Free advice to potential interns everywhere
As you know from our Careers page, we’re looking for that bright, shining star of an intern who can come to Full Circle PR and help us out with our projects, and learn a lot about public relations in the process.
I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have the opportunity to work with some really stellar interns — students who you just knew were going to rock their jobs once they graduated. I’ve also worked with some not-so-great interns, but well, that’s not what this post is about.
As we’re sifting through the dozens of resumes we received already for our summer internship program, we’ve seen a shocking trend. Of all of the resumes we’ve received so far, about 20 percent are completely error-free.
That means 80 percent have some form of typographical error, use grammar incorrectly or just show a general lack of attention to detail in the resume or cover letter. 80 PERCENT!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the U.S. is still in the throes of a recession. Internships are a great way to learn valuable job skills you can use after you graduate, as well as (hopefully) gain some school credit.
So with that said, I’ve put together our top five things you should do before hitting ‘send’ on that internship application. Hopefully this will help land you into that top 20 percent of job applicants, and ideally get you in the door for an interview.
1. Proofread, proofread and then proofread again. You might say, “I’ve looked at this resume 10 times, there’s no way there’s a mistake in here.” Trust me – have a smart friend read it for you, read through your resume from the bottom up, send it to a business colleague you know to review – just have another set of eyes read your resume. You’d be surprised what mistakes they’ll catch that you glossed over every time.
2. How can you help the company? Read through the job description and point out ways you can directly benefit the company. If it’s a job heavy on administrative duties, let them know you’re a rock star at answering phones and making copies. If it’s a graphics position, let the employer know you design things in your sleep and still want to design more. Companies are short staffed and overworked right now — tell them how you can help them. In other words, it’s not all about you.
3. Make the company feel special. We’ve received many resumes with attachments just titled, “Resume 1.” That’s great – I can tell you just sent this resume out to anyone and everyone in hopes someone would look at it.
Or worse, someone will allude in their cover letter how much they would love working for a non profit organization, when we’re obviously a for-profit business.
Take the time to customize your cover letter and resume for each company you’re applying. Will it take longer? Yes. But wouldn’t you rather land an interview and hopefully a job because you took the time to do it right, versus ending up in the “no, thanks” pile?
4. You’re not entitled. At Full Circle PR, and most places I’ve worked, everyone works hard. No one is above doing any type of task, whether it’s fetching coffee, cleaning up or boxing up packages. Here, everyone pulls together as a team to produce great results for our clients. Offer to help do whatever it takes to get the job done. If you’re already fortunate enough to be interning somewhere, take a look around. If someone is obviously overworked and drowning, offer to help out. Trust me: it will go a long way with your managers to show you’re a team player.
5. Don’t worry, be happy. Sure, sometimes it can be hard to get up in the morning and come in to work, and yes, sometimes the hours are late and you’re tired. But don’t be a drag. There’s nothing worse than having a complainer on the set, bringing everyone else around them down. If you’re applying for an internship, put on a happy face and tell your future employers why you’ll be such a breath of fresh air to the team (in addition to the hardest working person in show business for them).
In your interview, make direct eye contact, shake hands firmly and be positive and enthusiastic. Tell them how you’re going to be the best thing that ever happened to the company (in a confident, but not cocky, way).
Some of this admittedly unsolicited advice might seem basic, but you’d be surprised how many intern candidates we see who don’t follow these tips. Take note and be the one who stands out. Now, get out there and make it count!