Polish Your Resume and Earn a Summer Internship

Parents: Celebrate with a College Care Package

Internships are like rites of passage for college students. They’re almost always necessary for graduation and for learning the industry that you’re studying to become part of after you complete your schooling. But internships are competitive, with companies getting inundated with candidates interested in taking on some challenges and proving their worth over the summer – and maybe getting offered a full-time job after they throw their mortarboard caps in the air.

For your resume to stand out in a pile of others just like it, you’ll need to get creative, be precise, and reach out to your connections. Follow these tips for creating an eye-catching resume that gets you an interview.

Reach Out: Talk to Your University’s Career Services Department

Most universities have a special team of people who dedicate their time to helping students find jobs after graduation. They want post-graduation hiring rates to look great. For personal help with your resume, contacting Career Services and meeting with someone to go over your resume can help you identify areas you need to polish, build up, or minimize. Working with Career Services is usually free for students.

Get Creative: Write a Powerful Cover Letter

Your resume is important, but so is a stellar cover letter. Potential employers don’t want to hear about your passion for the industry; they want to know what value you’ll bring to their business. How will having you intern for them help them maximize profits, reach more people, or streamline processes? What can you do for them during your internship?

Once you’ve highlighted what you can do, show why you know you can do it with anecdotes from previous employment or volunteer work. Skip the part about how you’ve always dreamed of working in the industry, and that nothing would make you happier. Lots of people have dreamt those dreams and felt those emotions – but they want the person who will put them over the top toward their goals.

Get Creative: Assemble a Neatly-Designed Resume

You don’t have to be an expert graphic designer to put together a resume that looks pleasing to the eye. In fact, with so many resume templates available, all you have to do is fill it in! But even these templates aren’t foolproof. Job applicants tend to overfill their single resume page (yes, keep it to one page!) and it creates clutter that can be difficult to read.

Your resume design should include adequate white space for the eye to “rest.” The result is a perfectly legible resume that doesn’t feel stressful to look at. If you used design elements in your resume, it may be best to export it as a PDF before you send it, so that none of them can shift when someone opens the file on their computer. 

Be Precise: Highlight Responsibilities, But Talk More About Achievements

Most people know what a front desk worker at the student fitness center does. Your future employer doesn’t need to read a list of things you did. Instead, they want to know what you accomplished. Did you break a record for signing people up for group fitness classes? Did you improve the process for washing and folding gym towels? DId you come up with a new filing system that decreased office supply spend? These kinds of things sound far more interesting than, “Greeted everyone who entered,” or “Swiped student IDs for gym access.” 

Better still is if you can quantify your success. By how much did you decrease office supply spend? How many more people than average did you convince to sign up for fitness classes? How many man hours did you save on your new laundry process? 

Reach Out: Ask for References in Advance

Before you submit your resume to an employer, be sure you contact your references in advance to not only ask their permission to include their phone number or email address, but also to make them aware of who may be contacting them. You also should share the details of the position, so they are more informed and able to answer questions about you as specifically as necessary to relate to the job.

If you must have emailed references or written reference letters, add a few key points into your request. If you email a professor to ask them to write a letter for you, and they agree, it may help jog their memory if you remind them of some of your successes in their class or in an organization they advise. 

Be Precise: Proofread Like Crazy

In a field of hundreds of applicants, a resume riddled with typos – or soiled with one solitary one – can wind up in the vertical filing cabinet (that’s the trash can). Proofread everything you send in, and ask a friend to take a look, too. Search for spelling errors, typos, misplaced punctuation, and inconsistencies in font size. 

You Got the Internship! Now What?

Once you’ve been offered your summer internship, it’s time to make plans for getting you to the city it’s located in, ensuring your wardrobe meets dress code, and finding a place to live, if it’s away from home. 

For Parents: Send Them Off with a College Care Package

Parents looking for a way to celebrate your success can help their student stock up on all the necessities by sending them a My College Crate care package once they get settled in. Our college care packages are different every month and include snacks, school or office supplies, and seasonal fun items to help students feel happy and healthy while they’re away from home. We say it’s like getting a “hug in a box.” Order a care package for college students today.


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