5 Tips for Getting an Entry-Level Job Unrelated to Your Major

It’s increasingly common for college seniors to realize that the major they selected years ago and have been working hard towards completing has no direct path into the workforce. For example, if you majored in History, Philosophy, Anthropology, or Art History, you probably don’t have many obvious career paths. Fortunately, there are plenty of recent grads who have gone on to become wildly successful in roles outside of anything their college major focused on.

Here are 5 actionable tips to help you break in to a role unrelated to your major:

1. Choose the Right Positions

There are quite a few positions out there for recent grads that don’t require specific college degrees. Choosing which ones are the right ones for you can be more of a burden than actually breaking into that field. If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the best positions for you, we have a guide to help you start your search.
Otherwise, figuring out what types of roles you’d excel at or want to excel at can make a world of a difference.

2. Get an Internship

This is the most surefire way to transition into an entry-level role. Internships, by definition, are supposed to provide you with real-world experience in a role. They shouldn’t ever require that you have any existing experience.

Sites like WayUp aren’t only there to help current students find internships. Even if you’ve already graduated, internships can be great opportunities for you. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’ve already graduated that an internship will be easy to get. They’re becoming more competitive all of the time and you’ll want to look at doing some of the other tactics mentioned in these tips if you want to ensure you lock down that internship.

3. Start a Related Side Project

Side projects aren’t just for engineers and designers. If you’re looking to get into marketing, start a blog or some social media accounts that aren’t personal to practice representing a brand.

Another way to get some side project experience is to offer your skills for free. Find a small, local company near you and offer to help them run their social media campaigns for free. Want to learn more about sales? Find a local business with a sales team and ask if you can listen in on some of their calls.

4. Learn to Sell Yourself

Don’t focus solely on your skills. If employers are going to take a chance on a recent grad, they want to know that you’ll be passionate, driven, trustworthy, and respectful. Look back into your life experiences and figure out ways in which you can relate them to the position you’re applying for.

Don’t assume that your coursework is completely irrelevant. You may not immediately see how taking that ‘5th Century Greek Theater’ course could possibly help you excel at a ‘Volunteer Coordinator’, but it just might be your ticket. It’s possible that the morals of the plays were important life lessons to you and show that you can take away nuggets of helpful information from every context. Seek to make every experience an asset.

5. Discover a Mentor

The internet can be a great resource when researching career options or starting a side project. However, there’s another fantastic resource at your immediate disposal: people who are already in the career you’re looking at.

Search on Meetup for individuals or groups related to your career interests and get involved. Meeting people is a great way to learn more about a particular role and gain exposure to what the people in that role (the ones that will be hiring you) are looking for in candidates. If you can, try and get one of them to mentor you. The more you can use their connections to meet other individuals in the field, the better.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.

How to Answer: What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Being fully prepared for the interview process means knowing what questions to anticipate. One of those questions is, “What are your salary expectations?” You won’t encounter this question during an internship interview, but it’s likely to come up if you’re interviewing for an entry-level job. Why do employers ask this? If you’re a recent college grad, it’s because they want to make sure that you have a sense of the industry you’re trying to enter and are coming into the job with realistic expectations.

Entry-level salaries vary by job type and industry, so knowing as much as possible about your field is extremely important when preparing to answer this question. Another thing to note is that entry-level salaries are most often not open to negotiation.

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing to answer.

When it’s not appropriate to negotiate.

“If you’re recruited into a formal entry-level program (a program where a class of people starts together and trains together) the answer is likely going to be no to a salary negotiation,” explains Liane Hajduch, a former campus recruiter for RBC Capital Markets.

This includes fields like investment banking, consulting and engineering, all of which have structured salaries for entry-level jobs. If you’re entering one of those industries, it’s best not to negotiate! However, you should still come into the interview knowing the salary range for the position and having a clear sense of what to expect if you’re offered the job.

Say something like: “I expect to be paid a salary that is commensurate with the industry standard for an entry-level candidate joining this position.”

