Top 5 Intern Resume Mistakes

By James Kotecki · January 24th, 2011 · Internships · Comments

24 January


I manage the internship program at a Washington, DC consulting firm. If you want an interview with me, don’t make these resume mistakes:

5. High School is Over

Unless you cured cancer or negotiated some kind of cease-fire, nothing you did in high school is relevant. If I read that your greatest accomplishments came as Captain of the Babysitter’s Club, I will laugh, cry, and burn your resume, not necessarily in that order. Focus on college, where a 3.5 GPA actually means something.

4. Useless Padding

Speaking of irrelevant, I don’t need to read about your work as T.G.I. Friday’s busboy unless I’m a manager at Ruby Tuesdays. Which I’m not.

You don’t have to fill up a page with unrelated tasks just to prove to me that you’ve been busy. I know you’ve been busy. You’re in college.

Stick to the stuff that matters to me.

3. You Did WHAT?

“Interned at a Congressman’s office” tells me nothing. Did you lick envelopes or write legislation?  Give me lots of details about your relevant experience. Be specific about your projects and initiatives – it gives my brain something to latch onto in an endless sea of mediocre generalizations about “performing administrative tasks.”

2. Obvious Typos

If you can’t even get you’re resume write, you’re either incompetent or you just don’t care.

1. You Don’t Match. At ALL.

I asked for a junior; you’re a freshman. I asked for someone with a policy background; your focus is Renaissance art. Did you not read the job description and consider whether you’re even remotely qualified?

Oh, that’s right, you’re just blindly shooting the same generic resume out to 100 different openings! Yeah, I can tell.

James Kotecki is the Head of Research at The Cypress Group, which analyzes political risks for investment managers. He’s also a comedian and an award-winning video blogger who once interviewed Ron Paul in his dorm room. He is tweetable @JamesKotecki.