Highlighting Coursework in the Application Process

By Rachel Tinker

So, you’re applying for your first internship. You have very little organization experience, but you have learned a lot about the industry from classes, and that’s okay. Everyone must start somewhere. Below are some ways you can best highlight your course experiences during the internship application process.

On Your Resume or In Your ePortfolio

If you have coursework that will help you stand out, such as writing samples, graphic design projects, multimedia content and more, consider making an ePortfolio. Take advantage of the School of Communications resources  to help you create an effective one. If you’ve worked with a client for a class, highlight that work in your ePortfolio, or even on your resume. Be mindful that you may have signed non-disclosure agreements with the client , so make sure you have permission first to include this work in an  eportfolio.  It’s best to ask  your professor or client. If you cannot use your work, your resume can also be a great place to feature some of the work you’ve completed. Examples of how to do that can be found on The Balance. Featuring your work in an eportfolio is always preferred, but either way, it allows for a hiring manager to get a better sense of your knowledge.

In Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a great place to reference an experience you’ve had working with a client. The SPDC offers a cover letter writing guide that helps with the structure. If you lack professional experience, consider highlighting how you used your skills or qualifications in your class. Consider how your coursework has challenged you to develop and use skills that would be useful in the internship.  This will demonstrate a greater understanding of the internship position, while also showing that you have the skills necessary to be a great intern.

In An Interview

An interview is the perfect time to bring up concrete examples of your expertise, even if those experiences are through the classroom. In the interview for my first internship, I brought up working with a client in my Strategic Campaigns class. My work with that client captured just about every element of work I would be doing in my internship, from strategic planning to developing content. Discussing my coursework and what I learned from it allowed my employer to get to know me in a more personal way. Rather than speaking generally, I could draw on my actual experiences that would benefit me as an intern, and I got hired!

Coursework is not a replacement for getting involved in student professional organizations and faciltiies, but it can help set you apart as a candidate ready for a working environment.

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