Spring is here, which means summer internships and first jobs for graduating seniors are weighing heavy on every college student’s mind. The process can be frightening and new for some, but just because you are unfamiliar with how to get the job does not mean you don’t deserve it. To get you ready for the grueling internship and job hunt process, here are VALLEY’s tips to nailing your application and interview.
Your resume is, for all the obvious reasons, the most important part of your application. Many companies are now using programs that scan resumes to pick out the relevant experience and what they deem to be the most important parts of the resume, so be cautious about how and in what order you put your accomplishments down.
ALWAYS put your most recent, relevant experience first. It may not be your current job at the top, but it should be the last position you held that most closely resembles the qualifications for the job you are applying for. If the average recruiter, and in some cases computer, only looks at your experience for an average of six seconds, make those seconds count and let them see you have the knowledge.
Paragraphs and lengthy explanations should be avoided. In those six seconds, you want the recruiter to see as much as they can. To do that, use capitalized letters or bold heading to make the job title and/or company standout. Since experience is everything, then they are really looking to see if it is there.
Do not over explain on your resume. It is easy to add every detail because you want the potential company to know you are qualified, but if you give them too much information to begin with, you may have nothing more to elaborate on in your interview. Keep it simple when it comes to the finer details of your work experience and skills, and save all the good stuff when you get your in-person opportunity.
It is not bad to add activities outside of your desired position. Employers like well-rounded employees, so just sticking to what they want to see for their open position may not always help you in the long-run. Include your THON committee or your Greek life involvement, you never know what connections you may make based off things you never know were relevant to the job!
Also, do not over explain in your cover letter either. A cover letter is tricky, and it gets more irritating when you have to rewrite it for every new position you apply for. They are not useless, though, and offer you the opportunity to add some knowledge, activities or stories that may be important for them to understand you as an applicant and why they should want to have a deeper look into your credentials.
Everyone gets nervous to interview for an internship or job they really want, especially if it is their first time doing it. Interviews, however, are the best way to really sell yourself to an employer, so your first impression really does mean everything.
The first impression starts with the outfit. For those applying to internships, especially with companies that are laid back or having a more relaxed interviewing process, sometimes dressing the part is the biggest source of anxiety. While there is not just one right answer on what to wear, the best advice is that you would rather be overdressed than underdressed.
Being prepared for an interview also means doing your homework. Research the company, because even if you think you know all about them, there may be things beyond the common knowledge that you wouldn’t have known without finding it. Employers like to see an ambitious young person who is truly invested in what their company stands for, so show them that you did not only do the research, but you are impressed and intrigued by what you found.
Another part of the interview process that people do not see as important is the moment the interviewer asks you if you have any questions for them. The recruiter, employer or whoever it may be wants to see if you have been consciously thinking about your role with their company. Questions show them that you really want to visualize where you fit and are eagerly interested in the position.
Finally, always shake hands and be polite. They may be running late or the recruiter may be difficult to have a conversation with, but whatever the situation may be, remain calm and collected. This is your opportunity to show the working-world that you have the confidence, maturity and skills to handle whatever comes your way. Any company that can see your value is lucky to have you!