Chicago State University

Finding an Internship or Job 

Tailor Your Resume

Today, many employers use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for keywords. So if your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, your application could get tossed out automatically.

To prevent this from happening, make tweaks to your resume and cover letter to mirror language that appears in the job posting. Also, if job requirements include hard skills (e.g., JavaScript or Python for programmer positions), make sure those terms are on your resume. 

Check for New Job Postings Frequently

According to experts, the best time to apply for a job is within the first 48 hours after it’s posted, so make sure to check for new job postings often. The CSU Career Development Center encourages students to get into a good routine, by starting their day searching for new job openings each morning. CSU's College Central Network enables you to search by job title, city, company, and skills; and to streamline the process, you can sign up to receive email alerts for new job postings.

Another way to get a line on job openings is to monitor prospective employers’ social media feeds to see if they plan on adding any positions in the near future.

Leverage CSU's Alumni Network

To learn more about your industry or about a particular company, tap your college’s alumni network. Please know most alumni, are eager to offer job advice to students and peers. 

However, you need to be strategic about how you approach alumni. Don’t ask for a job right away, instead, ask people to meet for coffee or chat on the phone, so you can learn more about what they do.  If the conversation goes well, the person may be willing to help you get a foot in the door. Also, if you’re making an introduction by email, try this template:

“Hello, my name is_____, and I graduated with a degree in _____ from Chicago State University. I found your contact information via LinkedIn and I’d love 20 minutes of your time to hear more about what a day at XYZ Company, looks like as well as your career path, and what it’s like to work in the field. Please let me know and thanks for considering my request.”

Keep Up with Industry News 

Even though you don’t have a job yet, you need to stay on top of what’s going on in your field. There are three basic things you should be doing to keep up with industry news:

  1. Read trade publications and industry journals
  2. Join professional social media groups
  3. Follow social media feeds of companies and industry influencers

The news can clue you in to trends in hiring, companies on the rise, and companies going through rough patches.

Before Your Get the Call Prepare for An Interview

In order to get an internship or job offer, you obviously need to ace the interview. To prepare, practice answering common interview questions, such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and spend time developing your answers.

Next, research hot topics and trends for the industry, as well as the company your, 're interviewing with. Also, make sure you thoroughly research the company, so you can answer basic questions, like, ‘What’s your favorite product that our firm sells?’ or ‘Who do you think is our biggest competitor?’ being able to answer shows the employer that you’ve done your homework.

The best places to gather information about potential employers is their website (specifically, the “press” section), their social media accounts, or setting up relevant Google alerts. Another way to get an inside scoop is checking out company profiles and employee reviews through Kununu to get a sense of culture, pay, and benefits.

Also, don’t discount the importance of appropriate interview attire, a mature voicemail greeting, and social media profiles that don’t throw up red flags are all must-haves and they are a part of your personal brand