This post was written by Tara Arora, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Maryland.
I recently had the opportunity to have my resume and cover letter personally reviewed by a PR professional, not in anticipation of being hired, but for the sole purpose of getting some constructive feedback. Let me rephrase…a PR professional took the time to give me one-on-one feedback on how to get my resume and cover letter in the best shape possible. Any regular student applying for competitive internships would treat her notes like a hidden treasure, but as a campus ambassador for the Intern Queen, I feel it is my responsibility to share the wealth.
Here are some of the big ticket tips I received on improving a resume/cover letter…use this information wisely:
1. Try to give results/metrics whenever possible: This was the first thing the brilliant PR professional pointed out about my resume. She has noticed that a lot of people provide a list of tasks they have done in previous positions, but these tasks don’t mean anything without results. Prove that what you did had a positive impact on the company. For example, if you assisted in the preparation of an event for a company, include the number of people that attended if it reflects the success of the event.
2. Start with the words that are used in the job description…and integrate these words into both your cover letter and resume. Your job as a striving intern is to prove to employers why you would be perfect for a position. What better way to do that than by telling them you can do exactly what they’re looking for?
3. Always remember to communicate what you can do for the company…not only what the company can do for you. It is obvious that internships will be beneficial to you, but that doesn’t help anybody else. In your cover letter and resume, make sure you highlight ways you would contribute to their company. They need to know why it would be worthwhile to have you as their intern.
4. Follow-up and try to speak with someone in person whenever possible: As if she wasn’t being helpful enough, this PR professional even gave me some great tips on the interview process. Make sure you follow-up! If you don’t hear back within two weeks after an interview, don’t hesitate to follow-up. This will give employers a taste of your determination and will show that you are still interested. Side note: Always send a thank you e-mail and/or handwritten note after an interview! (I even made sure to send a handwritten thank you note for her great tips.)
As long as we’re on the topic of cover letter, resume and interview tips, let me throw another one out there: BUY LAUREN BERGER’S NEW BOOK ALL WORK NO PAY!!! The Intern Queen provides endless tips for preparing your resume/cover letter. Have this book by your side, and you can’t go wrong.
You. Are. Welcome.