Before applying for an internship, it’s important to have an application that will make a hiring manager take note of it. Below are some guidelines for things that you should take care of to maximize the chance of recruiters being interested in you.
It continually astonishes me how little time students spend crafting and revising their resumes. Your resume is what represents you to a recruiter and 100% controls how you’ll be perceived. A recruiter or hiring manager will take a five-to-ten-second glance at your resume and make a snap decision whether to put your resume in the garbage or the “first round of interviews” pile.
If you’re in college, career services can help you put together an effective resume, especially if you don’t have much experience to write about. However, often career services aren’t used to how things work in the tech industry, which is why it’s always a good idea to ask someone in the tech industry to look over your resume to make sure it portrays you in a good light, doesn’t contain any accidental red flags, and includs everything that it should.
Before submitting your resume to positions, pretend you’re a recruiter and take a look at your resume. Think: If I was a manager looking to hire someone, would I want to hire this person? What would convince me that this person was worth hiring?
- Side projects should be prominently featured on your resume, and are especially crucial if you don’t have experience. They are a great way to convince employers that you can write code and use tools and frameworks. Your side projects should be hosted on GitHub, and your GitHub profile should be on your resume.
- A great way to start is to repurpose projects you’ve done for school; just be sure that it’s not obvious that the project was a school project. If you don’t have school projects or want to work on other projects, the world is your oyster! Create a website, game, browser extension, or whatever else your heart desires. Besides for resume value, hacking is a great way to learn about the great tech ecosystem and how to use tools and languages in a practical way.
If your resume passes muster, chances are a recruiter or hiring manager will Google you. It’s important make sure they’ll be impressed with what they find.
First, a challenge: Google your name. Do it right now. If there are many people with your name, try your name + location or your name + university. What did you find?
- Social Media
Is your Facebook or Twitter on the first page of Google? Does it contain overtly political or religious messaging, or pictures of you drinking or smoking marijuana or acting generally unprofessional? If so, you don’t want hiring managers to see it. You have many different options to make sure recruiters don’t see it. For example, you can:
- Clean up the offending posts, Tweets, and messages
- Rename your profile so that’s it’s not easily found from Googling your name (for example, Tom Jenkins’s profile name can become T. Jenkins)
- Set your privacy settings to private, so that only people who are connected to you can see what you post
- LinkedIn Profile
On the other hand, something that you do want to show up is your LinkedIn profile. You should have one. One plus of connecting to everyone you know on LinkedIn is that allows you to see who you know that work at companies you’d like to apply to. There are many other benefits, including the many jobs that are posted to LinkedIn’s job board that LinkedIn will recommend you.
If you’re technologically saavy enough to have a website, it’s a great way to be able to showcase your skills or just represent your online presence. You can even create a simple website with your contact information on it, and there are free templates online for small portfolio sites. Websites are great because they double as a way to show a future employer that you know how to use technology well enough to make one.
A great tip to know is that Heroku has a free hosting plan, so you can host your site on it for free from just a GitHub repo.
It’s not for everyone, but a blog looks extremely impressive. They aren’t crucial, but are fantastic if you have one. The drawback is that you need to have something to actually write.
- Relevant geographic area. Do some thinking into which regions you’re willing to work in, and whether you’re willing to leave the area you operate in. Do you only want to work in your college town? Do you have dual citizenship or visas in any other countries? Will you constrain your internship search to specific areas?
If you can check all these boxes, you’re ready to start sending out your application!