It's that time of year when internship applications begin to go live and the stress of crafting the perfect cover letter, personal statement or creative essay rises.
No worries! These seven guidelines will have you looking like a friendlier version of Miranda Priestly. Listen up, ladies!
1. Your resume is what gets you the interview.
Rather it be artsy, 3D or traditional black and white, you need to stand out. The average employer scans over at a resume for a total of 6 seconds, which ultimately decides if your application will be looked at again. Pinterest has some amazing inspo! If you don’t know how to use the stellar software InDesign by Adobe, no worries! There are many free resume creation websites online and Microsoft Word is always an option. Make sure your resume reflects the kind of message you want to put out there. (Ex: If you're into design and art, make your resume art. If you are going into the corporate world, make sure it is crisp and clean-cut.)
2. Define your personal brand
You may be wondering what the heck a personal brand is...Personal branding is the means by which people remember you. It is a concise statement which explains who you are and what you can bring to the table. Are you a type-A leader? Do you value teamwork? Do you have a passion for a particular quality? Know it! Interviewers in top companies are asking, “What is your personal brand?” instead of the traditional, “Tell me about yourself.” This question can throw you off if you don’t have a concrete statement ready. Remember, your personal brand is more that a solid statement, you must have a story/fact to back up your claims. Again, Pinterest has some great pins on how to build your own brand.
3. Research a company before applying
Company websites/social media can tell you a lot about the programs and positions offered and what kind of business they run. However, the Glass Ceiling and several other employment listing websites, have reviews from people who have worked there before. You can get an unfiltered opinion on a company and also receive advice from past employees. When you look at a company’s history, you will have prior knowledge on the company and not go into a potential interview blind.
3. Practice interview questions
Interviews are not a one sided ramble of answering questions and waiting silently for the next question to be asked -- it’s supposed to be a conversation. It’s important to not be be scripted, but to also know relatively what you would say if asked a specific question. I recommend Googling a list of commonly asked interview questions in your respective field. Read over the questions and think about possible responses, so when you are asked them in the actual interview, you don’t sit awkwardly trying to think of an answer.
4. Dress for success
While what you have to say should outshine your ensemble, it’s important to look your best for any interview. If dress code is not highlighted prior to the interview, I recommend wearing one step above what you would wear for a typical day at the office. (You wouldn’t show up to an interview for an arcade in a full suit and tie, but you would still want to look nice.) Show your personality with a fun pop of color or bold print. Make sure your outfit doesn’t take away from, or speak for you. H&M, Target, J Crew, and Macy’s all have affordable, yet fashionable business wear. At the end of the day, the best outfit is the one that makes you feel confident, comfortable and pretty.
5. Send a thank you letter after every interview
Have the envelope stamped and ready to go, so you can send the letter asap after the interview. The surprise in the mail will let the employer know how serious and passionate you are about the position.
6. Be confident
Before an interview, I always listen to a bumpin’ girl power playlist. It allows me to walk into an office both happy and calm. When it comes to snagging a job, confidence is king. You need to let the interviewer see you as a person they would want to have in their company. Take a deep breath, smile and walk with a purpose.
7. You won’t always get the job
As one of my favorite professors lectured, less than 25% of applicants will get a response post-application period. Of that percentage, 10-15 people will be brought in for the first round interviews, and 4-6 for the second round. The odds are, unfortunately, not in your favor. But sometimes it is a numbers game. It’s not that you aren’t qualified, it’s that the company received so many applicants and could not review all of the applications in depth. It’s important to keep your head up and know more opportunities will come. You are worth it!