Posts tagged ‘fast pitch’

Make your internship application pop off the pile

Adding a QR code to your resume is a geek chic way to embed links --and if nothing else, it looks cool.

The most important part of a resume package will always be its content, no matter how many gold fasteners and wax seals you adorn it with. But once you’ve put time into crafting a technically solid pitch, here are a few tasteful presentational upgrades you can make to ensure a mailed application is especially memorable.

Print it on card stock paper.

If you want to splurge a bit to making your resume look fancy, it’s best to stay clean and professional. Printing on a slightly thicker matte material not only gives your application a nice weight, but it also improves legibility. Steer clear of glossy printing materials, as they tend to have the opposite effect. And please don’t decorate your resume. PLEASE.

Know typography – or pass your resume to someone who does.

You can have the strongest resume in the stack, but it’s guaranteed to get laughed at if you print it with a Comic Sans header. At minimum, your typefaces should be professional and easy-to-read; bonus points if they’re also stylish. But don’t use more than three fonts total on your resume unless you have a REALLY defensible reason.

Modernize it with a QR code.

What’s a QR code? It’s sort of like a cooler-looking bar code that certain smartphone apps can scan and translate into more information. QR codes are an eye-catching way to embed a portfolio link on an otherwise drab, monotone resume or business card. And even if prospective employers don’t know what to do with it, they’ll probably wonder if it means something. You always want to keep ‘em wondering.

Clip a business card around your resume and cover letter.

The reader has to put it somewhere, and hopefully, somewhere is in their wallet. Try to be consistent by using the same fonts on your resume as you do on your business card, particularly where your name is printed. Remember: Your resume is marketing you as an employee, and consistent branding is an important part of any marketing effort.

Use one high-impact, legible color.

Multiple colors can get tacky really quick, but one strong shade that breaks up an otherwise black-and-white document can make a resume much easier to read. We recommend using it for your section headers, as we’ve done on our resume builder. But under certain circumstances, it can also be effective in highlighting your name at the top of the resume.

Have other ideas that seem to work? I suppose we’ll entertain your wacky suggestions in the comments below.


February 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

Five reasons your summer internship search should already be rolling

When I was your age (anywhere from 18-50 months ago), I wasn’t particularly fond of worrying about summer internships until parents started asking. When you’re shuffling to morning classes in five layers, barely leaving a footprint in snowdrifts that have frozen solid, summer seems like a far-off prospect — like flying cars or AARP registration.

Let me assure you, it’s not.

Especially not this year, when we’ve seen an astonishing number of students already agonizing over their interview performances on Twitter. Summer internship search season hasn’t just begun: If it were Benjamin Button, it would almost be getting down with Gwyneth Paltrow by now.

Spring break is more fun when your summer internship is already locked up.

If you’re part of the camp that likes to “wait till spring break,” you might find your options to be pretty limited by then, especially if you’re looking for paid work. At the very least, you need to make sure you’re prepared to submit strong applications ASAP. Why? Because we made a list for you, and that should be enough.

  1. Paid internships go fast. On average, around one-third of our listed internships are considered “paid.” But that ratio can fluctuate, and it tends to decrease when demand is the highest. If you want your summer gig to include instant financial gratification, it helps a lot to be the early bird.
  2. You’ll have time to weigh other options. A lot more listings will appear here between now and June, some of which might interest you more than your current choices. But having multiple options decreases your chances of being stuck in an internship that doesn’t suit or develop your talents. You might even be able to work out slightly higher compensation if you’re in demand. But don’t get greedy: Companies will walk away from the table quicker on an intern hire than they would on a full-time hire.
  3. … And butter them up. Starting the hunt early gives you more time to make yourself familiar to your target employer. You can find out if any of your Facebook friends or family have contacts in the organization, and request informational interviews with employers who aren’t listing summer internships yet.
  4. Early applicants tend to get better roles. Think from the employer’s point of view. Their most clearly defined needs will be the ones that generate postings first. There’s sometimes a small “second wave” of hirings in the late spring/early summer, but those are more likely to be “filler” internships to plug unforeseen gaps in an employer’s daily workload. If you don’t have all of Starbucks’ roasts memorized and would like it to stay that way, make sure you apply early.
  5. Don’t you want to do something COOL over break? Let’s be honest. Nobody wants to spend spring break at home under a pile of applications, especially if yours happens right after midterms. If you get this under control early, you won’t spend your break worrying about everything that you have to get done, and the bulk of your summer internship search will be over before end-of-semester coursework ratchets up. And you can do all the fun stuff that college students love to do on break, like cramming 10 people into a four-person hotel room.

