Is that how you feel every time you send in an application online for a job or internship – that you are sending it out to the great unknown that, probably, will not give you the feedback? The most you get back is an automated reply acknowledging receipt of your application, and that’s it.
That a very likely scenario to happen. The truth is, only about 7% of applicants online ever get an interview, and even then you may never hear from the company again. It can be frustrating and discouraging, but that’s the way these things go. Recruiters and employers have so many applications coming their way that it is no wonder that they spend only 6 seconds looking at a majority of applications, and those from new graduates are particularly likely to end up in the dead zone.
The same situation applies when applying for internships, especially if you are hoping to snag one with the most famous companies. Most internships will snag you a small allowance at best, but getting one with the big names in your industry have countless benefits, not the least of which getting a full-time job at that company. As a result, the competition for good internships is just as bad.
However, you can take steps to increase your chances of getting a desired internship or job by doing the unexpected. Here are some of the top ones that should be on your list.
- 1 Simple and Unexpected Online Tactics List to get a Desired Internship or Job
Simple and Unexpected Online Tactics List to get a Desired Internship or Job
Most employers and recruiters no longer publish their job or internship offerings on job boards and the like. Instead, a most (92%) post ads on social networks to find possible candidates, 87% of which head to LinkedIn for obvious reasons.
If you are currently in the job market or sniffing around for a great internship, you want to make sure first that they can find you, and secondly, that they like what they see on your LinkedIn profile page. You can do this by paying close attention to your headline.
When you click on your profile photo, you will see it encapsulated in a box and a bunch of information about you. This data is the first thing prospective employers will see, and it will decide if they will look through the rest of your page. Make them want to scroll down by giving them a snippet of what you can do.
For instance, in your professional headline, instead of putting “Software Engineer,” be more specific. Put “Software Engineer / C#.Net Programmer” or “Software Engineer / WordPress Developer” instead. Such change will not only let prospective employers know your particular skills, but it optimizes your profile for first-page matches for narrow searches.
2. Align your Offline Resume with your Online Presence
You probably know the importance of giving out a comprehensive resume, but still, don’t give it the right amount of attention to the details. A very common mistake is not going over it with a fine-toothed comb looking for typos and grammatical errors, which can put off many employers right from the start.
In fact, as many as 60% of recruiters will pass you over for a position because of a single error. It’s not nit-picky, either. Overlooking errors in your résumé smacks of carelessness and lack of professionalism. If you’re not confident about your editing powers, have a professional writing service help you edit. Even better, have them write you a professional resume.
You should also make sure that whatever you put in your résumé is true and correct. What’s the difference? Well, if you say you worked for a big tech company as a “document facilitator,” but you were, actually, the messenger and didn’t handle any core work at all, then it would technically be true, but that’s mere quibbling. That is the sort of thing that gets found out eventually, to your detriment. It would be better to keep that out altogether.
Another mistake is to send one generic resume for all employers. It is like wearing the same clothes for a sock hop and to a formal ball. You have to tailor your résumé to fit the profile of the company to which you are applying. Companies have widely divergent cultures to which you have to show you are a good fit, so it pays to do a little research before applying for a position to make sure you are giving the right impression with your résumé to get an interview schedule.
As a final tip, it is crucial to keep your résumé up to one page. The busy employer or recruiter doesn’t have time to go through several pages of fluff. Focus on relevant information on accomplishments that will show how well-suited you are for the job, and use bullets as much as possible. Interestingly enough, many employers look favorably on students that take part in team sports in school, so keep that little tidbit.
3. Do a follow-up
How do you get the teacher’s attention when you have something to say? You raise your hand, right? You’re in the room, but you can’t expect the teacher to call on you all the time.
It is the same thing with following up with an employer for a job or internship. You have sent in your application, but that’s not the end of it if you don’t get a response right away. Most people assume that if they don’t hear back that they didn’t make the cut, but that may not be the case. It is likely that an employer or hiring manager has simply been overwhelmed.
As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t heard from an employer in two weeks, you can do a follow-up. Sending in a friendly but brief email asking about your application will help attract the right kind of attention and keep you on top of the pile.
Note, however, that it is important not to follow-up too aggressively, as you can come off as a pest. Worse, you could come off as desperate. You can follow-up more than once, but keep at least a week between emails. If you don’t get a reply after four or five emails, you should probably move on.
4. Follow instructions
Make sure you read through the application instructions on any job posting.
Many employers lay traps for applicants to weed out those that don’t read right through to the end, or who make assumptions about what they need to do. Such strategy is pretty smart, because if you can’t follow simple instructions in a job application where you are presumably on your toes, then you are probably not going to be a great employee.
Since more than 50% of applicants don’t follow easy instructions, following instructions cuts down your competition by half if you go the other way.
5. Be picky with your Applications
It may sound obvious, but since applying online is so easy, many people make the mistake of applying for any position that comes along. The thing is that many employers use automated recruitment software that automatically sends your application to the dead zone if you apply for jobs for which you are not qualified. It may affect your chances of applying for positions for which you do qualify in the future.
6. Get some off-line schmoozing
Make a point of going to job trade and recruitment fairs in your area.
Nowadays, the companies tend to offer the internships throughout a year, so you could miss out on fantastic opportunities to land a plummy one because you thought they only offered it in the summer. Many universities have tie-ups with local companies to offer internships that could give you the experience and references you need for when you graduate.
Most companies also still prefer the face-to-face experience when recruiting because it trims the fat in the process. You may still have to submit your application online, but you should take every opportunity that comes along to get to know the people behind the screens.
7. Have a Portfolio ready
Portfolios are no longer the purview of artists or writer.
Many companies looking for web engineers and information technicians would be very interested if you can give them an online list of any work you may have already done, even if it is just a school project.
At the very least, a portfolio site can give the employers an opportunity to get to know you better without having to schedule an interview. You can do anything with a portfolio site, so give it as much thought and effort as you would with a résumé.
8. Loosen up
Sometimes, you just need to strike the right cord when interacting with a prospective employer.
An online application usually gives you little opportunity to express yourself, so go right ahead and make your cover letter interesting if you have the chance to send one in. Not all employers will ask for one, however, so you look to your follow-up email to make a good impression.
The point is not to be too formal or stiff. Loosen up a little and inject a little personality into your communications. Aim to give a little delight to whoever reads your email or letter.
9. Clean up your online presence
You probably know that many recruiters and employers make a background check on you, but did you know they look through your social networks as well?
You can learn a lot about a person by the way they interact online, so you want your online presence to be stellar. If you have any rants or pictures you’d rather your future employer does not see, get to work on taking them down.
These tactics are simple enough to implement, but many people typically overlook them. If you want a good shot of getting that job or internship, they can help get you there.