Pro tip: Sites like Payscale and Glassdoor offer a lot of information about salary ranges and can give you additional insights about a company including the average salary by job type.

When it is appropriate to negotiate.

If you’re entering a more creative field (think media or marketing) and have previous relevant experience, then negotiation might be possible. “I recommend doing your research on the industry and what similar entry-level hires are being paid,” explains Hajduch. “If you know your worth, and you have data to prove it, you’ll have a much stronger case than if you make it subjective or emotional.”

Once you’ve done the research and know the range for the position, be ready to show the interviewer that you have the skills and commitment to deserve the highest salary within that range.

Say something like: “I know the average salary for this type of entry-level position is in the $35,000-$40,000 range. I think that I would be a great fit for the role due to my past internship experience and I am expecting a salary within that range.”

Answering “What are your salary expectations?” effectively is easy if you come into the conversation prepared and with some solid research under your belt. Be confident and straightforward, but also remember that flexibility will go a long way toward making a good impression on the interviewer and the company.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as When to Start Applying for a Summer Internship and find answers to common interview questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here?

How to Set Great Internship or Job Goals

Goals are critical to succeeding at your internship or entry-level job for several reasons.

  1. They help you focus on what matters and avoid spending time on fruitless endeavors.
  2. They enable you to track your progress and ensure you’re having the impact you want to have.
  3. They help you align expectations with your manager and stay on the same page.
  4. They allow you to document and demonstrate your effort and impact at the company, which can help you get a raise, promotion, or recommendation.

What Makes a Good Internship or Entry-Level Goal?

First, all goals should be several things:

  1. In your direct control.
    There’s no point in holding yourself accountable for things you can’t control. For example, if you’re in a social media marketing role, you should create a goal around growing the number of engaged followers by 50% instead of a goal to increase the revenue you get from each social media follower.
  2. Measurable.
    Avoid vague goals like “Grow our brand awareness.”. You’ll never know when you achieve vague goals. The easiest way to make goals measurable is to ensure there are numbers attached to them.
  3. Ambitious.
    Your goals should push you. They shouldn’t be easily accomplished. Goals don’t exist to make you feel accomplished. They exist to help you accomplish great things.

In addition, internship goals should have a specific focus on learning. That learning focus can be on you learning whether you want to pursue a career similar to the internship, learning a specific skill, or learning to succeed in a particular professional environment.

Good entry-level job goals aren’t so different in that there should be an emphasis on learning. However, learning cannot be the only goal as your impact is critical to your ability to maintain your career.

How to Choose Your Goals

Setting the best, achievable goals for your internship or entry-level job largely depends on knowing what you want, what you’re capable of, what your role will enable you to reasonably do, and what the company is trying to do. When setting your goals, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions.

First, ask yourself why you accepted this internship or job. This should help you figure out what you should try and learn from it. Understanding your own personal motivation for taking the job should help you set a good personal learning goal.

Second, consider what the company is trying to do. Your goals should benefit you and the company. If your goals don’t align with the company’s goals, then your efforts likely won’t have any impact on the company’s success and you won’t be able to demonstrate your value to the company.

Third, ask yourself what type of impact you’d like to have on the company. What would you be most proud of achieving?

Fourth, examine the responsibilities of the role you have at the company and determine what your role will enable you to achieve. If you’re a sales intern, you probably won’t be super successful at helping the company achieve their engineering-related goals.

Setting the Scope of Your Goals

If you’re a summer intern, you probably shouldn’t have a yearly goal. Instead, you should set a goal for your summer internship.

Entry-level employees should start by trying to set 5 year goals. If you have absolutely no idea where you’d like to be in 5 years and what you’d like to be doing, that’s totally fine; start with 1 year goals instead. From those 1 year goals work backwards into quarterly and monthly goals. Some companies set quarterly goals and some set monthly goals. The scope of your goals should match with your company’s scope.

