Job & Internship Prep
Applying for a Job
When applying for any position, make sure you are doing your due diligence to ensure that the employer and opportunity are legitimate experiences. The Career Center offers access to various websites to help you identify internship and job opportunities.
Resumes & Cover Letters
A critical aspect of your professional presence, your resume is a document that articulates and markets your professional skills and accomplishments to a prospective employer. Your resume should change to meet the requirements of different positions and should be updated as you gain experience. Ultimately, your finished document should help you stand out from other applicants.
Before uploading your resume to Handshake or sending it to an employer, make sure to do the following:
- Read our guide to writing a resume, which covers resume elements, effective bullet points and action verbs to use.
- Check your document against this resume review checklist to make sure you're following best practices.
- Get your resume critiqued by using Handshake, which provides general feedback on formatting and basic best practices, or by meeting a career counselor in person via appointment or drop-in, which will get you more specific feedback tailored to your goals.
College of Arts and Sciences
- First-year resume
- Sophomore resume
- Junior resume
- Senior resume
- Graduate resume
- Natural science resume
- CAS grad 0-5 years experience resume
- CAS grad 5-10 years experience resume
Erivan K. Haub School of Business
- First-year resume
- Sophomore resume
- Junior resume
- Senior resume
- Graduate resume
- Executive MBA resume
- MBA Business Intelligence resume
- MBA 5-10 years experience resume
School of Health Professions
- First-year resume
- Sophomore resume
- Junior resume
- Senior resume
- Health administration resume
- SHP grad 0-5 years experience resume
- SHP grad 5-10 years experience resume
An important aspect of your professional presence, your cover letter is an opportunity to communicate your unique qualifications to an employer for a specific position. When starting your document, reflect on these questions:
- “What are the key skills/qualifications listed in the job description?” Highlight those you have.
- “Why this employer/why this position?” Communicate excitement and interest.
- "Why me? What makes me stand out?” Provide examples.
The answers to these questions should connect the dots between what an employer is seeking and your experiences.
Avoid including a generic cover letter with your application and make sure you are not repeating your resume word for word. Make every attempt to obtain personal contact information and position title for a specific individual within the organization to whom you can address your letter.
To get you started, take a look at the following samples below and review our guide for writing cover letters for a detailed explanation of best practices:
- Instructional cover letter sample
- Internship cover letter sample
- Full-time job cover letter sample 1
- Full-time job cover letter sample 2
- Full-time job cover letter sample 3
Note: Cover letters uploaded to Handshake are automatically approved without a review. If you want your cover letter reviewed by a counselor schedule an in-person or virtual appointment by logging into Handshake.
Interviewing for a Job
The Career Center supports your development of interviewing competencies, such as professional communication skills, articulation of industry-specific keywords and skillsets and facility with a variety of interviewing styles and types. Interviewing is a skill and practice makes perfect. Make the most of your interviewing opportunity by following the tips below.
Ask: When scheduling the interview ask for details:
- Who will you be interviewing with?
- Length of the interview? (30 minutes? All day?)
- Other logistics about the day? (Arrival instructions, parking, lunch)
- Is this a phone interview? If yes, review this our guide on what to do on a phone interview.
Reflect: Think about the following questions:
- Why do I want this job?
- Why do I want to work for this organization?
- What makes me stand out as a candidate?
- What skills have I developed that can be transferred to the responsibilities of this position?
Research the organization: Know about their mission, their strengths, products and services, culture and competitors. Look to the organization’s website and review current industry-related news. Know how you fit into the position and the organization.
Prepare answers to common interviewing questions such as:
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you have any questions for us?
Practice: A mock interview can help you articulate your strengths, add polish to your presentation and increase your confidence. Conduct a mock interview by scheduling a mock interview with a career counselor through your Handshake account.
Review: Read the Guide to Interviewing for a detailed explanation of best practices and more sample questions.
First impressions matter: Shake hands firmly with the employer, smile, maintain eye contact and treat everyone you interact with professionally.
Make the connections clear: Relate your experiences to the needs of the position and the organization.
Ask questions: Well-prepared questions help you stand out as a candidate and demonstrate your interest in the position. Refer to the list of questions you prepared.
Express gratitude: Thank an interviewer for their time, ask about next steps and request a business card so you can follow up.
Directly after the interview: Write a thank-you e-mail to the employer (with your resume attached) within 24 hours. This communication should thank the employer for the opportunity, reiterate your interest in the position and remind the employer how your skills meet their needs.
2 weeks after the interview*: If you are still waiting to hear, follow up with the employer at the two-week mark with a phone call to inquire about the status of the search and to let them know you are still very interested in the position.
Throughout the process: If you need assistance in navigating follow-up, talk to a career counselor to discuss an individual plan of action.
