The process of applying to jobs and internships can definitely be time consuming, but once you have carefully mastered your resume and cover letters, filling out the other information is pretty simple. Although it may seem difficult to get recognition from employers and that your application is getting sent into a dark hole of other applicants, these tips and tricks will make your application stand out.
- Powerful objective statement … This is the first thing a recruiter will read when they view your resume and realistically, they may only glance for a few seconds to see if it grabs their limited attention. For this reason, it must be a strong statement about yourself captured in only a few sentences. Focus on your goals within the job industry, what you are looking for, and how you can be a positive asset for that company. Save the details and fancy words for your experiences.
- Highlight your experiences … Every experience you include should have a few bullet points to describe various responsibilities at the job. It is essential to make these bullet points concise but effective. For example, if you worked in retail as a cashier, rather than just saying “cashier for customer transactions” you can say “expanded customer service skills by guiding customers purchase decisions and completing transactions.” It is important to describe WHAT you did and HOW you did it.
- Formatting & grammar… Paying close attention to detail truly matters in the eyes of a recruiter. This is the first impression they are getting from you, so if there is a typo or formatting error, it may be a poor reflection of your quality of work. Take the extra time to be a perfectionist, whether it means a spelling check or adjusting the margins/indents.
- Get creative … Oftentimes resume editors and career consultants advise college students to keep their resumes simple. However, don’t be afraid to get creative because this could be a factor that sets you apart from the tons of other applicants. This could mean layout, design, adding color features, and including unique links of your work all in order to stand out in the eyes of the recruiter.
Cover Letter Tips:
- Write a specific CL for each job/company… Rather than having one standard cover letter for each application as we do with resumes, customize a cover letter for EACH job and tailor it to that specific company. Show that you are aware of what they do and why you are interested in working there. Most recruiters can tell when a cover letter is not original for their job application. You can have a template for all your letters, but customize certain parts depending on the job.
- Don’t overlap too much with your resume … Try not to restate your job descriptions too much because it will get repetitive with your resume. Think of the cover letter as an extension of the resume, but rather than discussing WHAT you did, you are describing your positive assets, career goals, and how YOU specifically can be a good fit for that company.
- Let your personality shine through … Remember that your resume is briefer than the cover letter, so you can keep the letter more conversational rather than essay style writing. If there are certain things you want to highlight about yourself but won’t fit on the resume, this is the chance to include them. Let your enthusiasm show – recruiters get so many applicants, but a select few are truly passionate about the opportunity!
With these tips in mind, you should be off to a great start. Good luck and happy job hunting!