3 Tips on Applying For a Job or Internship

By   |  May 19, 2011

Finally found a posting for the job of your dreams? Got a tip on an internship at that really cool, up-and-coming company? Finding an opportunity is sometimes the toughest part of getting a job or internship, but once you’ve got that opening, don’t blow it! Following these three simple steps will maximize your chances of landing the job or internship that you have your heart set on.

Step 1: Craft a Great Cover Letter

Applying to either a job or an internship often requires writing a cover letter to accompany your resume. Unlike a resume (which you should update regularly and modify slightly to suit each position you apply to), it’s best to write a cover letter after you’ve chosen a specific position to apply to. This allows you to tailor it to meet the particular needs of each employer, which will increase the chances of you scoring an interview and put you one step closer to that job or internship.

Still, no matter how you specialize your cover letters, all of them should follow this formula:

Step 2: Get Solid Recommendations

Besides the cover letter and resume, your hopefully soon-to-be-boss might also ask for a letter of recommendation or two. These are obviously best written by people who have seen you in action, like former coworkers and teachers – not family! Asking someone for a letter of recommendation might seem like you’re imposing, but you can make their task easier by explaining that all you need in the letter is:

Step 3: Stay Organized

Keep track of the positions you’ve applied for. You don’t want to accidentally contact the same company twice to inquire about the same position — that’ll make you look disorganized and oblivious. Also, bundle together your emails and cover letters for easy access because if an employer does call back, having these materials organized and accessible can be helpful. Noting the dates of each contact is also useful in case you have to follow up with one of your attempts. Emails get lost in the clutter of people’s inboxes, so if you don’t receive a reply after a few working days, another inquiry might make sense. Just don’t over do it! Give people the benefit of the doubt and extra time to reply. Remember: No one likes a pest!

This was post was written by Jenn Pedde. She is currently the Community Manager for the University of Southern California’s Masters in Social Work program, and also enjoys traveling and photography.

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