*Timing for follow-up is dependent on information received from the employer regarding hiring timelines. Adjust your follow-up accordingly.
You’ve been offered an interview for a great internship/job opportunity! There’s just one catch: It’s virtual. While virtual interviewing has become more common, there are still ways to ensure you leave a lasting impression with a hiring manager, even if it’s done online. In our Virtual Interview Guide, you'll find tips to help you navigate the virtual interview, from how to prepare to follow-up practices.
An email or telephone call following a job application or interview is an opportunity to reiterate your level of interest in the position while demonstrating professional communication skills. Communicating with the hiring manager demonstrates your understanding of the importance of timely follow-through, and may help your resume reach the top of the pile. Read on to learn about smart moves to make after submitting your application.
- Keep track of all of your applications and always make time for a follow-up, no matter how busy you are.
- Be prepared for someone to pick up the phone. Practice your talking points to make the most of the opportunity.
- Show enthusiasm, not desperation. Show you have a sincere interest in the posted position, but do not sound eager to take any job open or act as though this is your only option.
- Follow up regularly, but don’t overdo it. Don’t follow up with a hiring manager more than twice unless they request it.
- Use multiple methods of communication. If you’re not getting a response from email, call (and vice versa).
If a hiring manager was listed with the job description, communicate with that person. If no hiring manager was listed, check the employer section of Handshake or CareerShift for a contact within the organization to communicate with.
If you are unable to identify the point of contact, you can reach out to the human resources department to inquire about the status of the search and to request contact information for the hiring manager.
If a deadline has been posted:
- Do not call or follow up prior to the close date. Give the organization an opportunity to review resumes. Follow up 5-7 business days after the close date. This gives the organization time to take the first step but does not let enough time pass that they have completed the hiring process.
If no deadline or an extended deadline is posted:
- If the application had no close date, wait one week after applying to follow up on your application.
- Make the call from a quiet place, free from distractions.
- Make an outline or have short notes to make sure you cover what you want to say. Keep the conversation focused on the employer, the position, and how you can help them meet their goals.
- Keep a copy of your resume close by for your reference.
- End the conversation by asking about the hiring process, their timeline, and if you may follow up again.
If someone answers:
- Introduce yourself and identify the position you applied for and when you submitted your application.
- Inquire about the status of the search, reiterate your continued interest, and highlight your skillset.
- Ask about their timeline and when would be a good time to follow up.
- If the position is filled, thank the employer for their time. If the organization is of interest to you, let them know you look forward to learning more about open positions that you could be a fit for.
If someone does not answer:
- Leave a message! State your name, the position you applied for, reiterate your continued interest, and inquire about the status of the process. Leave your phone number.
- Subject Line: make sure your subject line is engaging. For example: “Excited about the _____ opportunity”.
- Always address the follow-up to the hiring manager.
- Keep your message short and to the point. State your continued interest in the position and your key qualifications. Attach your resume for reference.
- Spell-check and proofread your e-mail prior to sending it.
Need help writing an email to someone in your network? Create an account with Mango and get assistance with writing polished, customized emails.
ChatGPT and other generative AI tools can streamline certain aspects of your job search, especially if you use them effectively and with strong oversight.
- Create an account on ChatGPT
- Copy a prompt from the list of samples below and paste the prompt into ChatGPT. Be sure to hold down the shift key and hit enter before adding any content, since, as soon as you hit enter, ChatGPT will get to work on a response.
- Depending on what you are working on, you may want to copy and paste your resume (with identifying info removed) or the job description for the position you are applying for into ChatGPT.
- Click "enter" to have ChatGPT get to work.
- Check all responses for inaccuracies, inclusion of keywords, and voice/tone of the communication.
- Remove all identifying information before uploading a resume or other documents into a chat.
- Use detailed and specific prompts (e.g. “in 300 words or less”) within queries.
- Ask ChatGPT to write its response in the tone you want to convey to the reader - formal, engaging, friendly, casual language.
- Indicate the mode of delivery for any written communication. For example, it will generate a different style thank you note for an email as opposed to a hand-written card.
- Start with the phrase “Act is if” followed by specifics of your situation (e.g. Act is if I’m a college senior applying for [job title])
- Review documents with a career counselor to ensure best practices and effective communication for your goals.
- Review my resume like an employer and let me know five specific changes I can make based on this job description [insert resume with identifying information removed] [insert job description].
- Write a 3-paragraph cover letter, 250 to 300 words, in a formal tone using experiences from my resume that align with this job description [insert resume with identifying information removed] [insert job description]
- Write a thank you letter for a job interview for [Position Title] with [Company Name] referencing my internship experience, educational background, and [specific detail from interview or resume]
- Are there specific keywords I should include in my resume to enhance my resume for applicant tracking systems (ATS) for this job? [insert job description]
- Act as if I'm a college senior applying to [job title]. Write a cover letter under 300 words with an opening paragraph that grabs the reader's attention. Reference in the opening paragraph how my experience doing weekly service formed my interest in working for a company committed to social justice. Use language that is friendly, lighthearted, but polite and appropriate.[insert resume] [ insert job description]
- Generate 10 specific interview questions based on this job description [insert job description]
- Take question one and based on my resume, how would you answer that question with a response that feels confident and engaging?
