Monday, June 14, 2010

Tough Love from Temp X

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Ok potential interns, it's time for some tough love from Temp X.  I've been where you've been -- fresh out of college in a shitty economy and just trying to get a foothold in the working world.  I know internships suck.  Not getting paid sucks.  Not having any guarantee of a job regardless of how long you intern there sucks.  Having to do all the garbage work really sucks.  But if you feel this is the right path to take, at least be smart about it.  And by being smart, I mean just don't be stupid.  This starts with the application process.

I've just concluded collecting resumes and conducting interviews for my employer's crop of summer interns.  The more resumes I read and more interviews I conducted, the more I realized that applicants have no idea what they're doing.  I'm here to help.  Following are some critical tips that will increase your chances of getting your desired internship simply because your resume won't get thrown out.

  • Keep your resume to one page.  A resume is not a term paper.  You don't want to narrow the margins, increase the font size and change the line spacing.  You don't get extra credit for making your resume extra long.  Trust me, you've done nothing to merit a two page resume.  And if your resume is three might as well give up looking now.
  • Know the job you're applying for.  My employer (a management and production company) just finished hiring interns.  The gig, like most in Hollywood, involves a decent amount of writing.  So when one potential candidate said, "I'm really not a good writer," I threw his resume right in the garbage.  The only thing perhaps more annoying than that are the resumes I've received for aspiring publicists.  Kids, read the job description. 
  • Check your resume for typos.  And this doesn't just mean using spell check.  Someone recently sent in a resume that spoke of their relevant course work.  It included "Screen Writhing."  If you want to be a writer and you can't spell "writing" I have no use for you.
  • Send your resume as a pdf.  Actually this has less to do with sending your resume as a pdf and more to do with not sending your resume with the "track changes" feature still active.  I don't want to know what edits you made to your resume before sending it to me.
    • Don't apply to the same job twice.  Chances are the person who is reading your resume the first time is reading it the second time.  If they liked you the first time, they're gonna think it's weird that you applied twice because this means 1) you can't remember past five minutes ago or 2) you're annoying.  Neither one sends a particularly good message to a potential employer. 
    Good luck and don't fuck it up.


    tlperl said...

    Fantastic advice! And not just for interns, for everybody out there. And "Screen Writhing" is an excellent Freudian slip.

    Anonymous said...

    Also, why do people list seven bullet points of job description under their jobs? You shouldn't call attention to the fact that you "answered phones" and "took notes"; these are basic things that one does. Resume bullet points are precious and should describe specific accomplishments that set you apart (preferably quantifiable). Avoid vagaries like "Contributed to," because without a hint of what you actually contributed, readers aren't going to assume very much.

    It's true that many co's in any industry are looking for a few specific things and will probably toss your rezzie as soon as they see you're lacking them. However, a bullet point that says "Answered phones" or "Contributed to design" is probably never going to be the one that makes the difference.

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