The tips in the sections below will help you prepare for your internship or job search. Submitting solid application materials and developing effective networking skills can help increase your chances of landing interviews. Impressive interviewing skills can get you one step closer to securing an opportunity. Take advantage of this information and meet with a Career Services Coordinator to discuss strategies to incorporate these tips successfully.
For career guides, and in-depth tools to improve your resume, networking skills, and more, MS/MLA & PhD students should visit our Career Services Resources Google Site.
Quantify Your Resume
This is a results-oriented tactic that helps you clearly communicate the magnitude of your work with metrics. Examples: 15+, 80%, 15-20, 75
Strong Action Verbs
- Use your bullet points to express your impact by leading with strong action verbs. Examples to avoid: Assisted, Worked, Utilized
Accomplishments > Job Duties
- Instead of simply focusing on explaining the duties of your job, use your bullet points to explain the value you added and why you were hired to do that work.
- When you are applying for a job or internship, review the description thoroughly. If your experience closely aligns with the information in the job description, use those keywords in your resume.
- Incorporate your capstone project under your experience section. Include your hard skills and soft skills. Examples to consider: collaboration, stakeholder interactions, data collection, data analysis, technology, presentations, any recommendations or proposals you offered
- If you haven't had many internships or jobs, emphasize relevant academic projects on your resume. If you have relevant presentations and/or publications, make sure that these are included on your resume as well.
COVER LETTER TIPS
Draw Their Attention
- The first paragraph should mention the role and include your background, but this is also an opportunity to draw their attention by explaining what stands out about the company. Personalize your cover letter by adding a short sentence about your thoughts on their company.
Depth > Breadth
- Cover letters must be limited to one page, so it is important to identify the alignment between your accomplishments and the qualifications they are seeking succinctly. Connect the dots by explaining the skills and values you offer from your relevant experiences.
- After thoroughly reviewing the job description, jot down the top 3-4 skills they are looking for and make these the primary focus of your body paragraphs. This helps provide direction as you write and it gives you the opportunity to emphasize your biggest accomplishments related to those skills.
- The final paragraph is typically a formality, but always make sure to thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration.
Consider People of Interest
- You have many options when it comes to networking, so it can feel like an intimidating process. Think about your starting point. You can begin initiating conversations with faculty and alumni and then move on to recruiters and employees that work at companies of interest.
- Make the best use of the individual's time by researching their work and industry before you meet. Identify common interests and shared experiences.
Plan Your Approach
- Think about the end goal for this interaction. Ask questions that will provide the information you want. This may include advice, employer information, recommendations, career insights, and/or referrals.
Be Considerate, Sincere, and Courteous
- Expanding your network can be exciting. When you ask people to set aside their time, make sure to keep your outreach concise, clear, and polite. You should keep the pertinent details but avoid overloading them with information.
- Following up with your network is a key step in maintaining relationships. Keep in touch with your contacts, but respect their boundaries. You may only speak every few months, but it is always good to share about how their insight helped or to congratulate them on a new accomplishment. Relationships need nourishment!
- Leave a lasting impression by providing specific examples. By using the STAR (situation-task-action-result) format, you will provide valuable context, explain the steps you took, and the resulting impact.
- Always take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions. This shows that you are engaged and it offers insights on your priorities as a candidate. These questions can be related to supervision style, the criteria for success, potential challenges, or other topics that shed light on the company's values.
- Display your knowledge of the organization and the role by being prepared for your interview. This will also help you to avoid asking obvious questions that can be found through research. You can search their website, recent news articles, LinkedIn, and even connect with employees within the organization.
- Keep your follow up message short and sweet by thanking them for their time and the opportunity. Personalize your outreach by addressing the interviewer by name and mentioning something that you learned during the interview.