10 Resume & Cover Letter Tips
1. Make sure you include this info in your cover letter:
- Who you are and why you’re writing to them (be sure to mention you’re participating in the Boston University LA Internship Program in the first paragraph and that you’re looking for a SPRING, SUMMER, or FALL semester internship).
- The specific position you’re applying for. “Any opening at Lionsgate would rock my world” doesn’t work. Pick one spot and make a case for why you’d be the best at it.
- Why you are writing to them and what you specifically like about their company.
- How your unique experience and skill set are going to make their lives easier every day. Be specific and consider this approach from several angles. It’s more about them than you.
- When you will be available for an interview. (i.e. “I will arrive in Los Angeles on [insert BULA Check-In date here] and can be available for an in-person meeting that week. Until then, I am available to answer questions via phone, Skype or email.”)
- Include your phone number and email address in your cover letter.
2. Keep it short! At this stage in your career, your resume should not be more than one page. Prospective employers often review as many as 2,000 applications each semester and will simply toss a resume that’s too long. Limit your cover letter to 3 paragraphs.
3. Make sure your resume and cover letter look nice. Don’t get too snazzy, but pay attention to font size (no smaller than 10 Point), make it easy to read, and keep spaces, dashes, commas, and periods consistent.
4. Research the do’s and don’ts of resume writing. The BULA program will help you secure an internship(s), but you’ve got to do the legwork in professionally marketing yourself. Check out www.bu.edu/careers, http://newgradlife.info, yourindustryinsider.com, and careerbuilder.com.
5. Unless directed otherwise, put your cover letter in the body of your email. The only attachment should be your resume, and it should be in PDF form to preserve formatting. Send a test resume to a friend to make sure it looks the way you intended on the receiving end!
6. Remove your physical address from both your resume and cover letter. Why?
- Safety: You never know who is going to have access to that document.
- Location: If you continuously highlight that you’re not in LA yet, your resume might be put on the back burner.
- Commute: Even once you get an LA-based address, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because your potential employer assumed you wouldn’t be willing to commute.
7. Include your LinkedIn URL in the signature of your cover letter email. Make absolutely certain your LinkedIn profile matches the resumes you’re sending out. If you have a website that looks AMAZING, also include that URL in the signature of your cover letter email. Be careful NOT to be viewed as “self-promoting”.
8. Unless you directed a film that got 100,000 hits on YouTube or you wrote a script that won awards, do not list your student work.
9. Write like a human. Hollywood is full of personality, so be professional, but also friendly and unique. You’re likely to get your internship based on your skill set AND how fun you are to be around.
10. Say “thank you” for taking the time to read your submission!