Michelle Brownstein
Michelle Brownstein / Digital Marketing / January 30th, 2009

Tips when Applying for a Job or Internship

Part of my job as the Internship Program Coordinator is to review the applications that come in for the Internship Program here at 352 Media Group.  Over the past couple semesters of reviewing applications I have noticed that on many applications there seem to be consistent issues that people have with their resumes and/or with completing applications.

 

The biggest problem that I have noticed is not including your contact information.  Now, looking over my old resume, I didn’t have all of my contact information on there, in particular I felt it was unnecessary to include my address on my resume.  I felt that as a woman who (at the time) lived alone, that I should be very careful with disclosing information to that effect.  While the sentiment was appropriate, being on the other end, it is frustrating when any of the contact information is missing on a resume/application  (phone, email, physical address).  I have had people apply to the program, and leave me without any means of contacting them! So always include your contact information so that I (the reviewer) can contact you through my preferred method.

Another big issue, is not paying attention to information, whether it’s the directions on filling out the application form, or a description of the program track.  I have had people apply for every track through our online application system because they were unsure what the different tracks meant (marketing, project management, programming and design).  So instead of asking, they simply applied for all of them.  This is one of the most irritating errors our applicants make, mostly because it’s often obvious which track they should be applying for when you consider their resume, but the applicant failed to make the effort to ASK someone about the tracks and which they were best suited for, causing more work on my end as I try to contact them for clarification.  While that doesn’t seem like a big deal- having to call a person to get clarification- when you have to do it 20 times, it becomes a real issue.

Here are some other things to consider to improve your application/resume:

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  • Explain your experience in light of the position you are applying for.  If you are looking for a management job, be sure to highlight those experiences where you have had some type of leadership/managerial role.
  • Create a cover letter!!! It may seem like a pain, and chances are the reviewer won’t want to spend a lot of time reading it, but it definitely makes an applicant stand out, and moreover, gives you the opportunity to explain your experiences in a way that will mean something to the reviewer. For instance, if you have been a lifeguard since High School, and you’re looking for a design position, you could talk about how the differently colored bathing suits gave you an appreciation for color and pattern. Ok, so that may be a little extreme, but do some reading on how to write a cover letter and “get ‘er done!”

Other things to consider beyond the application:

  • When you apply for something and you provide your contact information, be sure you check those forms of contact frequently for correspondence, whether it’s checking your email, your snail mail, or keeping up with your voicemails.
  • When someone says they want to interview you, get excited! There’s nothing less rewarding than interviewing someone who is non-chalant about the whole thing.
  • If you are on social networking sites, be sure you check to be sure your profile and the pictures you have or are tagged in are G-rated, or otherwise suited to the job you are applying for, because, it’s sad, but interviewers DO CHECK FACEBOOK AND MYSPACE!
  • If you are coming to an interview, obviously be prepared, but BE ON TIME! If you are going to a new area of town, go there before your interview on a different day so you can be sure where it is.
  • DO NOT rely on mapquest or google maps to get you there on the day of, as they can be wrong, and they certainly have been wrong in the case of finding our office.
  • Regardless of if you know where you are going or not, be sure you allow for enough time to get there and to be at least 15 minutes early.  Prompt people make interviewers happy, especially me.  Late people make interviewers irritiated, and you don’t want to start your interview that way.  
  • Take into consideration traffic flow.  If you have an interview first thing in the morning, around lunch or between 4-6 expect delays and plan appropriately, giving yourself plenty of time to get there and STILL be early.  Think about your route and also consider school zones where you  may only be able to go 15 mph.
  • If you are going to be late to an interview, call while you are on the way to let the interviewer know you are still coming and your ETA (estimated time of arrival).

Granted, every person who reviews applications and who does interviews will have different preferences in their applicants, but there are certainly pitfalls to avoid.  If you really want the position, show it through paying attention to details, responding promptly to correspondence, going the extra step, being on time and being excited about the position you are applying for!