Posted tagged ‘resume’

What’s new on the site: Upload your resume!

September 21, 2010

With one click, you can now upload an existing resume and attach it to your internship applications. This new feature also allows you to integrate content from a resume you currently have into the resume form. How cool is that?


Q. How can I best update my resume to showcase my new internship accomplishments?

July 16, 2010

A. You want to highlight your new achievements in your resume, emphasizing your duties and the resulting benefits from your efforts. The reader should understand how you added value to the company. Yet you also want to keep your resume to one page in most cases. Here are a few tips on how to update and improve your resume:

  1. Start your Experience or Career Progression section off with the new entry regarding your recent internship. List the company first, the department in which you worked, and your general assignment. Then, make a list of your accomplishments, such as “Created survey and distributed it to 500 customers, generating new data that resulted in improved service.” Design as many bullets as necessary, starting with an action verb and ending with a result.
  2. Feel free to shorten the older entries to gain more space for the new internship accomplishments. You can either tighten up each line or eliminate old items, especially ones that are not relevant to your current career goals. You may also want to remove other non-relevant items, such as listing reading, golfing, etc. as hobbies.
  3. Make a list of the new skills that you’ve learned at your internship, including IT or computer skills or new software expertise, and add them to your Additional Information or Skills section of your resume. If your internship required extensive travel or if you attended any conferences, list them in your resume, too.
  4. Rewrite your Summary of Qualifications at the top of your resume to highlight your new skills. You may have to cut out some of the older information about yourself, but you may be able to add new soft skills, such as “verbal and written communication skills with ability to collaborate with team to reach goals” or “decisive, direct, and results driven to succeed.” Your revised resume will reflect more about your work ethic as well as your new accomplishments.  

For more information on writing and updating your resumes, check out the Intern Tool Kit on

Q. How do I document my internship experience so I can show my value to future managers and employers?

June 21, 2010

A. It’s a smart idea to have documentation of each internship to support your resume and improve your portfolio. Though you might develop a list of references from your internships, that list could be compromised as people change jobs and contact information. Having your documentation in hand when you leave your internship ensures that you have ready proof of performance. Here’s how to get that documentation:

  1. Final evaluation form: Ask your intern supervisor to fill out your final evaluation form, which is usually provided by your school. Some schools request weekly performance reports that can also document your experience.
  2. Letter of recommendation: Ask your intern supervisor for a letter of recommendation on company letterhead. This is a normal request and your supervisor probably has experience writing recommendations. Be sure to write a thank you note to your supervisor—leaving him/her with a good impression.
  3. Recommendations from colleagues: Consider asking other company employees with whom you’ve worked closely to write a recommendation for you. If you’ve been part of a team, ask the team leader to write a recommendation for you. Or, if you’ve worked in different departments, ask the various department heads to write recommendations for you.
  4. Internship journal: Keep copies of your own weekly reports on duties performed, so you can document your own assignments. Collect brochures or annual reports about the company to accompany your reports, especially if it is a small organization that future internship managers or employers won’t recognize. Such attention to detail is certain to help you get future offers.

Q. I have very little work experience, so what can I put on my resume?

April 15, 2010

A. Many college students lack work experience other than retail, fast food or cutting lawns. But don’t worry, you have accomplishments in other areas that will impress resume readers. You may be a volunteer for community activities, which is a good reflection on your character. Or, you may be skilled in computer programs or have developed expertise in a sport or an art. These activities do not have to be current. You may want to add the dates for accuracy. Use the following list of examples to generate new additions for your own resume:

  1. Tutoring/Coaching: Tutored disadvantaged children in an inner-city program. Coached softball at the YMCA. Taught swimming at local pool.
  2. Fundraising: Helped raise money for Cancer Care Clinic. Organized a toy drive for Toys for Tots. Lead a drive to raise money for Haiti after earthquake.
  3. Music: Played first violin in high school band. Wrote original music and produced own CD. Organized band and played gigs. Performed as a DJ.
  4. Volunteering: Worked at local hospital delivering flowers to patients. Helped Habitat for Humanity build a home for local family. Went to New Orleans to help clean up after Katrina.
  5. Sports: Ran 10K marathon. Hiked the Appalachian Trail. Won tennis championship. Played on local basketball team.
  6. Entrepreneur: Started lawn service business to help pay for college. Launched babysitting service, matching sitters and families. Set up new website for a small business.
  7. Travel: Backpacked through Scotland and Ireland. Worked in Japan at a monastery for one summer. Biked all around Thailand.
    Computer Skills: Proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.
  8. Awards: Took first place in a chess tournament. Earned Eagle Scout badge. Had poem published in literary magazine.