- What are five questions I can ask in an interview that will give me insight into the company’s culture and commitment to professional development?
- What can I do with a degree in [insert Major Name]?
- I have interests in art history and communications [insert your own interests]. What are five career paths that match my interests?
- Based on my experiences found in my resume, what are ten career fields I may want to explore? [insert resume]
- Write a one paragraph email asking a St. Joe’s alum working in <specific area of interests> for an informational interview.
- Generate a 300-character LinkedIn connection request based on [insert person’s profile].
- What are five questions I should ask in an informational interview with a [insert job title] ?
- Based on my resume, generate a short and engaging elevator pitch I can use for networking. [insert resume]
The Career Center has teamed up with the SJU Chapter of the American Marketing Association, the Women’s Leadership Initiative, Hawk Hub and the Women’s Center to bring you the Career Closet. The Career Closet is housed in the Women’s Center where you can pick up new and gently used professional clothing for your next interview, career fair, internship, or job. Please check back here for hours.
Every office culture is different, but you need to follow the dress code of your employer. Keep the following in mind:
- Ask your manager what the dress code is for the office (and any remote dress code expectations when in virtual meetings).
- Observe those around you and dress accordingly.
- If the office culture is generally casual, what you have on your calendar dictates what you wear each day. If you’re meeting with a client, or your team has a presentation, find out from your manager what the expectations are for these work situations.
- You can be professional and wear comfortable clothing, but don’t sacrifice professionalism for comfort.
- Clothing should be well fitting and workplace appropriate.
Professional Communication on the Internship/Job
While many people shifted to remote work in 2020, some recent college grads have never had the opportunity to work in-person, in an office setting. With many employers requiring employees to return to the office (RTO), office etiquette and professional communication are in the spotlight. Since these expectations may be new concepts to many, this guide is intended to introduce you to, or remind you of, expected behavior and protocols for professional communication in a workplace setting.
Emails should be written with the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why) in mind so they are complete and can be forwarded on to others with minimal editing. Organize your email to provide the context of the information you’re sharing or question you’re asking, always proofread it prior to sending to be sure you’ve covered the 5 W’s, and make sure it is error-free.
Emails are NOT texts and should be as comprehensive as possible. That said, proofread everything to be sure your emails are not excessively long.
Emails to someone you don’t know should start with Dear First Name, or Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. last name. Once you’re familiar with each other, you can shift to Hi First Name. Emails should never start with “Hey!”.
Well written communication is noted and remembered by recipients. It shows respect for the recipient’s time and demonstrates the ability to communicate professionally and understand your audience.
Conversation at work is not only friendly, but an important way to bond with your teammates and colleagues. That said, you have to monitor the length of time you spend in conversation that is not work related, respecting others’ time. Some tips include:
- Greet coworkers in the morning and say goodbye when you leave.
- Ask if people have plans for the weekend and then circle back the next week to ask about them - this shows you were listening and builds bonds.
- Take a genuine interest in what others say - listen carefully and don’t interrupt.
- Stay away from politics, religion, and gossip. Check inappropriate or offensive “humor” at the door.
- Make polite eye contact with people you meet, greet, and speak to.
- Find out what you have in common with teammates and colleagues.
- Be yourself! You will be spending a lot of time in the company of your coworkers and you want to get to know them and they, you, in a genuine and sincere way.
While ubiquitous and brought everywhere you go, keep the following in mind regarding personal cell phone use in the office:
- Keep your phone on silent mode.
- Place your phone face-down to avoid distractions at work and in meetings.
- Answer personal phone calls out of earshot of others; if it rings in a meeting (because you forgot to silence your phone), end the call quickly. DO NOT ANSWER IT.
- If you are expecting an important and urgent call, inform those you are meeting with prior to the meeting, so that if you need to take it, you can say "that's the call I have been expecting, I will return in a moment".
- Refrain from listening to voicemails on speaker.
- Avoid using Bluetooth earpieces during work hours.
Occasional down-time at work occurs along with scheduled breaks. Following are tips for how to manage both in an office environment:
- Take the allocated time for lunch breaks, but do not exceed it (without permission from your manager)
- Keep a running list of tasks you can tackle when you’re waiting on others’ input in completing projects. Tackle these tasks to remain productive while you wait.
- DO NOT scroll through social media or YouTube videos from your desk. You can do this on your lunch break but it should be obvious that you’re using your break time, not your employer’s, for such activities.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your resignation, you should make sure to leave on an extremely professional note, ensuring the door is always open for the future.