Internship Goal Examples

  1. Grow Twitter followers by 25% by the end of summer.

    Social Media Marketing Intern

  2. Demo 5 new accounts each week.

    Sales Intern

  3. Write 10 new articles each month.

    Content Marketing Intern

  4. Learn Ruby on Rails and deploy 1 new feature by the end of summer.

    Software Engineering Intern

  5. Have coffee with 1 full-time employee each week.

    Anyone

Entry-Level Job Goal Examples

  1. Create 2 new icons and add them to the icon font each month.

    Visual Designer

  2. Reduce expenses each quarter by 5%.

    Financial Analyst

  3. Retain 80% of part-time volunteers each quarter.

    Non-Profit Volunteer Coordinator

  4. Shadow a different person in their role at the company each month.

    Anyone

Tracking Your Progress

Once you have your goals set, you’ll need to be diligent about tracking your progress. A good rule of thumb is to check in on your status one time dimension below the scope of your goals. For example, you should check on your progress towards any yearly goals every quarter. You should check on any quarterly goals every month. You should check on any monthly goals every week.

Keep track of your progress somewhere digital (a spreadsheet or Google doc are good options). It’s not only important to know whether or not you’re making good progress, but at what rate you’re making progress. This can help you tie the progress to specific actions you took.

Assessing Your Impact

The final, and perhaps the most critical part, of effectively using goals in your internship or entry-level job is to ensure that you take time to reflect on the goals you set. You may have achieved them, or you may not have. Regardless, you should take time to think about:

  1. Did this goal actually measure the impact that you had? Was it a good goal?
  2. Why did you or did you not meet your goal?
  3. Was this goal effective in motivating you?
  4. Should you use this goal again?

Now that you know why goals are a critical part of any internship or entry-level job and how to set good ones, go use your new knowledge! Your manager will be impressed. We promise.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What Is Supply Chain Management?

If you’ve ever heard of supply chain management, you might be wondering exactly what it is and how it fits into other areas of business. To find out the answer, we recently sat down with Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky. She’s the president of Process & Strategy Solutions, and she gave us some great insights into supply chains and how they impact the economy.

Here’s what she had to say about working in supply chain management.

What exactly is supply chain management?

Supply chain management is not a new concept. But it’s definitely a concept that has changed in recent years. At its core, it boils down to satisfying customer demands and finding the most efficient ways to get a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. For example, when you buy a phone, a supply chain is responsible for manufacturing that phone and for all of the steps involved in getting it delivered to you.

In recent years, supply chains have become more complex, and this has led to new challenges. “Companies used to think they had basically one supply chain,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. “Now, because there is such an abundance of supply, we create supply chains to satisfy what customers value.”

What this means is that companies require more processes in order to serve their customers better. The good news? With increased demands come increased opportunities for employment and career development.

What types of jobs are involved in supply chain management?

Supply chain management includes everything from data analysis to transportation management. The key to finding a role that’s a good fit is knowing where your interests lie. You then have to develop skill sets to match them.

Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky recommends doing this by identifying what you’re passionate about. “What do you find yourself coming back to?” she asks. Whether that’s working with data, developing processes, or working closely with other people, supply chain management involves all sorts of career options that could work for you.

Is supply chain management a cross-functional industry?

Because a supply chain has so many moving pieces, working in supply chain management absolutely involves some degree of cross-functionality. Although there is some variation depending on the role you pick — for example, a data analyst will likely have a less cross-functional position than a transportation manager — most roles in the industry do rely on team-oriented processes to deliver results.

Is supply chain management a good field for recent grads?

“Globalization has opened up more competition, leading to increased supply chain requirements,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. As a result, there are now increased demands that can’t be met by the existing older workforce. “Baby boomers are leaving the workforce and few are being trained to take their places. On top of that, many were or are in legacy jobs that need to be updated for today’s realities,” she emphasizes. Because of these gaps, there is an immediate need for fresh talent to enter the field, not only to fill existing positions but also to help create new ones.

Working in supply chain management is an exciting chance to learn about the processes that power a consumer-driven economy. It’s also a great opportunity to participate in a field that is rapidly changing and evolving to serve a new generation of consumers. If turning that opportunity into action sounds like an exciting prospect, then supply chain management might just be for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?