January 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

Answering your biggest questions

It’s been a little over six weeks since we launched our Answers forum, and in that time, we’ve received a healthy outpouring of questions from users like you. Today, I thought we’d focus on a few of the ones that get asked the most – and offer up some possible solutions.

How do I decide the right keyword to use in my search?

We list more U.S. internship postings than anyone, but occasionally it can be hard to find specific types of internships in a certain area – even if they really do exist. One problem is that different companies might use different terminology to describe essentially the same job.

To solve this, I suggest entering the term you originally tried to search into Wikipedia. If you can find an entry, click on it and scroll down until you see a list of related terms. Then, where applicable, try using those to search.

Remember: When in doubt, start broad.

Is open to foreign students studying on a visa?

Yes, we welcome foreign students to the site. Non-citizens can get internships in the United States, but a lot depends on the type of visa certification you have, whether the internship is directly related to your line of study and the willingness of the hiring company to work with immigration services.

In most cases, you’ll need a J-1 sponsored visa in order to intern in the U.S. Even if you have one, you should always ask if the employer can hire international students early in the application process. Some businesses will decide they can’t afford to deal with the hassle of filing compliance paperwork with the government, but others willing to hire you will appreciate your candidness. Send your questions directly to the human resource department – they’ll know the policy better than anyone else.

Can I attach a document to my resume?

Yes … you can actually attach several, if you want. I just wrote a new article explaining this process in Student Resources. Scroll down to the bottom to see how it’s done.

What kind of internship should a ______ major search for?

These are probably better questions for a college counselor, professor or TA. But you can also use the same trick I outlined in the first question by searching your major on Wikipedia and finding its related terms.

Are there any internships on this site for high school students?

Though we don’t specifically keep track of whether or not an internship is open to high school students, we’ve heard that some of our posted internships are available to young-but-qualified applicants. Obviously, anything that says “college credit required” won’t fall into this category.

Our resume-building tool in ‘My Profile’ does allow you to indicate that you’re currently enrolled in high school. Without a college listed, you won’t be able to reach a 100% complete score. But if you list activities, achievements and other details (and take the Internship Predictor), you can still fill in enough items to rate very strongly in employer searches.

Have something else on your mind? Head over to Answers and post it to the crowd. Oh, and please answer a few if you get the chance … we want you to help each other!

January 24, 2011 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

Five unusual ways to stay focused online

The Internet is a great tool for collecting information, but it can be an awful place to try to get work done. If you’ve ever ran out of time on an online exam because the cute girl in your Humanities class was Facebook chatting you a stream of emoticons, you’re probably already nodding your head. (Unless you’ve already ditched this post for Hulu.)

There’s mounting evidence to suggest that getting distracted on a computer isn’t just a matter of poor self-control. Last summer, New York Times and Atlantic columnist Nicholas Carr argued in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains that the Internet has fundamentally rewired our brains for multitasking at the expense of our ability to focus. Carr cited some research that actually shows the difference in the way neural pathways are built when we are confronted with a storm of quick-hitting information bites on the Internet versus the linear progression of ideas we get from reading books. Mainly, his point is that even though we see much more information than our ancestors, we’re whittling away our patience to fully comprehend it.

The problem is, even if it weren’t for all the distracting links and the pop-up ads, there’s just so much FUN stuff to do online. Games, movies, TV shows, this YouTube video – are all accessible in a few clicks, and they never seem like big time commitments when you start them. But an hour and a half later …

Now, neither Carr (nor is suggesting that you cast off your modern technology and stop using the Internet. It’s critical to modern business, and we’d be out of work if you did. But if you want to clear your mind and become a more efficient worker or internship hunter, consider these oft-overlooked tips to limit Internet Overload.