- Have a conversation with your manager followed by the submission of a formal resignation letter. Resigning via email is the equivalent of breaking up over text.
- Review all open projects with your manager to ensure time for meetings to discuss any transition of responsibility.
- Write detailed handover notes for your manager/team.
- Your final weeks on the job are the ones that will be remembered most. Ensure the success of your colleagues, department, and employer. Future job references will be impacted by the way you leave an organization, regardless of your performance throughout your tenure.
- Show up on time every day (maybe even a few minutes early to get settled in) and leave no earlier than the scheduled end-time. If you need to adjust your schedule, particularly with regard to a last minute schedule change such as traffic issues, illness or other last minute changes to your schedule, gain permission from your manager first.
- Inquire about preferred communication methods of your office; in some cases, texts may be appropriate but you should follow the established protocols.
- Learn the art of “Reporting Up” to avoid unnecessary conflicts and improve your relationship with your manager.
- Be respectful and polite - both go a long way in building and maintaining work relationships.
The Career Center educates you about responsible use of social media, in a manner that demonstrates your professional communication skills and serves to highlight your strengths.
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, currently connects over 400 million professionals, offering access to the networks of others, job opportunities, news, updates and more. To get started, visit LinkedIn and create your free profile. As you're using this platform, keep these tips in mind:
- Add a photo: Profiles of people who have added a professional-looking photo are much more memorable.
- Craft a compelling professional headline: This section, found under your name, should reflect your career goals. For example, ‘Aspiring Public Relations Professional’ tells a reader more than does ‘Saint Joseph’s University Marketing Major’. The same is true for location and industry. If you currently live in Philadelphia, for example, but wish to work in New York City upon graduation, list NYC as your location.
- Complete the Experience section: Your profile should reflect current and previous positions and professional accomplishments.
- Include your skills: Include skills that are valued in your field(s) of interest to increase the likelihood that recruiters will find your profile when seeking these skills.
- Add your Education: LinkedIn helps connect you with your classmates and with SJU alumni.
- Customize your LinkedIn URL: Include your customized LinkedIn URL in the contact information section of your resume, on business cards and in your email signature.
Regardless of the platform — current or emerging — it’s important to know that people use your online presence as the basis to form judgments, including decisions about whether or not to interview or hire you. Make responsible, well-informed decisions regarding the photos and other content you post. Consider if what you’re posting, tweeting, liking, etc. in your personal life represents how you want those in your professional networks to see you. Quickly give it the “Billboard Test.” Ask yourself, “Would I want this content on a billboard in Times Square with my name on it?” If not — if it would be too personal, inappropriate, or negative — then avoid posting altogether.
Unsure as to what constitutes negative content – potentially leading to an adverse hiring decision – from an employer perspective? Some of the most commonly cited answers from a CareerBuilder.com survey of recruiters include:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs (46%)
- Content about drug/alcohol use (40%)
- Negative comments about previous company (34%)
- Poor communication skills (30%)
- Discriminatory comments (29%)
However, there are many ways to leverage your social media presence in a positive manner. In the CareerBuilder.com survey cited above, recruiters commonly found information that interested them in interviewing or hiring a candidate; among them:
- Background info supported job qualifications (42%)
- Personality seen as good fit with company culture (38%)
- Social media conveyed professional image (38%)
- Great communication skills (37%)
- Creativity (30%)
Saint Joseph’s University is proud to offer you access to a LifeBrand social media dashboard. LifeBrand makes it possible for students, alumni and other members of our University community to maintain a meaningful digital presence on social media through AI-based technology.
LinkedIn Photo Booth
Introducing the LinkedIn Photo Booth, where all St. Joe’s students can get a complimentary, professional headshot taken right on campus to use on their LinkedIn profile, Handshake profile, and anywhere they need to present themselves professionally.
The LinkedIn Photo Booth is located in the Career Center (Wolfington Maguire campus, off of Cardinal Avenue, behind the Welcome Center). Hours of operation are 9:00 - 4:00, Monday to Friday.
- The background in the booth is beige/white, so wear something contrasting.
- Dress for the role you want: check out profiles of people in your industry. What are they wearing? Mimic the dress of your future peers to show recruiters you’re a fit for the culture you’re targeting.
- Women’s attire
- Men’s attire
- Non-binary/gender neutral attire (not super specific to Linkedin headshots)
- Cultural specific attire
How long does it take?
The actual “photo shoot” takes about 5 minutes. Allow 30 minutes in case there are people in front of you.
Can I edit my photos?
Yes! While in the booth, you can crop your photo, remove blemishes, and even whiten your teeth!
How long before I get my photo?
Your photos (3) will be emailed to you within 5 minutes.