Top 10 Things You Should Look For In a Company

Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, finding a great position goes way beyond the job description. From company culture to opportunities for growth, there are several things you should keep in mind when deciding between potential employers.

Here are the top things to look for in a company.

1. Do the company’s values align with yours?

One of the most important things to consider when researching potential employers is how their values align with yours. This is because working for a company is about a lot more than just the hours you put in each day. It’s about knowing that the company values some of the same things you do (like honesty, integrity and hard work) and understanding how those values match up with your own. Whether it’s finding a company with a model you admire or one that takes environmental action seriously and donates money to prevent global warming, you should feel that you and your potential employer stand for the same things and that you can build a lasting relationship.

2. Does the company culture fit your personality?

Many employers list cultural fit as the most important thing they look for when interviewing candidates, and you should put this at the top of your list too. For example, if you’re more comfortable in a relaxed environment than a conservative one, then a company with a corporate culture might not be a great fit for you. Before you sign that offer letter, take the time to assess how you’d fit in at the company and how the company culture would fit you.

3. Are the team members people you’d love to work with?

Whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your new co-workers so it’s important to make sure that they’re people you’d like to work with. This goes hand-in-hand with cultural fit and it’s something you should be aware of when considering a new opportunity. The average American spends around one-third of each weekday at work, so having co-workers you get along with is a key part of being happy at your job.

4. Will you be offered opportunities to learn?

Having the chance to learn new things is important in any position, but it’s especially important during the early stages of your career. For that reason, finding an internship or full-time job that allows you to learn as much as possible is key to the development of your career.

5. Is there room for growth within the company?

In addition to offering you opportunities to learn about the industry, a great company should also offer opportunities for advancement within the organization. This is even more important in the case of internships and entry-level jobs because the opportunity for a promotion (or a full-time job) is a great incentive to learn as much as possible and prove your commitment to the team. The exception to this is if you’re not looking for a long-term opportunity but are looking to gain experience for a year or two before going to grad school.

6. Will your managers make you feel appreciated?

Feeling appreciated is an important part of any life experience, but it’s especially important in your working life. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that there should be company-sponsored happy hours or free weekly lunches, it does mean that your employer should make you feel valued by offering positive feedback and supporting your efforts to learn and improve.

7. Does the company offer security and stability?

One of the most important things a company can offer its employees is a secure and stable environment. This doesn’t just mean a regular paycheck (although that’s part of it), but also a proven history of steady success and a sense of job security. Although it’s unrealistic to expect smooth sailing all the time, a solid track record is a great indication that the company can provide you with the type of environment you need to succeed.

8. Does the company set you up for success?

Although a lot of your professional success will depend on you, there are several things an employer can do to set you for a great outcome. This includes everything from in-depth training to goal setting and regular feedback, factors that are especially important as your begin your career.

9. Will your role teach your transferrable skills?

In addition to offering training for your current role, a great company will set you up for future success by teaching you transferrable skills that you can use in your next position. When applying for a job, ask yourself what you can learn from the role and don’t be afraid to discuss training opportunities and skill building during your interview.

10. Will you be challenged in a positive way?

Being challenged to learn and to grow is one of the key markers of a great company. In fact, getting out of your company zone is one of the best ways to learn new skills and to find out who you are as a professional. Look for companies that make you feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and offer the support you need to turn those challenges into wins.

Whether you’re embarking on your first job search or your fifth, finding a company that will provide you with great opportunities requires some research. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the right fit and to give yourself the best chance of success.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Much Should I be Paid at an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

How to Answer: Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake

Although no one likes talking about their mistakes, being able to discuss your past mistakes in a job interview can actually be a great way of impressing the interviewer. So when you encounter a question like, “Tell me about a time you made a mistake,” during an interview for an internship or entry-level job, you should focus on how you dealt with the mistake and what you were able to learn from it. When the hiring manager asks this question, it’s not because they’re trying to trip you up; rather, it’s a chance for the interviewer to see that you are able to acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them, two very important qualities. An employer would rather hire candidates who admit and grow from their mistakes than those who think they never make any.

