Do you want to be a leading lady, just like the women we celebrate here at Levo? If you’re just starting out in the world, having at least one good internship in your resume is most definitely a step in the right direction. However, if you’re just like every college girl out there, internship application season almost always equates to stress and nervous breakdowns.
I just finished a six-month internship myself, and let me tell you something: getting an internship and acing can feel both impossible and cakelike all at once. Allow me to share with you a few tricks and some lessons I learned along the way. I hope you find them useful.
GET THE INTERVIEW
First things first. To snag that dream internship of yours, you must have a stellar resume.
1. Tailor your resume:
Your resume should fit what the internship position wants.?Read the job description and pay close attention to what it is looking for. Include your experiences that satisfy the requirements.
To illustrate: the internship I applied for was a software development internship, but the job description listed leadership and communication skills as requirements too. Thus, I added academic projects wherein I lead a team of programmers in creating a software product for a specific customer. This showed the reviewer that I have experience not only in programming, but also in leading a team and communicating with a customer.
2. If you do not have the exact experience they are looking for:
Try not to despair. More often than not, you have done some other activity or project that also utilizes the skills needed, albeit in a more general level. For me, I didn’t have that much experience in technical writing, but I listed my stint writing for my college’s magazine. This allowed me to show that I have experience writing for a specific type of audience, something technical writers should know how to do.
3. Write an impressive cover letter.
Write it for the specific position you are applying to; read about the company and what drives them. If the company culture focuses on integrity, make sure you rave about how much you want to be a part of a company with such high ethical standards. Also, as much as possible, try to find out who to address the letter to. Most companies, especially small ones, have all the information on their websites.
If you have gaps in your resume, explain them briefly in your cover letter. This is crucial for me since I attend university in Asia versus in the US. I always explain that I grew up in the states, but just chose a different path to avoid student loans, widen my horizons, try something bold and different, etc. More often not, this actually piques their interest in me all the more.
Another winning strategy I’ve used in the past is to list the requirements of the job in your cover letter, and how you meet and exceed those expectations. You can try a bullet list or even a table. This is almost like you are giving the reviewer a checklist of why they should hire you!
4. Edit and polish.
As you finish up your resume and cover letter, try to keep each under one page, especially if you are still in school. Also make sure the styling is uniform. If the title of one activity is bolded, they all should be as well. Of course, check for errors in grammar and punctuation. Ask a friend to read it over; correct your mistakes, and put it away for a day or two. Read it over again, and make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Finally, read this article, and see how well you made your resume. Then compare it with this piece for a reality check. These are, hands down, the best advice I ever found on writing a top-notch resume.
Coming Next: Perfect the Interview
Frances Advincula is a Computer Science major with specialization in Software Engineering. She has interned as a Platform Development Intern for Accenture Software. Being in an industry that is predominantly male, she is passionate about empowering women in every aspect of their lives.