As I sifted through resumes and cover letters and conducted interviews with candidates, I began to realize what really stood out to me when I was looking through candidates.
Here’s one person’s take on the do’s and don’ts of trying to get an internship:
Show Translatable Skills through Examples
Whether it’s in your cover letter or in an interview, make sure to show skills that you have in the context of past experience. If you are say you are creative, what’s an activity that shows your creativity. If you are a problem solver, what’s a time where you were confronted andwere able to solve a problem. Don’t put it on the burden of the interviewer to ask about where you’ve shown your skills, tell them! Skills shown through examples are that much more powerful.
If you have a unique skill-set and experiences, tell people about it. Highlight experiences that you have that are different from the rest. Also, when it comes to your cover letter, be creative with it. The best cover letter we got was from someone who treated it like a news article (blogging was a skill we said we were looking for) and it got him and interview. Different can be a really great way for your qualifications to stand out.
Research the company
Show that you care about the position and the company you are interviewing for. Understand what they do, the industry they are in and the people that are important at the company. Nothing shows more poorly than not having an idea of what they do.
Ask Intelligent Questions
The quality of the questions an interviewee asks is almost as important as the interview itself. It shows you prepared and can think intelligently about the company and their industry.
To Whom it May Concern
Please don’t start your cover letter with “Dear Madam/Sir” or “To Whom it May Concern”. It shows little to no research and is very impersonal. Research who the hiring manager is and use their name or if you don’t know just use the company name (i.e. Dear SmashFly). That initial title shows that you put little to no effort on your cover letter (and gives me an indication if you are using a generic cover letter.)
When talking about your experiences, have a clear succinct story to tell. Take a sheet of paper and write down all the best experiences you can talk about from school, internships, life, etc. and practice these stories before an interview. Explain the experiences in full but make sure to not make them feel long-winded.
There’s my take on a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to being a job seeker. I definitely want to see what other recruiters / interviewers have to say on this. What is your advice to job-seekers?
About the Author: Chris is the Marketing Analyst for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly is the provider of the first recruitment marketing platform called WildFire that enables companies and staffing firms to easily distribute and more importantly measure the performance of their recruiting efforts online.
The WildFire recruitment marketing platform offers every tool you need for your recruitment marketing needs all in one centralized solution including Real-Time Recruitment Metrics, Job Ad Distribution (job boards, social networks, SEM, email & SMS campaigns), Recruitment Opt-In Database, Recruitment CRM, Web Commercials / Micro-sites and Resume Sourcing services.