Advice to IT Interns

One spring a few years back, I was looking through a stack of intern resumes. Wanda (not her real name) was not selected and received an email notification. She then, to her credit, reached out and asked for feedback on her resume. Awesome move on her part. This drive to improve will take her far in her career. Here is my response to her.

We had a high number of applicants for this position, many of whom had more relevant experience (manufacturing IT). This is a difficult time to be job hunting and I encourage you to keep applying. And, kudos to you, by the way, for reaching out and asking for this feedback. A couple of bits of advice:

  • The majority of online application systems do a terrible job of pushing a cover letter into the pipeline. Consider adding a short paragraph at the beginning of your resume that gives a glimpse of who you are. Most resume content is dry, this gives a bit of your personality. The “About” section from your LinkedIn profile would be a good start.
  • Listing all the technology is not a bad idea, but the more important point to get across, especially early in your career, is that you can learn tech fast. Companies like ours may use some of what’s on your list, but it is very likely that you will be thrown at tech you don’t know and your resume should convey that you can handle any new tech that comes your way. I don’t usually read the lists unless I am looking for deep technical position (programmer, etc.).
  • When you do get that interview, make sure that you have your STAR spreadsheet prepped and memorized. Your may feel that your list is short at this point, but once you start adding rows to the spreadsheet, you will be surprised at the number you can add. Check out for more about this method.  I would suggest adding a bunch of “working with people” stories (initiative, leading, difficult people, team member, team leader, leader among peers, and so forth).

Good luck on your job search!
Director, IT

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