Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Package, present and pitch your best self

These days your resume is just one of the many documents to prepare as part of the internship search process. As you fine tune your resume add a few others materials to the mix.

Develop the perfect resume

First off, you need to understand there are no rules for resume writing. Everyone has a different opinion. Just remember, it's a tool to get your foot in the door to interview. Ask yourself: will this document persuade the professional, who has the power to hire, invite me in for a meeting?

Below you will find a long list of tips to showcase your experience:
- Limit your resume to one page, unless you have more than five years experience.
- Don't ever let a misspelled word go unnoticed.
- Be conscious and consistent of layout and style. Make sure to use the same or complementary fonts throughout, e.g. the title and headers are in bold and the body font is clean and simple.
- Be sure it's legible. An 11 or 12 point font is perfect.
- If you include an objective, be very specific about your career interests.
--- In the marketing arena, Ad/PR are two different disciplines.
- If you’re interested in working in a particular industry, such as sports or hospitality, mention it in your objective.
- Change your e-mail address to something professional: ryan.sheehy@gmail.com vs. KrazyPartyGirl@aol.com.
- Lead with descriptive action verbs.
- Write the resume in third person.
- Write action verbs in present or past tense.
--- Handles, manages, oversees
--- Handled, managed, oversaw
- If you don't have experience in the field, include a listing of course offerings: writing for public relations, event management, entertainment marketing, etc.
- If you’re bilingual, make sure to mention it.
- If you have technical skills, such as graphic or Web design, include your proficiencies.
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access. If you know the entire suite, just list Microsoft Office.
- Make sure to mention knowledge/use of new media - social networking, blogosphere, search engine optimization.
- The more you can articulate the scope of the project, the better.
--- Coordinated and hosted luncheon for 300 journalists.
- Consider adding a list of software programs that you’re well versed in
--- Cision, Media Map, Lexis Nexis, Quick Books, CS4
- If you’re going to include your GPA, make sure it’s accurate.
- Always include an expected graduation date.
- Make sure to include the timeframe of your employment and the location.
--- January 2005 – December 2006
--- Orlando, Florida
- If you have sales experience, try to include specific figures.
--- Increased sales by 20 percent and include the amount of time you accomplished this objective.
- Highlight extracurricular involvement and leadership roles.
- Use a quality paper instead of plain white, but nothing too flashy.

Customize your cover letter for each position

This may sound obvious, but you need to cater your cover letter for the position you're applying and the individual who has the hiring authority. In the introduction, reference the position title and company name. Mention of how you learned about it and direct them to your attached resume.

Your letter should exude a passion for the field and/or a specific reference to why you are qualified. In the body, showcase why you are best for the role and interested in working for the company. Highlight specific experience and/or skills you bring to the organization. Provide examples of projects you’ve successfully executed. In closing, provide final remarks, include contact information and thank them in advance for the consideration.

Prepare a portfolio – with writing samples and examples of your creative work

What should you include?
- Resume
- A list of three to five references – professors, advisers, mentors, employers
- Examples of campaigns
- News releases
- Press clippings/media coverage
- Pitch letters
- Photo captions
- Biographies
- Fact sheets
- Media advisories
- Newsletter articles
- Design pieces
- Web copy and/or layout

Always keep professionalism top of mind. Purchase a nice portfolio to showcase your best work and consider adding tabs for easy access to your materials. You'd be surprised how impressed professionals will be that you've taken the time to wow them. It can only lead to greater opportunities down the road - like an excellent internship and/or your first "real world" position.