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Acing the Application Process: Documents to Have Ready at All Times

No matter your year in school, spring can be a stressful time because all of the applications due for summer jobs, internships, and research funding. While the beginning of the semester starts off slow with new classes, applications will be due before you know it! Having a few items prepared beforehand will really make a difference when you find a last minute opportunity and will make application season much easier in the future. Oftentimes, you’ll have to apply for a variety of things in college including: summer jobs and internships, summer research opportunities and scholarships for the following year.

Items to have ready:

  • Résumé: Schedule an appointment with the LEEP Center for help with your résumé earlier rather than later! You can always make one large resume (over one page if needed) that includes all the jobs you have had, and then delete anything that isn’t applicable to what you are applying for and save that as a new resume.
  • Cover Letter: Keep a very generalized cover letter that can be edited to fit a variety of jobs. For example, if you are interested primarily in psychology internships, have a cover letter that explains your interest in psychology and then leave space to add in organization-specific information for each place you are applying.
  • Personal Statement and Essay Questions: While some interview questions will be specific to the organization’s goals, others will ask for a general description of your interests, previous experience and even your personality.  Keep a few backup essay questions about yourself ready that you could quickly submit if you don’t have time to write several essays before the deadline.

Resources at Clark:

  • Apply for LEEP funding!
  • Check to see if your department has a Moodle page. For example, the Geography and Environmental Science departments each have their own Moodle pages and email lists, and every week updates are sent out about job, research, and scholarship opportunities. Make sure to check these pages frequently, and know the application deadlines.
  • Don’t be afraid to apply to opportunities you feel you are “too young” for! Especially with department specific openings at Clark, applying more than once is a great way to get your name in the system and show that you have been interested for a long time.
  • Most opportunities at Clark, specifically research, are run by a professor. Stop by their office and introduce yourself! Come in with a few questions about the program, mention if you’ve taken one of their classes or plan to, and make a good first impression. It can really help if they remember your name and then see it on the application. Going to the information sessions for these research opportunities is also a way to meet professors or previous students in the program.
  • Ask if your summer opportunity can count as academic credit, and get in contact with the necessary resources (LEEP Center, Career Services, etc.) to make sure this is taken care of before you leave Clark for the summer.

Other Tips:

  • If the organization you want to work for doesn’t have an internship program set up, email someone in charge, like an HR Director, and ask if you can create one. Mention possible funding from Clark, and show them you are knowledgeable about the work they do. Even just an experience shadowing someone in your desired field can be extremely beneficial. 
  • Keep a folder on your computer where you have all of your job applications so they are easy to locate and reuse if needed. 

Whenever you have some spare time, consider updating your résumé and other documents to have ready for when job applications come out in February. Even if you are just applying to a simple summer job at a local restaurant or coffee shop, having a professionally prepared document can really make a good first impression. Good luck, colligiettes!

Savannah is a four-year student at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and is still (somehow) adjusting to life on the East Coast. Being from San Francisco, she loves the Giants, being outdoors, and warm weather. Savannah has a busy schedule as a arsity athlete, a campus tour guide, an announcer at basketball games, and a member of the ITS Help Desk. Academically, she is studying Environmental Science and Geography. Her favorite hobbies include ballet, watching baseball, hiking, and watching The Vampire Diaries and Survivor
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