Published: April 19, 2023

picture of person writingAn unintentional mistake can keep you from a great job or internship opportunity. When searching for jobs or internships, be intentional with your approach and pay attention to the details in how you present yourself to potential employers.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls when seeking employment.

Adapt your resume to match the job description

Stand out from other applicants by tailoring your resume and cover letter for each opportunity, even if the jobs or internships seem similar. You don’t have to start from scratch each time, but you can make a few updates to add keywords and skills that match the job description. Your resume will get more traction if you follow that strategy.

Us the AI resume builer by Quinncia to get personalized feedback on your resume and make improvements. This online resume review tool leverages data science, machine learning and natural language processing to provide feedback based on criteria gathered from employers and global best practices.


Little mistakes on your resume or cover letter can stand out in a big way. These oversights can influence the employer’s overall perception of you as a candidate. Double-check names, job titles and companies on your application materials to ensure they match the job you are applying for—especially when creating tailored documents for each application.

Try proofreading your resume and cover letter starting at the end and moving backward to catch typos or errors. Ask a friend, family member or Career Services team member to proofread your materials.

Don’t let your social media tell the wrong story

Employers regularly search the internet to look for more information about candidates. If the social media content they find seems concerning, they may not move you to the next step.

If an employer searches your name online, what will they find? Will the information and photos they see help or hurt you in the job search? As you review your online activities, think about your online presence from an employer’s perspective. 

  • If there’s anything that could be perceived as negative or concerning, consider removing it. 
  • Consider which social media accounts you want to be private and check to ensure those settings are up to date. 
  • Be sure anything you put out is a good representation of who you are. This includes email names, social handles, websites, hashtags, photos, etc. 

Your online presence could be an asset in your job or internship search. Update your profiles to ensure they accurately reflect you, your activities and your interests. For example, if you’re passionate about making a change in the world, show how you’re involved in your community with photos, blogs or shared articles. Be active in your field of interest on social media. Especially on LinkedIn, you can post industry-related news, questions, quotes or articles. Follow inspiring people and companies in your field, but avoid connecting with hiring managers unless invited or until that person has hired you.

Don’t be afraid to go for it

The only way to not be considered for an internship or job is never to apply. We can talk ourselves out of great opportunities if we don’t think we meet all the qualifications listed in the description. If you’re interested in a position and think you could do the job well, apply—even if you don’t meet every single item on the list. Most employers will interview candidates if they meet most of their criteria.

For more tips on finding an internship or job, check out weekly programs and workshops from Career Services. These free workshops will share best practices for resumes, networking, making progress in your search and more.