As with any frequently asked question, it’s important to make sure you have an answer prepared before you go in for the job interview. These tips will help you describe a time you made a mistake in a way that will make it clear you’re the right person for the job.

Be honest

It’s important to be able to admit that you’re capable of making mistakes (as we all are), and that you’re willing and able to admit it. Therefore, you should refer to an actual mistake you made instead of attempting to appear that you don’t make any.

Take responsibility

It’s tempting to catalog how other people’s actions led to your error. But if you spend time during your interview talking about all the ways in which others — or the company itself — failed, you’re not actually admitting you made a mistake. Instead of pointing the finger at others, acknowledge the role you played. Your answer should be related to work; the interviewer doesn’t want to hear about the argument you had with your parents. Nor do you want to reveal any mistakes that could indicate a lack of professionalism on your part. Stick with school or work-related issues that stemmed from a true oversight or misunderstanding:

Highlight the resolution

Make sure to spend time discussing how you addressed the problem and outline the concrete steps to took to rectify it. The interviewer will want to know how you handle complications.

Emphasize lessons learned

Demonstrate that the mistake you made was not in vain. The interviewer wants to know that you can learn from your mistakes and take action to make sure they don’t happen again. By concluding the story of your mistake with what you learned, you can frame the incident in a positive light and show that you’re able to grow from your mistakes.

Say something like: “At my previous internship, I underestimated the amount of time I would need to work on a presentation for a team meeting. I was still getting used to the workflow in a busy office so I didn’t realize that I would need an extra few hours to put a deck together. Luckily, I managed to catch the mistake before the presentation was due to take place and asked my manager for help to complete it in time. It was a valuable lesson in time management and I’ve become better at prioritization and mapping out my schedule as a result of that experience.”

While it can be awkward to discuss mistakes you’ve made, your ability to do so is an asset. Interviewers know it’s a difficult question, and that’s why the right response will signal that you’re the right candidate for the job.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Dress for a Job Interview at a Nonprofit and find answers to common interview questions such as What Motivates You?

3 Ways To Be More Productive At Work

Whether you’re just starting your first internship or you’re already settled into a full-time job, being productive is something that should be at the top of your mind. Why? Because productivity not only makes you a better employee, it also ensures that you can be successful in your role and advance in your career.

Here are three things you can do to be more productive at work.

1. Have a consistent morning routine

If you’ve ever read about the daily routines of successful entrepreneurs, then you know that most of them have very specific things they do every morning, from answering their emails right when they wake up to making sure that they take the time to exercise. Although you might not consider yourself an entrepreneur like Michael Dell (yet) having a morning routine is important even when you’re just starting out. A good way to create your routine is by figuring out the things that are most important in your day and then prioritizing them accordingly. For example, if you know that creating a to-do list and answering emails first thing in the morning will make your more productive throughout the day, make these tasks part of your morning routine and tackle them before you move on to anything else.

2. Focus on one thing at a time

While multitasking might seem like a great thing in theory, studies have consistently shown that it doesn’t work. What does work is focusing your attention on specific tasks by dividing up up your day into blocks of time. For example, if you’re a social media manager whose day involves creating social media posts, analyzing campaign performance and attending meetings, blocking off time to work on each of those tasks will ensure that you’re able to focus on each one individually and accomplish them effectively. A quick way to do this is by closing out all the tabs and programs you have open on your computer, leaving open only the ones you need for the task at hand.

3. Take breaks and know when to unplug

Taking breaks might seem counterintuitive to productivity, especially during a busy day when you have a lot to do, but they’re actually a great way to recharge your body and reset your mind. A good rule of thumb is to take a 5-10 minute break every hour to stretch your legs and look away from your computer screen. Methods like the Pomodoro Technique can come in handy here, since they’ll help you stay mindful of the passing hours and remind you to take breaks when you need them. Even more important is the idea of totally unplugging once you leave for the day. Although it may be tempting to keep checking your email, doing so will only keep you in work mode longer, making it harder to relax and making you more tired in the meantime. To truly be productive, it’s important to have some time offline every night to focus on other things and recharge for the following day.

