In my job hiring college interns for SALT’s parent company, American Student Assistance® (ASA), I see a lot of college student résumés. I know that there is no magic formula for finding an internship or summer job.
However, I also know a few things that work and don’t work when it comes to getting hired.
Be Sure To Cover Yourself
If the job-application website allows you to upload a cover letter with your résumé, do it! But don’t just include the same cover letter for any job.
What works better is to tie your skills in the cover letter to the qualifications noted in the job description you are applying for. Tell them why your skills are a match. Don’t make them guess.
Experience Not Required
Hiring managers understand that interns won’t always have a lot of previous work. So, if you don’t have a lot of experience, you can still get hired!
Your résumé should include your major, your anticipated graduation date, and your GPA (if it’s a selling point). You should also highlight relevant coursework, school projects, and related work experience whether paid or unpaid. Then, use your cover letter (another reason to include one!) to tie the experience you have to the position.
Customize Your Résumé For Each Job
You are better off crafting a résumé that sells you for a few jobs than creating a generic “one size fits all” version. For instance, we had one student apply for a position that required fluency in Spanish. On his résumé, he reported being fluent in Cantonese and English, but not Spanish. His language skills were impressive, but they didn’t get him an interview.
Prepare For Your Interview
At an interview, dress the part. Bring a pad of paper and pen, and samples of related work if you have them. Write things down. Ask questions. Tell your story. And, most importantly, send a thank you email right away, reminding the hiring manager why you are a good fit for the job.
Start With SALT
Not everyone lines up summer work in the dead of winter, so don’t feel alone if you are momentarily jobless. It is getting a little late in the game to find a summer job, but it can be done!
A great place to start job hunting is on our website. You can apply for specific jobs and internships in your city, or post your résumé online in hopes of being discovered.
Don’t be afraid to use all the resources at your fingertips, whether they are online job boards, listings at your campus career center, or personal family connections. Yes, other mothers email me openly asking for job leads for their college aged kids—you’d be surprised what networking techniques work.
Happy job hunting! Your next job lead may come along when you least expect it.
Anything unusual about how you found your last job or internship? Let us know in the comments.