Getting Your Application Noticed
Finding internships have gotten more and more competitive and it's hard to stand out or even get your resume to recruiters when computers are scanning for keywords. Here are some tips that will help your application stand out and not just be another doc floating on the world wide web.
This is something you can do no matter how old you are. Start building connections with recruiters and employees by going to career fairs, connecting on LinkedIn, or having coffee chats. Starting early allows you to expand your network and will definitely give you a leg up if a recruiter already knows who you are or if an employee can give you a referral. Quick note, make sure these interactions are genuine, thoughtful, and engaging because it's really obvious when you're connecting with someone just so they know your name. Through these networking sessions, you'll also be able to get a better understanding of the company and if it would be a good fit for you! Recruiting is a two way street, so it's important to evaluate if you can picture yourself working there.
LinkedIn is such a great tool and has truly made the world feel like a smaller place. Having a strong LinkedIn account and being active on it can make a huge difference. Connect with recruiters and message them your elevator pitch, so they look at your profile. If your profile is strong enough, they might find your application in their system or directly message you. To make your LinkedIn stand out from the rest, include images, links to projects, and/or relevant articles (i.e. if you're at a startup and there's a large press release). To drive more viewing activity to your profile, be active! This includes both commenting and creating your own content. When you make a post and others engage in it, your profile goes beyond your own network and will generate more impressions. Remember, these posts need to be engaging, relevant, and show your personality. This is something I'm still personally working on since I notice a spike in profile impressions when I post and engage with others. Kate Jung is an amazing example of a content creator and someone who engages with her network, so go check her out!
For me, this has been the most effective way to get recruiters to respond to my application. After applying online, I would try to find a recruiters email through LinkedIn, going to career fairs, or reaching out to my network. Sometimes, I would even find a name on LinkedIn and guess their email if I know the structure of a company's email account (i.e. FirstName.LastName@CompanyName.com). I usually email them my elevator pitch about why I'm passionate about the role/company and how I would be able to bring value to their team. I would then attach my resume and link both my LinkedIn and Portfolio, so they can easily access my work. Odds are, if someone opens my email, they're going to skim through my application since it's right in front of them.
Career fairs can be overwhelming and it's easy to get lost in the mix. To stand out, do your research. Have your elevator pitch ready and show that you're excited about the role and ask thoughtful questions to show interest. Recruiters tend to star resumes on the spot if you're a good candidate and might even interview you right away, so first impressions are everything! Recruiters usually have business cards on them, but won't hand them out, so be sure to ask them for one and follow up afterwards. Aside from your resume, pitch, etc., dress the part. It's important to look professional, but also don't be afraid to let your personality show through. Everyone wears a black blazer, don't be afraid to wear something brighter if that's who you are!
If you're interested in doing anything in design/research, portfolios are required, but I think this should extend to all majors. Students do several complex projects throughout their college career and they should document their process, findings, and learnings. This shows employers that you can take what you learned from class and create a thoughtful deliverable, which is what they will expect in a work setting. Portfolios and blogs are also a medium for you to show your personality and/or be a thought leader in an industry. This is a great talking point during interviews, helps recruiters understand your interests outside of school, and gives them a sense of how you would fit into their company. If you're super passionate about a specific topic, being a thought leader and reacting to current events will help you connect with other thought leaders in the areas This will help you expand your network and can draw a lot of attention to your site, making you a stand-out candidate!
Hopefully these tips will help you throughout the rest of your recruitment cycle and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. Also, if you have any other tips on how to get your application noticed by recruiters, leave them in the comments!