We are currently looking for a paid web development intern here at CPUsage so we are getting plenty of emails with resumes. I’m gonna be frank: most people are doing it wrong. With that said, here are a few tips to improve your chances of getting an interview and ultimately getting hired at CPUsage or any other company you apply at.
Tip # 1: Don’t name your resume file “resume”
Over the past 2 days, I have added 6 files in my downloads folder all titled “resume.” This alone drops you from the running. I refuse to spend time opening files and figuring out which is your’s, then keeping track of it. Make it easy for hiring managers! My personal resume from when I worked for others was titled “martens_resume” because Martens is my last name. I could have also used my first name, such as “jeff_martens_resume,” something I would suggest if you have a more common name, like Smith. With this naming convention, is there any questions who’s resume is inside that electronic file?
Tip # 2: Send your resume as a PDF
Sending resumes as PDF’s eliminates the chance of a formatting difference between what you intended and what I am viewing on my screen. Microsoft Word isn’t perfect (shocker, I know) so don’t leave this to chance. Use whatever tool you’d like to create your resume, then save it as a PDF. It’s free and eliminates any chance of a formatting malfunction when I view your resume on my P4 desktop from the last decade, running Office XP.
Tip # 3: Say something interesting in your email
The body of your email is the new cover letter. Good news is that emails are usually expected to be short and to the point, so the cover letter is now shorter than ever. Use 1 paragraph to hook me. Tell me how you gained the experience I am looking for. Make me want to open the resume (in PDF form) that you’ve attached. Say more than “attached is my resume” or something similar, and don’t simply paste your resume into the body of the email without a proper introduction.
Tip #4: Link to examples
Resumes are just text that you spent many hours fretting over. We can all make them say whatever we want. So help yourself stand out by pointing hiring managers to examples of your work. If you are applying for a software development job, link to your GitHub account. If you are a designer, link to your portfolio. Show me something you’ve accomplished, something you were part of. Be more than text on the screen, be a human.
Tip # 5: Don’t apply for jobs outside of your scope
If you have zero experience doing what I am hiring you to do, don’t apply for the job. Why would I hire you if you don’t have any of the capabilities I need? Sure, I am hiring for an internship this week, so there is a bit more wiggle room, but have something! If your something isn’t much, impress me and show that your little experience won’t be a hindrance. I know you have to start somewhere, so if you don’t have the experience, be ambitious and get it. Take online courses (free from places like Stanford and MIT these days) and build the knowledge outside of the workplace. Volunteer for events and non-profits to hone your skills. Chances are, your show of ambition alone will be enough to get the interview.
Follow these tips and you’ll have a better chance of getting interviewed at CPUsage and probably everywhere else you apply. Finally, if you’ve made it this far into my blog post, you deserve one final tip: #1 and #4 are most important to me. There you go, good luck!