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Summer job / internship application tips

summer job

Summer job advertisement

The summer job and internships

As the summer approaches, I see more and more students walking around the mall.  They are well dressed and carrying a binder.  They are not dressed in the skinny jeans hipster fashions, they are dressed a little more conservatively, and they are walking around as if they don’t know where to go to next.  They aren’t carrying a backpack full of schoolbooks, they just have a slim binder.  They are the summer job seeker, and I can spot a person collecting job applications a block away like a beat cop can spot a potential purse-snatcher.  The uncomfortable walk, the nervousness, and the pause in front of a potential employers establishment, looking inside thinking. . . “Do I want to work here???”

If you find yourself filling out a job application for a summer job, think about the following:

  • My first impression of you will be your filled out job application.  I will probably take 5 seconds at the most to look at your resume and will scan the job application just as quickly.  I am not so much reading the application as I am looking for fields that should have been filled in and were left blank.  If it isn’t filled out completely, I stop reading and move on to the next application.
  • One more time.  Fill out every field.  I do not want to try to hunt you down to find out when you were born, or who your manager was at your last job.     Actually, I am not even going to bother.  You get one chance at this.   If you are not going to completely fill out the job application, you are probably going to skip some of the smaller details when you are hired.  Make no mistake, this is a test.  A long job application is a filter and this is part of the culling process.
  • If you are hired, this application will go into your company file and will be a permanent fixture of your employee file as long as you work for Acme Publishing.  Your summer job could be the start of a long career.
  • Make sure your application is legible and presents well.  I have seen applications that looked like they went through the wash, filled out in red ink, and looked like they were written with the non-dominant hand because the dominant hand was in a cast.  Maybe it was their dominant hand, but all the more reason we don’t want to hire them.  Our customers will see this handwriting.
  • If you do find yourself with a multiple page application pay just as much attention to the last page as you do the first.  It is common to see the first page fill out completely and legibly.  The last page the handwriting is sloppy and there are fields left blank.  Someone just got lazy.  “Next application!”

Tips to make your application for a summer job read well:

  • Xerox off the application and fill out the fields on your Xeroxed draft first.    When you are happy with your answers, sit down and then fill out your real application based on the draft you created.
  • Include a cover letter with your application.  You will stick out because 95% of applicants do NOT include a cover letter.  Filling out every field completely in an application is the BARE minimum.
  • Unless the application specifically states to NOT include a resume, include one.  This is just another level of professionalism that most people don’t include.
  • Avoid filling out the application in the mall on the wood bench.  Fill it out on a smooth service where there are no distractions and you are not feeling self-conscious.  It is better to take it home and fill it out completely then trying to rush through the questions in the mall.

Remember the person that is going to be hiring you is probably your parent’s age.  This person has a lot of stereotypes about young people so we need to overcome these.  Coming in neatly dressed in a legible handwriting is the first step to overcoming these stereotypes.  When you turn in your application, ask for the manager; don’t just leave it with the guy behind the counter.  You don’t want to count on that guy to get your resume to the decision maker in one piece.  You will be doing more than 90% of your competition if you introduce yourself, look them in the eye, give a firm handshake and explain what interests you about the job.  Ninety-five percent of your competition will hesitate and stutter on this question so when they ask you if you can work on Saturday nights, you don’t even blink and say with a big smile “absolutely, what time do YOU WANT me to show up”.

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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