1.)    Don’t surf the Web (or anything else, for that matter) in the bathroom. Aside from the awkward confrontations it might produce, which we previously documented in The Coffee Run, it’s one of the easiest time slots to cut.

2.)    Cook your own dinner, and make it fairly simple. Don’t see the connection? Think about it: the wait times involved in cooking force you to keep your mind focused on one task for a certain period of time. At the end of a long day of work, it’s a good way to rest your mind. And it’s probably healthier from a nutritional standpoint, too.

3.)    Turn off web browsing on your mobile device when you’re near your home computer. You’ll probably be less distracted with just one way to access the Internet. And you’ll have to peel your lazy butt off the couch to get there.

4.)    Set a real alarm clock instead of the clock on your cell phone or computer. If you manually set the alarm on these devices every night, you’ll probably fall into the habit of flipping through them for a while before you go to bed. Of course this creates distractions of its own, but researchers have suggested that bright displays also trick your body clock into thinking it’s earlier in the evening, making it more difficult to sleep. And that makes it hard to concentrate tomorrow.

5.)    Check out this blog post from the99percent that lists a number of computer programs designed to help block out the noise and zero in on the task at hand.

What strategies do YOU use to avoid Web distractions? Let us know in the comments field.

January 18, 2011 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

Survey says…

Our student survey results are in, and there are some surprising results about who’s searching for internships online and how they’re getting noticed. Check out our CliffNotes version of the results below.

Who are our students?

Nearly a quarter (23%) of our registered students have already graduated college.  16% are 2010 graduates, and 7% graduated in 2009 or earlier.

– Most students are seniors in college (26%), followed closely by juniors (25%).

– We assume 9% are current freshmen, listing a graduation year of 2014.

– Only about 1% percent of students who listed their graduation year are still in high school.

With a continued high unemployment rate among young people (between 16% and 24%!), recent grads are looking for internships as a way to launch their careers. That’s smart, because a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers study found that 67% of employers look to hire their interns full-time after an internship is over. Nope, that’s not a typo. Read more in Monday’s blog post, What Employers Want.

Your three favorite features

Profile– The majority of students loved our profile tool because it’s flexible, and makes it easy to put together a professional resume, and put it in a place employers will see it. We’ve also just made it simpler to import an existing resume, so you don’t have to spend lots of time reformatting.

Search and filter – We offer lots of resources for landing internships, but we think the most important one will always be our awesome search tool, which cuts through more 40,000 internship opportunities so you can find what you’re looking for.

Text, Facebook and e-mail notifications – Lots of students liked our ability to send an instant alert to a mobile device when an employer message hits your inbox so you never miss an important email.

Resume, please

Juniors and seniors contributed more than half of our total “strong”-rated resumes. That means students get more serious about the quality of their applications in the last two years of college. TIP: Underclassmen can bolster their resumes by taking the Internship Predictor and making sure not to leave any text boxes blank in their existing entries.

– Though they applied more often, 2010 grads were actually less likely than college juniors and seniors to have “strong” resumes. TIP: Make sure your resume is as complete as it can be before you panic about not getting

– 59% of all employer messages went to students with resumes rated only “average” in our system.  TIP: Because our “strength” indicator can only judge resumes by the number of fields you’ve filled in, a carefully-worded, succinct resume with a few blank spots might be better than a complete resume that rambles on and on.

– Just 7% of all employer messages went to “weak” resumes. TIP: If you don’t give a company much information about yourself, they’re not likely to ask you for more.

Did you know?

Nearly 56% of active students said they planned to be looking for summer 2011 internships by New Years Day. (Although maybe not on New Years Day itself. That day is normally reserved for purple VitaminWater, taquitos and Top Chef reruns.) The point is, if you’re part of the crowd that waits until spring break season, you might miss out on the best summer internships.

