by Betsy Orton Chief Development Officer Mi Esuelita Preschool

As we approach the annual Career Fair hosted by SMU PRSSA, 4-6p, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom, tips and techniques for applying for internships are especially timely.

Do’s When Applying for Internships

The PRSSA Career Fair is a perfect place to meet potential employers

1. DO have someone read your resume and cover letter before you send it out. Seriously, give it to a teacher, a parent, a friend with better writing skills than you have. When I get a badly written resume and/or cover letter, I get so distracted by the mistakes that I don’t pay as much attention to the content. It doesn’t make me want to interview you; it makes me want to edit it in red and send it back to you.

2. DO check what you’ve got on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other online presence. Just like you should be looking up my organization on the internet, we’re looking you up too. We understand that you’re in college and do fun things (we did those things too), but use some discretion on your posts and pictures.

3. DO have writing samples available if you’re applying for a position that will require writing. When you send them along, think about the subject matter and relevance. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading your 20-page paper about the trials and tribulations of wildebeests in sub-Saharan Africa, but I’d really rather read something brief and relevant.

4. DO return my calls and emails when I am trying to set up an interview. Yes, I want to talk to you about the position, but there are a number of other students who really want me to call them to set up an interview and will call me back ASAP. 5. DO have at least one question for me at the end of the interview when I ask you if you have any questions. It can be broad, specific, whatever. We’ve spent time talking about the organization and position, surely you can come up with one question.

Don’ts When Applying for Internships

1. DON’T write your letter to me addressing me by my first name. I don’t sit in class with you every day, we’re not friends and you don’t know me. You don’t know if I’m 66, 46, or 26 (not that it matters), and as your potential supervisor, you should respect the position. Don’t worry, I’m not that formal in person and you will call me by my first name if we work together, but you need to address the cover letter to Mr. or Ms.

2. DON’T wear jeans to the interview. You’re in college, so I don’t expect you to have a suit (but you should go ahead and have one anyway), but you should be dressed professionally. Even if we’re an agency that helps animals or plants trees and we wear jeans, you should dress up for the interview.

3. DON’T be embarrassed to put all your work experience on your resume. You worked at a restaurant drive-thru for a summer? Great, there are things you learned about efficiency that will help you. You worked as a camp counselor for a summer? Great, you know how to handle different personalities and multi-task. You were a tutor at school? You have patience, which we all appreciate.

4. DON’T just send me a blank email with your resume attached. Even if you have a formal cover letter attached, put something in the body of the email. There are too many email viruses and scams going on for me to open something that has no description in the body of the email.

5. DON’T just send me a cover letter that you send to everyone. We know that you are sending out a lot of resumes, but if you take a minute to customize the letter, I’m more likely to take an extra minute to read it. Take a minute to personalize it for my organization and tell me why you’re interested in the position.

6. DON’T think that just because we’re in nonprofit, that our jobs are easy or that we don’t work as hard. Our jobs involve a lot of hard work and we take them seriously. We don’t get paid as well as many of our corporate friends, but we do this work because we want to make a difference in the community and we believe in it.

Betsy Orton is Chief Development Officer of the Mi Esuelita Preschool and a member of the SMU CCPA Advisory Board