Being productive is a great way to be successful in your role and to show your manager that you’re enthusiastic about your job. By following these steps, you’ll be able to get all your work done and still find time to have fun.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Negotiate a Job Offer and find answers to common interview questions such as What Motivates You?

Questions for You to Ask at the End of an Interview

As you near the end of your interview, the hiring manager will likely turn to you and say, “So, do you have any questions for me?” The answer should always be yes. In fact, many employers automatically reject candidates who don’t have questions because they don’t seem sufficiently interested in the role.

By asking the interviewer questions, you’ll able to walk away from the interview with a better idea of whether or not the job is a good fit for you, while also showing the employer that you’re engaged in the process and that you care about the position. So whether you’re interviewing for an internship or an entry-level job, asking questions is something you should do in every interview.

Here are the top questions to ask at the end of your interview.

Company-Specific Questions

These questions relate to the organization itself and are fine to ask in almost any interview.

1.  What makes working at this company special?

This question shows employers that you’re not just looking for any sort of job but that you care about finding the right cultural fit.

2. How do you see this company/industry evolving in the next 5 to 10 years?

By asking this question, you let employers know that you’re interested in the future of the company and care about how your professional growth aligns with the company’s growth.

3. I know one of the company’s values is [value]. How is that defined and demonstrated here at the company?

When you ask this question, you demonstrate to employers that you did your research and that you’re looking for a company that aligns with your values.

4. What qualities and attributes make for a successful employee here?
This question demonstrates to employers that you are eager to succeed and that you are making sure you will be a good fit for the company.

Role-Specific Questions

These questions are specific to the position you’re interviewing for so be careful when asking them and research as much as you can about the role beforehand. For example, asking about the day-to-day responsibilities of a role is appropriate for a consulting position but would seem out of place during an interview for a sales job, where the primary responsibilities involve reaching out to potential clients and selling the company’s products.

1. What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?

This question is important to ask if you are unsure what the role entails, particularly if the position is cross-function or part of a small team. This will help you get a better understanding of the job and whether it is the right job for you.

2. What is the most challenging aspect of the job?

By asking this question, you let employers know that you are rational in your expectations – no job is going to be a walk in the park. You should also know both the good and bad things regarding the job you are interviewing for.

3. What does the ideal candidate for this role look like?

When you ask this question, you are able to assess whether your skills and background align with what the company is looking for.

Wrap-Up Questions

These are great questions to ask as the interview is winding down though again, some are more appropriate for certain interviews than others. For example, if you’re interviewing for a junior role, the question about next steps should always be directed to the person who set up your interview in the first place.

1. What are the next steps? What is your timeline for making a decision and when should I expect to hear back from you?

This question is important to ask because this will tell you what to expect in the next steps of the interview process. This is also a good time to tell employers about time-sensitive things they should know about such as if you have other offers on the table or if you need to figure out arrangements for relocation, visas, etc. Again, be sure to ask this question to your hiring manager.

2. Is there anything else I can provide you with to help you with your decision?

This question is a polite way to make sure everything is covered and there is no uncertainty around your candidacy. This will also give you peace of mind since you have done everything you can to nail the interview.

3. What’s been your best moment at [company]?

This is a great wrap-up question because it asks the hiring manager to reflect on one of their great experiences with the company and to show some the value they’ve gained by working there. This question is the perfect way to end on a high note and we recommend asking it in every interview.

 

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as The Art of Networking Offline and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?.

3 Cover Letter Mistakes You Never Knew You Were Making

One of the keys to landing an awesome job is starting off on the right foot with the recruiter. Writing a strong resume and filling out your WayUp profile are the best ways to get started, but if you want to really stand out, a cover letter can be a great way to demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization. That said, few things are as annoying to recruiters as a poorly written cover letter. So, what can you do to ensure that yours make a good impression? Here are the top three cover letter mistakes and tips on what you can do to fix them.

