Hey potential interns — I’m judging you.
From the minute I look at a résumé, through the phone and in-person interviews, I am constantly judging our intern candidates. It’s not the Mean Girls, look-you-up-and-down type of judging. I’m judging the way you present yourself, how well you are able to communicate with me and how confident you are in yourself and your skills. And trust me, I’ve seen it all.
I’ve put together a few of the biggest missteps that intern hopefuls make:
Misspell the company’s name: As far as I’m concerned, this is a deal breaker. It shows an extreme lack of attention to detail, and makes me wary of the quality of this candidate’s work. We all fall victim to the dreaded typo, but for a job applicant, this is an unacceptable error. For the record, we are Eckel & VaughAn.
Hand me a three-page résumé: Most of our intern candidates are college students. There is no way that a 20-year-old has more than a page worth of relevant coursework and experience. Plus, I spend hours a day on Twitter, so brevity is key. A résumé should convince me that you’re interested in marketing, are well rounded and are a hard worker. Tell me about your major and minor, leadership positions you’ve held and relevant jobs that you’ve had. Give me details of the work you’ve done, but do it briefly.
I don’t need to read about your work at the pet store or the local coffee shop unless you plan to bring puppies and lattes to work every day. In that case, you’re hired.
Bore me: When speaking with interns, I’m looking for the sweet spot between professionalism and personality. Most intern candidates have similar qualifications, meaning that I need to look past GPAs and summer jobs. I’m not just looking for a good fit for the internship; I’m looking for a good fit for our company. So show me your personality. I want to know how you’ll jibe with our team, and I want to see the humor you’ll bring to the office. Bumps on a log need not apply.
Don’t ask questions: We’re looking for curious learners, interns who are eager to get involved in our work and excited to learn more. So as much as I’m interviewing you, I want you to interview me. Do research on our website or social media properties and let them inform your questions. I once had a candidate reference one of my blogs in our conversation. I practically hired her on the spot. Saying “I think you’ve answered all my questions” leads me to believe that you don’t have an inquiring mind, and that’s a red flag for me.
When it comes down to it, you are pitching yourself to us. And we’re a marketing agency, so delivering pitches is pretty much our bread and butter. I’m looking for more than an impressive résumé. Prove to me that you belong, that you’ll bring something more to the table than the other candidates. Show us that you’re eager not just to learn, but that you’re eager to learn at Eckel & Vaughan.
Interested in an internship with us? Send your (1-page) résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started.