include the names of people who you have spoken to and know at the bank (don’t forget to mention their positions as well!). The more names you mention, the better, as this is one of the key variables that will determine whether you are going to get an interview.
Make sure you highlight just the most relevant academic and work qualifications relevant to the field of banking. You may want to mention courses you have taken concentrating on valuation, statistical analysis, M&A, strategy, financial accounting and if you were part of a finance society at your university, it is worth specifying that as well.
Ensure you re-read your letter a few times before pressing the ‘send’ button to make sure there are no typos as otherwise, your cover letter accompanied by your CV will be added to the ‘trash’ pile. Write in simple sentences that deliver the main point directly – remember the banker is most likely to be super busy and will skim through your letter looking for the key points (this is the best case scenario of course!).
In summary, when preparing banking internship application letter, simplicity, relevance and concision are your best friends!