1. Focusing too much on yourself and your resume.

Although it’s great to list one or two key accomplishments that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, your cover letter shouldn’t rehash your resume. In fact, it should focus on the things that you can bring to the table and only mention the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position. Instead of summarizing your achievements, go beyond your resume and make your experiences personal to the job.

Pro Tip: Quantifying achievements with metrics is a wonderful way to demonstrate the impact you’ve had at previous jobs and to help hiring managers envision you as a member of their team.

2. Making it longer than a page.

Another common cover letter mistake a lot of college students and recent grads make is to write a letter that’s far too long. Although this might be tempting (after all, you want to show the hiring manager that you’ve done a lot of cool things and could do a wonderful job for them), it’s important to remember that employers are often quite busy and often don’t have time to read a two-page letter. Instead of telling them your whole life story, focus on conveying your enthusiasm for the role and highlighting 2-3 key things that define your work and your personality.

Pro Tip: Knowing how to structure your cover letter will go a long way toward ensuring that you get it right. We recommend keeping it to three paragraphs with the first paragraph mentioning why you’re applying for the position, the second paragraph explaining your interest in the role and the industry and the third paragraph discussing your qualifications. This is a great way to ensure that you’re hitting on all the right points without going overboard on the length.

3. Not checking for typos and grammar mistakes.

Of all the mistakes you can make on your cover letter, not proofreading for typos is probably the worst. This signifies a lack of attention and also a lack of care, two things that are unlikely to impress recruiters. The best way to avoid this is by making sure to read through your letter at least three times and asking a friend or family member to take a look at it too.

Pro Tip: Here’s a proofreading tip you may not have heard before: Reading backwards is an excellent way to catch spelling mistakes that you might otherwise gloss over. The best way to do it is by going through the letter word by word (starting with your signature) and working your way to the top.

While a strong cover letter can help you get noticed by employers, a weak one might hurt your chances of getting hired. By knowing what mistakes to look out for — and what to do if they pop up — you’ll be able to write the kind of cover letter that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Become a Financial Analyst and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

3 Things You Didn’t Know About the Aerospace and Defense Industry

The aerospace and defense industry is full of incredible achievements, and a career in this area will put you at the forefront of future advances in engineering and technology for aircraft, spacecraft, watercraft and more. If you’re considering working in aerospace and defense, below are three things you might not have known about industry leader Lockheed Martin and the industry as a whole. These facts might prove helpful when you’re interviewing for a job in this field and want to prove you’ve done your research.

1. Lockheed Martin’s U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft can ascend to 70,000 feet.

This aircraft nearly doubles a commercial airplane’s cruising altitude, and it reaches most of that height in roughly the same amount of time it takes a passenger plane to get to 35,000 feet. The U-2 Dragon Lady is a spy plane that took its first flight all the way back in 1955, and has an average mission success rate of 97 percent. When it’s not completing spy missions and flying beyond the reach of radar, it’s used to help with disaster relief efforts during and after earthquakes, floods or forest fires. At its highest altitude, it connects to satellites, making worldwide communication possible. And Lockheed Martin had the first U-2 up in the air just nine months after they started the program to build it.

2. Landing on Mars might not be so far away.

Lockheed Martin is the contractor behind the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a NASA spacecraft engineered to bring humans into deep space for long-term missions. Currently, Lockheed Martin is studying what it will take for humans to travel farther into space than ever before, and be able to return home safely. Their goal is to bring humans to Mars by the year 2028. It’s all part of a NASA initiative called “Journey to Mars”.

3. The space industry has been using solar power since the 1950s.

The popularity of solar power may seem relatively new to most of us, but for the aerospace industry, it’s been used for over six decades to keep the power running on spacecraft. A satellite called Vanguard 1 was launched in 1958, with power from solar cells keeping it in orbit. It claims the title of “oldest man-made satellite in orbit”.

Working in the space and defense industry means you’ll be contributing to a legacy of record-breaking achievements and impressive feats of science, math and technology. Want to learn how to get a job in space and defense? Check out our guide to the industry.