Update Your Resume & Cover Letter
You might be thinking to yourself: isn’t my LinkedIn profile essentially a resume and cover letter rolled into one? Yes, it is. However, most big-time companies are still going to ask for a resume and cover letter today. It’s a traditional right of passage that we just don’t see disappearing anytime soon. Therefore, in order to be prompt, timely, and professional, you need to have a killer resume and cover letter on deck at all times.
How Do I Make a Great Resume?
Companies will not be impressed with a lackluster resume that you threw together in Word Doc. They are looking for organized templates that make everything easy to read and follow. Therefore, with just one Google search, you can find plenty of free templates that make your resume look amazing.
Once you select one that tickles your fancy, start to fill out the requirements. You need to ensure it is legible and easy for people to follow. Bonus points if you can keep it all to one page. Ensure that your messaging is consistent and focused throughout the resume. For example, do you use the present tense in the beginning, and the past tense at the end? Do some of your bullets end with periods, and others do not? Really take your time to arrive at a nearly perfect resume by the time it’s all said and done.
Have a few people in your life look over the resume, including professors, friends, and parents. What do they say? Did anyone catch any typos? Once you have passed all of these tests, your resume is ready for distribution.
How Do I Write the Perfect Cover Letter?
Much like the resume, you will want to find a cover letter template for this portion as well. Again, there are dozens of free options online that include a border design, contact information on the top, left-hand corner, and a place for your signature.
Now it’s time to dig into your writing skills. A great rule of thumb is keeping your letter short enough for someone to read in 10-seconds. Chances are, the person reading this letter is going to read 500 letters that day. They don’t have time to carefully comb through your letter. That’s why a strong opening paragraph of just 3-sentences, followed by powerful lead-in sentences and a to-the-point conclusion is so important.
Don’t start out with a boring letter that states, “I am very interested in this internship positon at your organization.” They already know that. Instead, catch their attention with something like, “Looking for a dynamic, creative, and innovative thinker willing to grow and expand with your operation? Look no further!” If that’s a little too self-promotional for you, try a softer approach. A quick Google search can provide you with a variety of clever opening sentences that will surely catch someone’s attention.
Next, keep your letter brief and focused. Hone in on 2 or 3 of your skills that you feel are important, unique, and valuable to that organization. For the example of an accounting firm, perhaps discuss your ability to multi task (this is required during Busy Season) and your attention to detail (you will have to spot tax return inaccuracies, etc.). If you start to talk about 50 different projects and 100 different skills, you are going to dilute your brand. Stand behind your emphasized skills and offer supporting evidence of these skills in subsequent paragraphs.
If possible, throw in some numbers to prove you point. Stats and data are always impressive! Lastly, wrap it up by thanking the reader for their time, and be sure to address the letter to the recipient at the top in an appropriate and professional manner.
Your cover letter is a chance to have some fun. Don’t summarize everything on the resume – they already know all of this. Instead, explore new topics or dive deep into your employment statistics that your resume cannot accurately communicate. By the end of the cover letter, you want the reader to feel like they know you personally.
How Frequently Should I Update?
It’s good practice to update your resume and cover letter at least weekly in the job-searching process. In many instances, you will need to write new cover letters and tweak your resume so that it perfectly matches the internship position that you want. This can seem like “busy work,” but it will be duly noted by the recipient. The more time and effort you put in now, the greater the reward down the line when you land the internship of your dreams.