Now that you’ve scoured the Internet and found your perfect internship, it’s time to prepare your resume and submit. Of course, it’s not that easy. The most successful, desirable internship candidates do a lot of small things to stand out amongst the sea of resumes flooding the hiring manager’s inbox.
- The organization. Spend some time on the company website. Get to know the mission, what the company does. Pick up cues on branding. Would be a bummer to talk about your desire to work at “The Target” or Supervalu (should be all caps) in your cover letter.
- The hiring manager. Look at the organization’s website, LinkedIn, Twitter, news articles, Google. Whatever you can to avoid addressing your cover letter and email to “Whom It May Concern” or “Hiring Manager.” If you can’t determine the hiring manager, a generic greeting isn’t going to kill your opportunity, but try your best.
- The owned properties. Are you applying for a gig in marketing? Even if you’re not, you should probably follow the organization on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like them on Facebook.
- Your resume. Find keywords in the job description that can fit into your resume. Don’t list them verbatim, but be sure to weave them in where appropriate. Place your most applicable skills and experiences at the top of your resume. And remember: most recent experience belongs at the top. Update from Twitter recommendation: Resume length. If you are applying for an internship, your resume should be one page. One.
- Your cover letter. Even if the job description doesn’t require a cover letter. Send one. Re-read the job description and start writing. Keep it short. Share some of your successes. Express your genuine desire to work for that company/team, use information you gathered from researching. Again, demonstrate skills that you possess that are listed in the job description. Let them know how to contact you. Do you have professional accounts on social media? If that’s applicable, include it.
- Follow directions. If the job posting asks for work samples, submit them. In the past, I’ve contacted candidates to remind them of that requirement. But, most hiring managers won’t take the time and you’ll be out of the running. If they want resumes submitted via US mail, go grab an envelope and a stamp. If you don’t follow directions, I’d be surprised if you were even considered.
Sent! Don’t passively wait for them to call you. Instead, interact with their accounts online. Respond to a tweet, like a Facebook post.
However, don’t call the front desk or hiring manager every day for the next two weeks asking about the status of your resume. I’ve had candidates call me to “inquire about the internship position” and I’ve even had candidates stop by our offices to meet me, completely unannounced. Never a good strategy.
Next up? Nailing that interview.