The Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Applying For Internships

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional
The Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Applying For Internships blog image

The Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Applying For Internships

I’ve been “The Intern Queen” now for several years and I’ve helped over 1,000 businesses find amazing interns. Throughout that process, I’ve seen the good and the not-so-good. Below are a few of the top mistakes students make when applying for internships.

1. Cover Letter is Generic. A company can tell when you’ve sent the same cover letter to 100 different places. Take the time to read the internship listing and learn about the company before constructing a cover letter. A company should read it and feel like it was written JUST for them.

2. Resume is Three Pages. Your resume should only be one page. I’m the Intern Queen – I had 15 internships – my resume is one page. Tailor your resume for the position.

3. Spelling Errors On Your Materials. Your cover letter and resume cannot have spelling errors – you also need to make sure you spell the company name correctly. When I get resumes for InternshipQueen.com instead of my correct company name, InternQueen.com, I throw them away. I call these trash can resumes.

4. BCC or CC. You cannot apply to 100 internships all in one email by BCC’ing all of the employers. Or even worse- CC’ing everyone you are emailing. Each application should go out individually and on its own.

5. Wrong Company Name. We know you are applying for more than 10 internships but that doesn’t mean you can send a cover letter to COSMO that’s addressed to ELLE. Be careful and double check your work!

6. Poorly Formatted Resume. Give your resume a makeover. Use the resume advice on my blog HERE and my book ALL WORK, NO PAY to give your resume the makeover it needs. Resumes that look too bare bones or poorly formatted will not be considered. Remember, the resume has to land you the interview. It has to professionally represent you.

7. Cannot Intelligently Speak To Your Experiences. You should be able to give a one minute elevator pitch about every item on your resume. When an employer asks about your resume and professional experience, you should always have a carefully crafted answer. If you can’t speak about your own experiences, who can?

8. Lacking Enthusiasm. If the employer has to ask you if you really want the position, something is wrong. It means you aren’t showing the passion and enthusiasm for the position. No one wants to hire someone who they don’t think wants the position.

9. No Thank-You Note. Send a hand-written thank you note to the employer after the interview. This will help you land the position – especially if it’s a tie-breaker.

For more internship tips, please check out my internship book, ALL WORK, NO PAY HERE.