It is currently about 4 and a half months till summer and I have no clue as to what I’m doing for the summer yet. The goal is an internship, but that isn’t going to happen if I continue spending my weekends watching an entire season of a show (Although if this is how you want to spend your weekend then I highly recommend Silicon Valley). My goal is to start apply for internships this coming weekend, and in order to do that I’m going to need a kick-butt resume.
Since I already have a resume, which I am assuming most of you already do too because you are smart career women who having been hustling since day 1, I needed some tips on how to take it from drab to fab in the limited time I have. Applying to internships is a lengthy process and I really don’t have the time to spend several hours updating my resume to then spend more time writing cover letters and filling in applications. I started off by reading some of the million of articles out there on tips and ideas to make your resume great. After reading a bunch I decided I was going to dedicate one hour of intense focus on my resume using the tips I thought were best to get it into the best version it could be, which is exactly what I did. So now I’m sharing the steps I went through in that hour with you guys to hopefully help you all land your dream internship. So take a look at your calendar right now and block away 1 hour of your day in the near future to focus on your resume. As you go through the steps, the number of minutes in parentheses are about how much time it should take, so if you’re going several minutes over that’s probably a heads up that you’re spending too much time that isn’t needed on that one step.
Step 1 (4 minutes)
Find a listing for an internship you would love to get in the industry/field you want. You can use my post about my 4 favorite websites to find internships on to quickly find one. Make sure it has a lot of information in the listing about the type of candidate they are looking for. Ideally each resume you submit should be adjusted to fit each listing, but since we are college students and may not have the time to do that we are going to assume that all of the internships we apply to are similar and are looking for similar candidates(since they probably are because you most likely aren’t going to apply to marketing and engineering internships), and therefore using one listing to create this resume will be good for the time being.
Step 2 (6 minutes)
Read through that listing you found thoroughly and either highlight or write on a separate piece of paper, key things that the company is looking for in their ideal candidate. For example, if they say that one of the duties of the job will be aiding in social media marketing, then you should write down knowledge of social media websites.
Step 3 (5 minutes)
Quickly add anything new (such as jobs accomplishments, organizations, etc.) since you last updated your resume. Don’t worry too much about the wording of bullet points or the exact formatting because we’ll fix that all later. Right now we just want to maker sure it’s all on the page to work with.
Step 4 (2 minutes)
Choose a font and either decide if you are going to stick to your current layout or find a new one (If you are going to find a new one, this is obviously going to go out of the one hour time, but I recommend searching on Etsy because there’s a lot of nice, inexpensive ones on there). As for font, you want it to be unique but still a classy and readable font. My favorites are Garamond, Cambria, Helvetica, or Georgia. You can use Times Roman if you want, but it’s what most people use and if we want to stand out we can’t be like most people. Since a resume should be one page, we want to do this early on that way we aren’t at the end changing our font to realize the one we like makes our resume one and a half pages.
Step 5 (22 minutes)
This is probably the most important step. For this one, you want to make sure that each of your bullet points under each job is specific, different, and relevant to the type of internship you want. To do this, you first want to take that list of key traits the position you are interested in is looking for and see when you have used those traits in a job you have had. So using the knowledge social media websites as an example, maybe at your last internship you were in charge of updating the Facebook and Twitter profiles of the company so you want to make sure to include a point about that to show that you have what they are looking for.
Next you should compare all of the bullet points you have on your resume and replace any that are at all similar to another point. You only have one page to tell the recruiter how great you are, so you want each point to tell them something new about you. Here’s an example that was on my own resume, where I replaced the second point to one where I only talked about developing suggestions.
- Researched companies and industries to create radio advertising proposals for potential clients that matched their long-term and short-term goals for advertising
- Completed research on film festival marketing and developed suggestions for promotions
Once you have all different points, you should then make each one as specific as possible. The more general you are, the harder it will be for the person reading your resume to picture what you would be like as an employee. When you are specific they can get a clear idea of what you have done, and as a result they also have a clear idea of what you can do for them. Also, if you can include numbers about things then definitely include them because numbers are concrete evidence about what you did. Basically for this you want to show them what you have done instead of just telling them. So for example, instead of saying increased sales in department you could say increased sales by 20% in my department by utilizing company’s customer relationship program to increase repeat sales.
Step 6 (5 minutes)
Make sure that every single one of your bullet points starts with a power verb. These are verbs like negotiated, examined, or cultivated. My Domaine has an amazing list of 200 power verbs so I recommend using the list and finding using one verb on the list for each of your points.
Step 7 (5 minutes)
Make sure you resume is one page and that the formatting is all good. Some of the formatting issues you should check for here is if the font and sizing is the same throughout, that bolding & italics are consistently used, proper use of bullets, and that there isn’t any weird spacings or anything.
Step 8 (10 minutes)
Proof read your resume by reading it out loud to yourself. Make sure you have commas where they are necessary, everything is spelled correctly, and you aren’t using any abbreviations. You aren’t just looking for spelling mistakes and grammar here though. You should also be checking to make sure that everything flows nicely and that your word choice sounds good. At the end of this you should take a minute to ask someone you know to look it over quickly to make sure you didn’t miss anything and to give you their feedback.
Step 9 (1 minute)
The last step is a super easy one. You want to first save it as a word document so you can go back and make changes easily the next time you are applying to internships or for a job. Then you want to save it as a pdf because if you are emailing or submitting your resume it should always be done in pdf. No one wants to open a resume in a word document. Also, you should name your file something like FirstName_LastName_Resume that way it is easily identifiable as yours and the recruiter can easily find it when searching in their documents.