Graduation season is approaching, and job hunting and internship hunting season has already begun. Summer is just around the corner. Some of you are considering about the big picture in life: building a career and life after college and all that. It’s probably why you’re reading this. Don’t worry, we’ll do our best to get you on the right track.
First off, applying for a job is so weird. We don’t get why there are trends in job applications. Using Tahoma is in. Colored line breaks are out. When did yearly trends matter when it comes to starting a career? For someone applying for a job or an internship for the first time, heeding this kind of advice can turn your application into a train wreck.
The truth is, there’s no perfect fit, no key formula, no secret when it comes to job or internship applications.
To be honest, we receive a lot of job applications that really make us scratch our heads in disbelief. But we’ve been there, and we’d like to help save you the embarrassment we felt the first few couple times we applied ourselves.
You’ll find many, many, guides out there teaching you what to put in your resume, and these guides are very lengthy and specific. This SCOUT-approved guide cuts the bull and sticks to the essentials in an easy Do’s and Don’ts format you can always check from time to time.
Before sending an application:
- DON’T apply just ’cause. DO research about the company you’re applying for. Maybe you’ll find another opening that might be a better fit for you.
- DO check and double-check the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
- DON’T stick to your old e-mail. It’s probably best that you start with a new e-mail that’s legible and easy to remember.
- DO compile your best and favorite works if you’re including a portfolio. Portfolio-making is a whole other thing entirely, but do prepare this as early as now.
The cover letter:
Here’s why you need a cover letter: the moment you graduate is also the moment tens of thousands of other people graduate. Think about it and type it down in the body of the e-mail so recruiters get you right away. What makes you so different from the competition?
That’s what you need to answer in your cover letter. Most people get cover letters wrong in that they regurgitate whatever is in their resume. Some people forget cover letters entirely and that’s no bueno. Here’s what you need to remember when it comes to cover letters:
- DO put it in the body of the e-mail. Don’t put it in as an attachment.
- DON’T leave the body of your e-mail blank with just your resume attached. Big no-no.
- DO keep it short and sweet. DON’T write an essay. Spare us your life story. Four to five paragraphs are fine.
- DO introduce yourself and what position you’re applying for in the company at the beginning.
- DO spell check the name of the company you’re applying for. Don’t want to ruin it as early as now, do we?
- DO write down in a paragraph or two why you’re a good fit for the company. Listing down specific company initiatives or events or products proves that you care enough about applying to do some research.
- DO thank them for considering your application at the end (because they’ve read the whole thing!)
The meat of each application is a narrative. Which side of you do you present? By narrative, we mean you should take into consideration what answers the question of which events, life experiences, and work skills do you present to your future employers. Since you can only fit so much in one page, you need to carefully pick each line that goes into your resume.
Resume experts say they only take a few seconds scanning the top third of each resume they read. If they don’t like what they see, they move on. Here are some tips:
- DON’T put in your 2×2 studio photo. Or any photo for that matter. Just don’t. Recruiters don’t need to know what you look like without inviting you over for an interview.
- DO keep it one page only. It’s neat that way.
- DO include pertinent information like your contact information, your gender, and your age.
- DON’T put competency charts and/or graphs.
- DON’T put in a gimmick. No fancy QR codes. No colorful layouts.
- DO keep it concise and easy to read.
- DO save your resume as a PDF.
- DO fact and grammar-check everything before hitting send.
After hitting send:
You just adulted! Congrats. Take it easy. Here are some more tips:
- DON’T panic.
- DO wait a week before following up.
- DO apply somewhere else. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
So just wait and see. Job and internship applications take time. And hey—if you do all these right, maybe we’ll see you work with us at Scout one day.
Illustrations by Aaron Silao