Are you a fresher looking for your first break? I bet you are frustrated with the low volume of responses you are receiving. This post will help you identify some mistakes you may be making.
Note 1: If you live outside of India, this post is unlikely to help you.
Why this post
I designed and implemented Qxf2’s first internship program. I noticed that the interns made several mistakes when applying for jobs. After we made some corrections our interns started to get better response rates. In this post, I write about what difficulties freshers faced and what mistakes they did while applying for jobs and how we helped them get more interview calls.
Note 2: I am writing about the experiences of our first internship training program in the hope that experienced trainers can suggest improvements.
Mistakes when applying for jobs
1. Low effort job applications
As technology has improved, all tasks have become easier and simpler. The freshers I worked with, thought applying for jobs was as easy as clicking the “Apply” button in any of the job portals. How effective can this approach be? Though it’s easy to apply for jobs through the portals, such low effort applications did not give them a chance to stand out. After some time they were not showing interest to go through the portals. The main reason was that they started getting fake calls and interview calls for unrelated jobs.
2. Not knowing what the company does
Our interns sometimes did not know what the company they were applying to did. They had not seen the name of the company. They hadn’t visited the company’s website before applying for the job. They had not read the job description thoroughly.
3. Resume and cover letter
As we all know, resumes are important. A resume highlights your strengths and shows what you have learned and know. But I noticed that our interns didn’t come up with proper resume. Their resumes had typos and inconsistent formatting. I also noticed that our interns didn’t give importance to cover letters. They simply attached their resume and sent an email to the companies.
4. Asking for help from their network
One more way to get job interviews is through our friends or college seniors. Our interns were hesitating to ask for help.
I feel these are all one of the reasons they are finding difficulties to get more job interviews after they finished their graduation.
How we helped our interns to apply for jobs
We found that these were some blockers for freshers to get more interview calls. In this section, I outline how we helped them.
1. Resume preparation
As we all know, the first impression is the best impression. When we apply for jobs people tend to look at the resumes first. So we helped the interns to prepare the resume in a way that highlights their strengths and technical skills. We did our best to correct typos and make the formatting consistent. We also ended up making their project descriptions more verbose so that it showcased their strengths and technical knowledge.
2. Cover letter
The companies expect candidates to read their websites. A cover letter shows what the candidates knows about the company and what the candidates is able to do for the company. So we helped the interns prepare their cover letter and taught them how to tailor their cover letters for companies that they were applying to. I’ll be writing a more detailed post on how we helped them prepare their resume and cover letter along with examples.
3. References and mock interviews
We conducted mock interviews for the interns. It helped them face interviews confidently. It also helped to revise the concepts or technologies that they had learned so far. Nowadays, to get into an MNC, we need the reference for attending an interview. Since our employees have more work experience and have worked in various companies, they helped the interns by giving references.
4. Targeted application
Last, but not least, we sat with them in person and helped them to apply for startups. We asked them to come up with the list of startup companies and helped them craft cover letters for each of the companies they were interested in. We then asked them to send the mail to the CEO personally. We also told them to apply using the company’s career page rather than using a job portal.
Our interns started getting more calls by the end of their internship. Though they didn’t land a job before their internship ended, they did find this process helpful. We hope this experience will be helpful for the rest of their career.
Based on this experience, I do plan to make changes to our next internship program. I will be emphasizing the need to start with job applications early. I also need to make some changes to our mock interviews so they reflect the kind of questions that startups generally ask in their interviews. Can you think of other suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below.