Originally published on Her Campus.com (March 30, 2012)
It’s that time of the year and most companies have already started recruiting for summer internships and co-ops. Don’t fret! You can still find the perfect opportunity.
Bigger might not mean better
Lots of students hope to work for large companies, but there are plenty of smaller businesses that are hiring as well. Smaller businesses will often give you more responsibility than a bigger business, and you might end up loving it! Find your local business directory and look through it for businesses that sound interesting to you. Talk to friends and family for referrals as well.
Don’t be a bore!
Resumes and cover letters should be professional, but there are varying degrees. An application to a big bank will be much different from one to a marketing agency (in appearance and content). Find out about the company culture (talk to employees, browse the website, etc.) and use your own judgment to gauge whether it’s appropriate to add a pop of colour and veer off the traditional route. If you’re applying to a traditional corporate job, you can still stand out with your choice of words. Ditch the boring intro (i.e. “Please accept this application for ABC position at XYZ”) and try out something new (i.e. “When I first found this ABC opportunity, I was thrilled at the prospect of working with XYZ!”)
Show what you know
When you apply, make sure to subtly incorporate your knowledge of the company, culture, and industry into your cover letter. This can be as basic as ensuring that you relate the company’s Top Three values to your personal values). Be specific in showcasing your experience (e.g. if you’re great with spreadsheets, mention vLookups, etc.). This will help you get past any initial screening online. If you land an interview, make sure you know current news in the industry and ask intelligent questions that incorporate this. Not only does this show employers that you’re smart, you’re showing that you have an interest in the field.
Power in numbers
If you don’t apply, you can’t get the job! You’re more likely to land an interview if you apply to more jobs! So, make sure you apply. Make a spreadsheet of jobs you’ve found and their deadlines. Set a target of X jobs and apply to that many each week. If you need a carrot dangled in front of you, give yourself a little treat if you meet your target! Don’t sacrifice the quality of your applications for quantity. Each application should be tailored to the specific company and role you are applying for. It’s more work, but trust me, you’ll have better results!
About the author
Valerie Aguiar holds a B.B.A (Management Co-op) from the University of Toronto Scarborough. While in university, she was Co-President of the Co-op Students’ Association and provided resume and interview training for university students. She is passionate about career development, entrepreneurship, and social enterprise.