It’s internship application season! That means it’s the time when your cover letters and resumes should be looking pristine and ready to impress. Recently at my job, I was tasked with assisting in the recruiting process for new interns as well as a full-time team member. I was absolutely shocked when I saw the quality of resumes and cover letters that were coming my way. Grammatical errors galore and lots of irrelevant information. Can you believe it?!
That is what inspired me to write up this post today. I am sure you all have amazing experience and are beyond capable of handling whatever internship or job you are applying for. However, if your resume and cover letter fail to impress then you can trust that your experience and talent will be worth ZERO.
So let’s get to it!
Take your COVER LETTER from drab to fab…
I can’t stress this enough. Keep it short. Cover letters are meant to serve as an introduction of yourself and your resume, not a breakdown of yourself and your resume. When putting it together, be sure to answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What position are you applying for?
- What makes you stand out from the other candidates? (This can also be something on your resume that you want the recruiter to pay special attention to)
Cover letters should be around 3-4 short paragraphs long and only feature the most relevant information for the position. If it has nothing to do with the position you are applying for, don’t include it.
When putting together a cover letter, always think about the person who will end up reading it. If the recruiter only has 30 seconds to look over both your cover letter and resume, will your key messages come across successfully?
Also, be sure to include updated contact information. An address is not necessary unless you live in 1995 and are applying by mail. Your full name, contact number, and professional email address is perfect.
Finally, a point I will continue to stress: PROOFREAD. Read it over, read it over again, ask someone else to read it… and then read it over again.
Taking your RESUME from drab to fab…
The perfect length for a resume is one full page. Use a professional font, like Times New Roman, in size 12. Use headings for each section with lists beneath them and make it as easy to read as possible! Reading your resume shouldn’t require an expertise in solving maze puzzles.
Keep it relevant! That perfect attendance award you won in your junior year of high school can take a back seat on this one. Both your resume and cover letters shouldn’t be the same with every application you send. Tweak them according to the jobs and companies you are applying to by including the information which will serve you best as a candidate.
Stick to the essentials. Your education, work experience, and any other relevant certifications, awards, or expertise is enough. Objectives, summaries, and being “proficient in Microsoft Office” can also take a back seat.
Finally, instead of simply listing your duties for each of your work positions, add value to them. If you had a job as a cashier, rather than saying you were “responsible for ringing up customers”, you can say you “demonstrated excellent customer service in a fast-paced retail environment.” This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of work experience in your desired field.
And just because I can’t drive this home enough… PROOFREAD!
I would be more than happy to help you tweak your resumes or cover letters! Send them on over at email@example.com and we can chat about taking them from drab to fab 😉
Also, let me know in the comments what positions you currently have your eye on! Where are you currently in your internship or job search?
- Are you interested in doing an internship but don’t think you have enough job experience to make an impression on your resume? Here’s how to amp it up no matter how much experience you have!
- Are you not even sure where to begin in the internship search process? Here’s what you need to get started.