Summer semester is here, which means it’s time to start thinking about summer jobs and internships.
Many students apply for summer internships without knowing what they should do to make sure they get the job. McKinley Rennison, a career ambassador at the University of Utah and summer semester student at Salt Lake Community College, explains what she sees employers look for in an ideal applicant.
“When I first started working the Career and Professional Development Center [at the U.] I didn’t even know what a good resume looked like,” Rennison says. “In the almost ten months I’ve been there, I’ve watched countless employers come in and tell students they need to work on their resume. We’re here to help students get the job so I learned what employers really look for on a resume.”
Rennison recommends that a resume be streamlined, without a lot of white space, and should be one page maximum. Previous employment should have specific start and end dates.
To highlight an individual’s skills, Rennison says bullet points and accomplishment statements should be placed under the job title and position.
“The accomplishment statements are always the hardest thing for people since they don’t like talking about themselves. Once they write one or two [statements] they get the hang of it,” Rennison adds.
To really stand out, job-seekers can add something that sets them apart and makes them unique, such as speaking other languages, attending conferences, or possessing special certifications or skills. These items should be placed at the bottom a resume under a special “activities” or “certifications” section.
The average employer spends six seconds looking at a resume, which means the interview is where a job-seeker can really show someone why they should get that internship.
Interviewees are encouraged to keep calm and think of the process like a meeting with a friend. Candidates should know what their resume says and how to answer common interview questions.
“There is this cool tool called StrengthsQuest that shows you your top five strengths and gives you an individual definition of how it’s used for you,” Rennison says. “It really helps you know what strengths you have when interviewers ask.”
Students applying for jobs or internships should take advantage of the resources available to them.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that [a career office] even exists [on campus]. It’s here to help students get jobs and internships and no one knows about it,” Rennison says.
At SLCC, the Career Services department provides advisors, workshops and other resources to help students and alumni with career development and employment opportunities, including internships.
“If you get a chance even if you just have an hour of free time, go to Career Services. They have so many resources to help you nail that job or internship, it’s ridiculous. It’s well worth the time spent when you have the job of your dreams,” Rennison says.
SLCC Career Services has offices at most campuses, making access to career resources readily available.
SLCC students also receive one free access code for the StrengthsQuest assessment. Contact Brandi Mair with Student Life and Leadership for more information.