My Top 10 Tips for Jobseekers: Part Six – Internships


Encore Encore!!! As I recently learned the majority of my Top 10 Tips for Jobseekers series articles were suddenly removed from the original careers website they were on, I’m re-publishing them on my own blog so that jobseekers can continue to benefit. (Big thank you to those who made me aware of this!). Thanks for reading!

After building several internship programs, I’ve noticed patterns of who gets internships and whose resumes never make it.  Here are top 10 tips I have for those looking to get noticed by prospective employers – both for students AND non-students seeking internships.

1. Your resume matters!

In my experience, intern resumes are more likely to be put poorly put together. Many applicants often put their fast food jobs, for example, and say nothing about what relevant things they’ve learned in school.

Hint: Got volunteer experience that’s relevant to the industry or job? List it!

2. Keep your social media outlets professional.

Google yourself on the Internet – what will prospective employers find? Are your privacy settings set up so that your social media are not visible to them if they’re not something you want publicized?

Hint: If you haven’t already, get a LinkedIn account.

3. Elaborate on your academic projects.

If you’re a student and don’t have relative work experience, explaining what you’ve learned and applied in school is vital. Employers aren’t going to pick your resume for an interview just because you say you’re “a hard worker” and “learn quickly”!

4. List the tools and programs you know.

Understand a certain software program? Use a particular tool applicable to the work you’re applying for? List it.

5. Don’t omit work history.

If you’re fairly new to the workforce, show us you’ve had some type of gainful employment, even if you don’t think it’s relevant. It shows you’ve been in a work environment!

6. Not a student but want to start over? Consider an internship!

Your role as an applicant is to show us why you’ve got what we’re looking for – so make sure your resume and cover letter clearly articulate that you meet the skills requested, have done some learning on your own, and are willing to take the pay specified.

Hint: Check out this article on the benefits of internships for adult jobseekers.

7. Include work samples.

Did you do a cool project that might be relevant to this employer’s industry or job specifications? Reference it in your cover letter and include a hyperlink on your resume, rather than attach a huge document (documents may not upload into the employer’s system).

8. Do your homework.

Way too many applicants that I call for internship interviews can’t tell me what my company does. Take the time to get to know them before you apply – not after they call you for an interview.

9. Have a relationship with your school’s career services team!

Strangely, I hired most of my interns through my network, traditional job boards and career fairs. I’m always surprised at how few direct applications I get through the college internship boards I post on. These folks are here for a purpose!

10. RESPOND to the employer – immediately.

More than half of the intern applications I’ve received have been tossed because I never get a response back to follow up questions. I’m serious! Others wait weeks because they were “on vacation” or “busy with finals”, thinking that’s okay. Don’t bother applying if you’re not ready to respond.

Hint: On vacation? Check your email. If you’re looking for a job, you need to be responsive – you can’t expect employers to wait around for you to get back from Hawaii.

What about internship interviews, you ask? Click here for HR Nasty’s great how-to on this topic.

Have questions? Please feel free to comment, or connect with me on LinkedIn!

3 thoughts on “My Top 10 Tips for Jobseekers: Part Six – Internships

  1. These are great tips!
    I was recently in the career adviser’s office at my university, and while he said I am ‘interesting’ and wouldn’t have a problem getting a good job with my background, I have to figure out how to ‘package’ it. I showed him my resume, which I thought looked pretty good, but apparently looked too American (I wonder why! Though, I am in England at the moment, so it might work against me). CVs vs Resumes are kind of different beasts – one is very inclusive of all work history while the other isn’t (????? I think????).
    Job hunting is tricky! Especially if you want to get out of the service industry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly most career advisors are clueless because they have no experience doing the things they are advising about – I’ve never understood why colleges hire career advisors out there who almost always have zero business experience and rarely if ever have any actual recruiting experience to know what employers like and don’t like. The best ones don’t try to tell you if your resume is good or not but rather bring recruiters from local employers in to give that kind of advice … I don’t know how many times I have received resumes that are “what my career advisor suggested” that tell me the employer very little or in a very convoluted format. (Well I do know one reason why these folks don’t have the experience and that’s because they don’t pay shit…but still I remember when I was willing to take a pay cut and could not get an academic institution to talk to me because they only wanted people who came from Academia – kind of hilarious for the type of role that is supposed to prepare students for the outside world.

      I have hired for English offices and while there are a few details that makes CVs look a little different than resumes, it’s not because one is more or less inclusive of work history. Your goal in any country is to make sure the employer quickly and easily sees that you are qualified to do the work. There are articles out there that say your CV shouldn’t change depending on the job that I highly disagree because any document that outlines your work history can be customized for the reader while still telling what you did in that role in a comprehensive way. Let’s just say there are stereotypes about the CV just like there are stereotypes about the resume that aren’t always reality….

      My advice is to find somebody at a company you respect and that is someone who does hiring, and get their thoughts. Ping me over on LinkedIn and I actually have a recruiter I know who might be able to give you some bona fide tips (I’m not sure what you want to do next in your career but he works in Tech like I do and sees a lot (and actually helped me with some recruitment 5 or 6 years ago for our London office).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!
        The professional world is pretty interesting regarding the various ways the hiring process can be interpreted. I’ve always tried to follow the advice that you put out – tailor the resume to the job you’re applying for. I don’t think anyone needs to know that when I was 17 I was a waitress in a village 14 years ago when I’m applying for a content editor or columnist position. What I think is relevant is they writing-related experience I have.
        Thank you so much! I really appreciate the advice!


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