Building a resume, writing cover letters, getting references are all important things! Once you have gathered all these materials though, how does one actually put them to good use? How do you sell yourself during and after college? Internships are meant to open doors for you, it shows future employers that you gained skill before you applied for that job. These are things I learned along the way and will hopefully help you be prepared for these potential jobs when they come up.
1. Cover Letters/Resumes
These two are things people struggle with when applying for jobs. It can be overwhelming and hard to see how one can sell themselves to potential employers. No worries though, there are websites that help you write out, build, and make strong letters/resumes for yourself. The best practice for me is writing down what jobs, awards, and skills I have. Getting those thoughts organized and putting them down in an organized way that will grab attention. Also making sure you have a few trusted people that will be a reference for you if needed. Once I get my first draft done, I send it to someone I trust (friend, family, peers, professors, etc.) and get some feedback. For the Cover Letter, I find a way to explain why I want the job, a short example of some skills, and thank them.
2. Linkedin, Indeed, or any other Job site
Each job search website is different, but knowing how to use them is helpful. I have been using Linkedin and Indeed. Using Linkedin is almost expected in this day and age. Even if you don’t have that much experience, it helps to use this site. You can connect with fellow students, old employers, people you met at job fairs, big companies, and find jobs on the site. It’s like Facebook, but for job hunting. Linkedin also gives you email alerts about jobs you are wanting, tells you how far away the job is, and the experience they are wanting. It may seem silly, but it never hurts to try and get ahead in the game. Indeed is another job hunting application, but more simple than Linkedin. Indeed lets you add your resume, cover letter, and search for jobs on this site. If you can’t apply through Indeed, it gives you links to the site that you can apply to. You can keep track of interviews, applied jobs, and which jobs gave you an offer. They also give you tips, alerts about certain jobs, reminders about messages, and give you skill assessments to help your chances with interviews.
3. Work Examples
So, you might not have that much experience in your desired field, however, it doesn’t mean you can’t build a portfolio. It helps to have work examples on hand in case an employer is curious about certain projects you’ve on in school/personal projects, what systems/programs you know how to use, and what knowledge you have coming in. Coming in empty-handed is never a good idea, so coming in being able to talk about your experiences/knowledge is best.
4. Practice Interviewing
This is something I wish I had taken advantage of when I had the chance. Many colleges offer the chance to do mock interviews and give you feedback so you are able to improve. There are usually several programs you can take advantage of at your university that will help with interviewing, resumes, and work examples. You might also receive feedback from your friends and family if they are willing to help out as well. Give yourself time to practice answers for questions they might ask about you, your resume, school, or experience you might have.
5. Dress to Impress
This might sound silly, but it’s important to remember. You want to make a good first impression and one of the ways to do that is by dressing correctly. I choose a couple of nice outfits and rotate between those for the interviews. Here is a link that helped me dress for success!
I’ll be honest, I have applied to almost 100 internships and jobs, not all of them will land. You might not just fit the needs of the company, have enough experience, or just didn’t apply in time. No matter the reason, it will be hard to hear no. I completely get that, but sometimes you will hear a yes, and it’s so worth it. Never giving up and working, reworking your resume so you can sell yourself is important. Every company is looking for something different and you will land something at some point, I promise. Good luck looking for a job and try your best.