Proof-read your resume for errors. Don’t use a goofy email address (sorry firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re not in middle school anymore). We’ve all heard that advice. How about something practical from a new graduate in Advertising that will GUARANTEE you get an internship at a digital agency? Just kidding, the economy sucks, I can’t guarantee you that. But if you follow this advice, I’m pretty confident your resume won’t get tossed in the first round.
The Internets 101
If you want to be taken seriously in the digital sphere, you’ve got to have an online presence. And while updating your Facebook and Twitter with pictures of you planking at the library certainly counts as an online presence, there’s no getting around the fact that you’ve got to have a website. Preferably, the URL should be your name so it’s easy for employers to find you. What do you want to be the first thing that pops up from a google search of your name, your profanity-ridden Twitter page or a professional website full of samples of your work?
There’s really no excuse, since you don’t have to be a web developer to make a website these days. Check out yola.com or weebly.com and see how simple it can be for someone as html-challenged as me to make a clean, simple website.
I can haz internship?
So how can you make a bold first impression? Quite simply, with a uniquely professional cover letter. I say unique first because when I read that someone is “ looking for a unique opportunity in which I will be adequately challenged and compensated”, I know that they either have no imagination or recycled their sister’s cover letter that got her a job in finance. Digital people are fun and weird, and we appreciate when someone takes time to craft something off-the-wall (which is why Nyan cat has been making the rounds in my inbox). But there’s a fine line between being bold and unprofessional. So please don’t swear, don’t talk about how desperately you need a job or how broke you are (this makes me sad), but do quote movies, reference viral videos and show that you would be fun to work with.
Now that you’ve wowed ‘em with your wit, don’t blow it by making rookie mistakes. If you send a funny email, make sure you attach your resume and references to the email. Don’t tell them where to find these things, or offer to send them if they’re interested. Employers are busy, and if you make them hunt for something, your email gets deleted. On that same note, NEVER ask a question that can be easily Googled. It inadvertently says that you’re either too lazy to look it up, or you don’t understand the wonders of google (not a good impression to leave on a digital agency). For example, don’t ask them where their offices are located. That information is HUGE on our website, so you obviously haven’t done a lot of research on us if you don’t know that.
Show, don’t tell
“I love your agency and I’m passionate about infographics!” is the same as “I invented the post-it note” (Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion? No? Too young for that movie?) From that obscure reference, you should have taken away that it’s always better to show someone how passionate you are than simply stating it in a cover letter. If you really loved our agency, you would have linked to our infographics on your twitter. Or you would have a blog dedicated to stuff you love from digital agencies. You could also pick one of our projects and tell us what we got right (or wrong!). Find a way to show them that you’re actually interested in what they do, and you’re not applying for an internship there because they never called you back for that internship program at the White House.
Want some personalized, judgment-free advice? Email me! Lydiawallbaum@jess3.com. But I promise, if you send me some form of the Nyan-cat video, I’ll turn your cover letter into a rap, and encourage you to send it to potential employers.