Dante Hamilton is the founder of Internet Webpages Newspaper, Inc, a print, online and event company located in downtown Chicago, IL USA. Dante has been using Internships.com to recruit his interns, and has some tips for students on how to stand out.
By Dante Hamilton
As an active employer on Internships.com I’ve personally reviewed 200 replies from prospective interns. I will share how to impress an employer like me with one simple tactic: basic personalization.
Customize the Name of Each Resume Attachment
Do not name your attachment “Resume.doc” or “My Portfolio.pdf” because once I download it there is no way to tell who that document belongs to. I have dozens of “Resume.doc” files on my hard drive. What do I do with them? I empty them in the trash and delete forever. Do not suffer this fate.
TIP: Open your generic Resume or Portfolio document and save it with a new name. Start with your name, the company name or initials and add an abbreviated position title.
To illustrate what I mean, take a look at the three below files below:
- Resume 2012.doc
- My Portfolio.pdf
- Gitma Attenshun Resume – IWN Acct Exec.pdf
Which do you think I will remember to open after I download it from Internships.com? Easy choice: Gitma Attenshun stands out. I know they prepared the resume for my company, IWN. I also know they are applying for the Account Executive position. Even before I open this resume I’m already interested and ready to email or speak to them on the phone. Why? They appear to know exactly what they want.
Gitma Attenshun made it effortless for me to respond. What happens to Resume 2012.doc and My Portfolio.pdf? They’re recycled.
Include the Company Name and Open Position in the Introducti0n
Next, let’s tackle your cover letter (known as the Personal Message on Internships.com). Most respondents use the same impersonal cover letter with each new application. Some don’t even do this much, they simply leave it blank, not even bothering to tell you if they are seeking a summer or year round internship position, or if they are planning to relocate.
I discourage using “To Whom It May Concern” in your opening sentence. I received a reply like this earlier today using those exact words, and it wasn’t the first time.
You’re applying to a company and you may not know the person’s name who will read your reply. Therefore, simply say “Dear [Insert Company Name]” as your opening salvo. When I see “Dear Internet Webpages Newspaper” (the name of my company), right there you got me just by stating the name of my company. Now I’m listening. Tell me more.
Don’t Strike Out – Hit a Home Run
You’re at bat. You can strike out or hit it out the ball park. Here’s how to do the latter.
Tell me who you are, what you’re looking for and what’s in it for me. Keep it simple. Give me a little mystery, not everything all at once.
It only takes one sentence to strike out. Here’s a great example: “I am very interested in the internship your company has listed.” Okay. Which one? I’ve got two listed. This person struck out. Don’t be like them.
Good luck in your search! Take the advice above and apply to Dante’s paid internship in Event Sponsorship, Print Advertising and Online Media.