Q. How can I improve my chances of getting a response when I send my resume to a company?

April 12, 2010

A.  How frustrating to send your resume for an internship and never receive any response—not even an acknowledgement that it was received? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. Too many Human Resources (HR) departments have been downsized recently, and the remaining employees are burdened with more work than they can manage. They often receive hundreds of resumes for one internship position, which means the numbers are too overwhelming to send rejection notices. Here’s how to stimulate a response:

  1. Send your resume to the head of the department that is looking for an intern, as well as to the HR person. It’s always easier for a resume to travel down the employment chain rather than up. If you’ve read about some company executive who has received an honor or achieved a specific success, you could send your resume and a cover letter noting that person’s accomplishment and your desire to have an internship in such a fine organization.
  2. Write a cover letter with your resume, stating that you will be calling that person to find out the next step in the internship process rather than waiting for a phone call. Being proactive shows respect for a busy person and demonstrates your enthusiasm for the internship. Then proceed to make your call a few days after you send your resume.
  3. Ensure that your resume contains key words that relate to the internship description. If the prospective company scans resumes for key words, you want to be sure that your resume has them all. Study the wording in the requirements and internship description listed in the posting and use as many of them as possible in your resume and cover letter.
  4. Follow-up. Make a phone call or send an email to the HR department and the department head, asking if your resume was received. Always restate your interest in the internship. You may want to ask a professor or career center to follow-up for you, too.
  5. Apply for multiple internships rather than only one, giving yourself options in case the internship you really want doesn’t materialize. If a company doesn’t bother to respond at all, it may not be the best environment for you to do an internship.

P.S.  If you’ve had success getting a response regarding your resume, please share your secrets. Thanks!

Avoiding resume red flags

March 17, 2010

Companies today are accessing resumes at record volumes, so the task of screening resumes is not easy. In this environment hiring managers look to find the good resumes, fast, while maintaining high standards. Effectively spotting red flags on a resume is an integral part of this process. Knowing this, it’s essential that your resume be top-notch and error-free.

Below are some of the most commonly cited resume red flags:

 1.       Content Errors
Errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar are often considered proof of poor written communication skills, or a lack of attention to detail. Even if the position does not directly require strength in these areas, questions are raised about your overall standards. Hiring managers assume you put your best foot forward when sending your resume. Most hiring managers say just one or two typos would red flag a resume. Read your own completed resume a few times, and also have a friend look it over. Fresh eyes might find any lingering errors.

 2.       False Information or Qualifications
Don’t provide false or exaggerated titles, or claim you worked at a place longer than you did. If you think that a hiring manager won’t try to confirm your qualifications, think again. If you are caught in even a minor exaggeration, you might, at the very least, put yourself out of the running for that particular internship, but worse, your reputation is at stake.  

 3.       Missing Information or Gaps
Are you hiding something? When reviewing your résumé, imagine that it belongs to someone else. After reading through it, would you have questions about the information provided or be concerned by a lack of details? If you have questions, an employer will too. Employment gaps are not uncommon. Just providing an explanation will eliminate the mystery, and also gives you an opportunity to discuss other activities you pursued during that time, i.e. volunteering or course work, that might pertain to the internship and your ultimate career goals.

 4.       You don’t explain why you’re a fit for the Internship
The best internship resumes use particular key words that can help hiring managers clearly understand the information provided. Review the internship description and requirements provided by the company and write your resume with this information in mind. Highlight your experience, projects or coursework that match the company’s needs. This will allow the hiring manager to see exactly how your education and experience are a perfect fit for the internship they offer.  

5.       You include too much information
It’s hard to be selective when writing your resume, after all, this is a document meant to highlight your successes and experiences, but too much information can be as tragic as striking gaps. Hiring managers will appreciate your restraint, so keep it brief and pertinent, make good decisions about the information you include, and explain/list that information in a manner that provides the details without running on. Focus on what is relevant to the particular internship you are currently applying for.

To assure yourself the best chance of making the cut, keep your resume accurate, clean and targeted to the internship you seek. (Ready to get started? Create an attractively formatted  resume with this quick tool.)