It’s internship application season! That means it’s the time when your resume and cover letter should be looking pristine and ready to impress. Recently at my job, I was tasked with assisting in the recruiting process for new interns. I was absolutely shocked when I saw the quality of resumes and cover letters that were coming my way. Grammatical errors galore and lots of irrelevant information. Can you believe it?!
That is what inspired me to write up this post today. I am sure you all have amazing experience and are beyond capable of handling whatever internship or job you are applying for. However, if your resume and cover letter fail to impress, then you can trust that your experience and talent will be worth ZERO.
So let’s get to it!
I can’t stress this enough. Keep it short. Cover letters are meant to serve as an introduction of yourself and your resume, not a breakdown of yourself and your resume. When putting it together, be sure to answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What position are you applying for?
- What makes you stand out from the other candidates? (This can also be something on your resume that you want the recruiter to pay special attention to)
Cover letters should be around 3-4 short paragraphs long and only feature the most relevant information for the position. If it has nothing to do with the position you are applying for, don’t include it.
When putting together a cover letter, always think about the person who will end up reading it. If the recruiter only has 30 seconds to look over both your resume and cover letter, will your key messages come across successfully?
Also, be sure to include updated contact information. An address is not necessary unless you live in 1995 and are applying by mail. Your full name, contact number, and professional email address will do just fine.
Finally, a point I will continue to stress: PROOFREAD. Read it over, read it over again, ask someone else to read it… and then read it over again.
The perfect length for a resume is one full page. Use a professional font, like Times New Roman, in size 12. Use headings for each section with lists beneath them and make it as easy to read as possible! Reading your resume shouldn’t require an expertise in solving maze puzzles.
Keep it relevant!
That perfect attendance award you won in your junior year of high school can take a back seat on this one. Both your resume and cover letter shouldn’t be the same with every application you send. Tweak them according to the jobs and companies you are applying to by including the information which will serve you best as a candidate.
Stick to the essentials
Your education, work experience, and any other relevant certifications, awards, or expertise is enough. Objectives, summaries, and being “proficient in Microsoft Office” can also take a back seat.
Add value to your job duties
If you had a job as a cashier, rather than saying you were “responsible for ringing up customers”, you can say you “demonstrated excellent customer service in a fast-paced retail environment.” This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of work experience in your desired field.
Read more tips on putting together a resume when you have limited work experience.
And just because I can’t drive this home enough… PROOFREAD! Keep in mind that your resume and cover letter is the first impression your potential employers will have of you. Make sure to reflect that in your submission. Happy hunting!
Pin this post!