January 10, 2011 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

What employers want

This fall, we asked our registered employers to tell us how they hire on our site. Want the inside scoop?  Read on!

Do alma maters matter?

Employers told us relevant experience and interview performance were the biggest factors in choosing an intern – and less than 9% of employers said the college an intern attended mattered. Having relevant internships is the best way to move up the ladder to more exciting internship opportunities – and, ultimately, to a much better full-time job.

Paid vs. Unpaid?

About 38% of employers say their internships are generally paid. Though employers have cut back on paid intern positions during the recession, there are still plenty out there. However, paid internships are, as a rule, more competitive. If you need one, make sure your resume and application materials are solid and ready to be sent out (or found…see next paragraph) ASAP.

They’re looking for you.

Almost half of employers said they’ve searched for interns on instead of waiting for candidates to apply. That means there’s a good chance that your next internship could find you – but it raises the importance of keeping your profile complete and professional.

Bikini or beer pictures?

More often than not (54%), employers say they check an internship candidate’s social Web presence (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn) during the hiring process. Even if they’re a tad impressed that you can continually drink liquid upside down for 38 seconds, chances are good it won’t do great things for your career.

Almost 42% of employers on say their internship program is new. In other words, we don’t recycle the same listings you saw last year. On our site, you’ll find a variety of opportunities you might never have heard of, many of which are freshly posted, frequently updated and exclusive to You get quality and quantity. And who says you can’t have it all?

January 3, 2011 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Defrosting the summer internship search

Don’t let the weather fool you. It might feel like it’s 30 below zero outside, but for those in charge of hiring summer interns, winter is practically over.

The long break is going to be a crucial time to get your ducks in a row and start scoping the internships you want to land over the summer. Here’s a brief checklist of what you’ll want to accomplish before you swipe back into the dorms.

1. Update your resume(s). The plural is pretty important. Not all internships you apply to will have the same roles and requirements, so your resume is going to have to flexible to give you a stronger chance of landing the position. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress later by creating about three versions of your resume right now, each tailored to highlight different aspects of your experience, skills and education. They don’t have to be complete rewrites, but you’ll want to at least have original mission statements for each and make sure the job duties and skills most relevant to each possible internship type are listed prominently.

2. Spiff up your business wardrobe. After-holiday sales are a great chance to upgrade your work closet on the cheap and keep prepared in the event of an early interview – especially if you recently collected some department store gift cards. Check out some of the major retailers’ websites or hit the mall after the holiday mayhem passes.

3. Contact the employers at the top of your list. Don’t wait until your dream internship appears on a job board. By then, it’s open to many times the competition. Send e-mails to the HR staff of organizations you want to target, stating your goals for the summer and asking to be notified if any relevant positions crop up. Of course, you can’t rely on human resources to warn you early, but expressing your interest ahead of the pack should make your dedication stand out. It may even lead to an informational interview, which gives you a strong opportunity to boost your standing.

4. Look into other cities or university-affiliated internship programs. If you want a change of scenery next summer, you’ll need to be actively planning for it right now. That’s especially true if you’d like to intern abroad, because passports, housing and travel arrangements need to be secured months in advance. But even if you’re thinking of interning in an American city like New York or Washington, D.C., it’s important to begin researching transportation options, cost-of-living and apartments (if your college doesn’t arrange them).

5. Build a portfolio website (if applicable). This doesn’t apply to everyone, but for those pursuing fields in which work samples are easily communicated online, a clean and effective website can do wonders for your summer internship bid. If you want a web design job, it’s probably best to code your own from scratch. Otherwise, there are a number of affordable hosting options on the net that include effective, customizable portfolio templates. Check out Carbonmade and Dripbook for visual portfolios, or this (oldie-but-a-goodie) blog post with tons of other options, including themes compatible with WordPress.

December 27, 2010 at 9:16 am 2 comments

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"Eye of the Intern" is a blog written by a variety of interns, students, employers, and Team Members.

Whether you already have an internship, are looking for one, or just need something to read while having lunch - this blog covers it all.

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