Applying to Jobs & Internships

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You’ve got an idea of what you’re interested in.  Now it’s time to start getting your materials ready and applying to jobs!

It’s time to research how to actually get involved in your industries of choice.  You should continue to network with your peers or alumni from A&S and Cornell to see if there are any valuable connections.  Conclude every interaction with, “Do you have anyone else that you could introduce me to?”  Check in on our networking page for more tips and tricks.

Since you have a few places in mind that you’d like to apply to, we can get organized and start prepping your documents.

As you start identifying opportunities you’re interested in, you can use this handy sheet to keep track of where you’re applying, when you applied, and when to follow up.  You will certainly need this as you start corresponding directly with employers and prepping for interviews!  

We do resume reviews during our drop-in hours, as well as over email.  Reach out to us with your resume and cover letter, and we’ll get comments and suggestions back to you in 1-3 business days.  Prefer an in-person conversation?  Stop on by to 172 Goldwin Smith during our drop-in hours to chat about how to clean up your materials.  At any point in your process, check out our sample resumes to get an idea of what your resume should look like throughout your time at Cornell.  

Cover letters should be a complementary feature of your application package.  This means that they do not restate what is on your resume, but state what is missing from your resume.  This means that they connect the dots between what you have done and what you would do.  You can make these connections with a simple three-step process.  First, identify a handful of parallels between what you have done and the job to which you’re applying by going through the job description and your own experiences.  Second, write about a situation that speaks to an identified parallel.  Third, write a wrap-up statement in which you connect explicitly what you’ve done and what you will do: “I would be thrilled to apply my communication skills and attention to detail to the internship position with the Big Fantastic Life-Changing Organization.”  If you can, try to kill two birds with one stone and use a situation that speaks to multiple competencies.  Use our cover letter in a nutshell worksheet to understand the formatting and content of your letter.

Some places request writing samples.  Your sample should be a recent piece of your writing that highlights your strongest writing skills, even if the topic is not related to the position.  When submitting a sample, attach a cover page that lists the prompt for your sample, and in what context it was written (ex: “This paper was completed in response to the following prompt in my recent course [Class Title]: [prompt]”)  If they request a shortened sample, you may select an excerpt from a longer recent piece of writing.  Simply explain the context and scope of your paper for the remainder of your paper to the cover sheet.   

Transcripts are also a common request from employers.  Usually, an employer will request an unofficial transcript, which Cornell does not provide.  Instead of ordering an official transcript, you should create an unofficial version by copying and pasting your grades from your digital transcript as available on Student Center into a word document with your header from your resume.  Keep your formatting clean and consistent, and remember that it is against the honor code to misrepresent your grades.

Once your documents are in order, it’s time to start sending away! Sometimes your application process is in line with career fairs or information sessions.  There are some particular things to keep in mind for these situations:

  • Dress appropriately and research the companies that you are interested in before you arrive. This will show prospective employers that you are genuinely interested in them.

  • When you arrive at a fair, try to prioritize your time well. Some recruiters may have long lines of people waiting to speak to them and others may be idly standing around. So try to plan ahead and anticipate the order in which you will approach the different employers.

  • Once you start talking to a recruiter, take some notes if you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for a business card or contact information. Of course, once the career fair is over, remember to follow up by sending a thank you note to the recruiter.

  • Employers who take the time to be on-campus throughout the year for information sessions expect interested students to come and talk with their recruiters. Introduce yourself, ask questions and reintroduce yourself at the next event. Students who attend information sessions and other events and introduce themselves are much more likely to earn an interview spot. Information sessions are also a great way to network.

Next: Corresponding with Employers and Interviewing