Entry by Pat Patterson
Just because you may not have landed the internship of your dreams in the past does not mean it’s not possible. Writing a great resume and cover letter and “looking the part” at a networking event or career fair are not the only determinants of whether or not you will get a call back. It is important to also pay attention to the details that may set you apart from other candidates.
Spell check your resume and cover letter over and over again. And then after you are done spell checking, have one of your peers spell check for you. A typo can say a lot of negative things about you – such as, you may not be able to spell, you don’t care enough to check for spelling errors, you are not organized or detail-oriented, etc.
Invest in professional resume paper. Although business stationary paper may be more expensive than regular printer paper, it is more durable and quite frankly looks more professional – your resume will stand out on quality paper, and recruiters will notice that you took the initiative to make your resume physically look nice.
Use a professional email address. If you are looking for an internship in finance, it doesn’t look good if your email address is email@example.com. The firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com type addresses you had in grade school also won’t cut it. If you are still in school, use your school email address as your contact address. If not, use a simple email address such as Pat_Patterson@email.com.
Set up a professional voicemail. Let’s say an employer likes your application and decides to give you a call to set up an interview. You miss the phone call, and the recruiter is sent to your voicemail, which states, “Sorry, but you’re obviously not important enough for me to pick the phone up, so leave a message, and I’ll get back to you if you’re lucky.” Do you think the recruiter will leave a message? Probably not. Make sure your voicemail is simple and professional – example: “Hi, this is (name). I’m sorry I cannot take your call right now. Please leave a detailed message at the tone along with your name and telephone number. I‘ll return your call as soon as I return. Thank you.”
Maintain a professional online presence. Recruiters are checking potential applicants’ online profiles more often. Take a look at your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. profiles and remove any inappropriate or questionable content. For more information on creating a professional online presence, check out some of our previous blog entries: Creating a Respectable Facebook Profile, Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile, Students: Don’t Let Facebook Cost You Your Next Internship.
Remember, internships and jobs are competitive, and the more you stand out (in a good way), the more likely you will be perceived as a strong candidate. Every little detail counts!