If you’re anything like me, you’ve procrastinated on internship applications for the past month and a half now. Luckily, many media/PR/marketing/magazine fields accept applications typically until Late February or early March. So there’s still plenty of time to get your name out there.
The most difficult question is: how? Grabbing an employer’s attention and holding it for a solid enough length of time to make them want to hire you (without the added advantage of showing them your in-person charm right off the bat) can be really, really challenging. And for our generation more than ever, it’s all about branding yourself.
As I sat down to spruce up my own application materials such as the cover letter, short answers and resume, I realized that the resume often gets kicked to the curb in terms of originality and branding. We often think that because the resume is primarily made up of facts, labels and dates that there’s no way to push through what makes us unique.
That’s definitely not the case! In fact, employers spend such little time looking at a resume (on average 5-7 seconds) that having a bit of jazz can significantly up your chances at snagging that dream internship. Here are some of the simplest and quickest ways to update your resume pronto before those apps are due!
Showcase who you are. Most people in the working world now agree that it is no longer necessary to have an objective at the top of your resume. After all, they ended up all kind of sounding the same. There are a limited number of ways to say that I am a [blank] major seeking to work in [blank] field.
So do away with the objective part, and instead focus on highlighting your personality and values as relevant to the employers throughout the resume. Using targeted words throughout the other sections such as experience or skills that show that you value creativity, or that you’re passionate about team-work can really boost your mojo if those are aligned with the values of the employer!
Do your research. I know it can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Just simply making sure that you’ve familiarized yourself with the company’s website or even social media pages can really benefit you.
Why? Because when it comes time to tweak your resume here and there for a specific job (which I’ll emphasize, you should always try to do this if possible), the phrasing you’ll pick up from having done your research will allow you to better brand and market yourself towards the unique skillset they are looking in a future intern!
Make sure you’re using action verbs. Go through your resume right now and get rid of any generic verb usage going on. Words such “assisted with” are used so frequently that an employer’s eyes probably skim right over it. Replacing these with powerful and awesome verbs will add a certain pop that will make whoever is reading your resume stop and say, “Ah, so this is what you actually did.”
It can be hard to single out the impact that you’ve actually accomplished, whether that is through prior work experience or extracurriculars in school. But I guarantee you that the search for the perfect verb is going to make all the difference. Replacing phrases such as “led a project” with “pioneered” or even “coordinated” will paint a better picture of what your role actually was. Don’t be shy, collegiettes!
Have a poppin’ header. This can be a tricky thing, because you never want to overdesign or have too much going on, but having your own header really can tie a resume together nicely. It adds color without being the over top PLUS this is an optimal opportunity for personal branding! You could plop this sucker on your cover letter as well. If you’re not super comfortable with design but you have some friends who are, take some time to ask them for some help.
Also I guarantee the Internet has a tutorial on how to create just about anything. Overall, consider the header a visual representation of your brand. It’s the first thing the employer sees. So instead of just the blandly typing out your name, address, etc., have a design that says something about who you are and what you bring to the table, before the employer even reads anything else about you.
These are just a few things can make an impressionable difference when it comes to submitting a resume into the black hole of internship applications, and they really don’t take that much time once you get down to it. So good luck getting out there and showing ‘em what you’re made of!