As an assistant managing editor at Business Insider, a big part of my job is hiring for our internship program.
Summer-internship season is in full swing, so I’ve been reading applications and talking to a lot of candidates.
These are the two biggest mistakes people are making over and over again that sometimes prevents them from getting an interview or the position:
1. Not including a cover letter when the job listing asks for one
If the job listing asks for a cover letter, write one. End. Of. Story. Your cover letter not only gives me a good sense of your writing style, but it also shows me that you care about getting the position and can follow directions.
Even if you have the most impressive résumé I have ever seen, I’m probably not going to set up an interview with you if you don’t include a cover letter.
And by the way, keep your cover letter short and write a different one for every job you apply to.
2. Not sending a follow up thank-you email
This is huge.
Sending me a thank-you email a few hours after we speak, or the next morning is the only way I’m going to move you forward in the application process. The thank-you note shows me that you want the job, and also puts your name at the top of my inbox. If I don’t get a thank-you note, I assume that after chatting with me you realized that the job wasn’t right for you and you’ve moved on.
If you talked to more than one person, you should send a note to each of them.
Here’s a great example of a thank-you note:
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about the internship at INSIDER. It was a pleasure meeting you and Julie. I wanted to reiterate my appreciation for the time you spent discussing the responsibilities of the internship. After our conversation, I believe my skills and experiences are a great match for this opportunity. I am truly excited about the possibility of joining the INSIDER team. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me! Have a great weekend and I look forward to hearing from you soon!