My New Student Intern Stood Out from Other Applicants – Want to Know Why?

It can be challenging for high school students and college students to land paid internships and build their resumes. As an employer, with a team of 35 part-time and full-time members, we have a limited capacity to take on interns. My heart, as a college major-career coach working in the college counseling space, is to help as many students as possible, but the reality of running two businesses is there’s not a lot of time to teach students.

The Job Description

Part-time social media intern for up to 10 hours of remote work per week. I’ll share parts of the post, but it’s since been taken down once we made a hire.

We detailed both the responsibilities and the requirements of the position. At the end of the post, I always very specifically how to apply. What many applicants don’t realize is….it’s a test.

Here is part of the instructions:

“If you’d like to be considered for this role, please submit the following via email to (our email) using the subject line, Your Next Social Media Intern.

      • Cover letter and PDF of your resume
      • Answer the following questions:
        • Why do you think you are the best fit for this position?
        • Share URL’s of your social media presence personally or for brands you have worked with.
      • If you’ve taken the Enneagram please share your Enneagram number when applying.”

What Via, our new intern, did correctly was to follow the instructions to a T – something even many adult applicants mess up.


  • If something says PDF, then make it a PDF, not a Word doc.
  • When requesting specific items, give them. I won’t ask twice and other employers (and colleges for that matter) won’t either.
  • Proofread for errors before you send. In this case, it was crucial as the role requires strong written communication. If grammar isn’t your strength, install the free version of Grammarly on your computer for some extra help….it’s saved me before, and I LOVE grammar!

Screening Applicants

I checked out all applicants’ professional presence first which means LinkedIn. Via was up against those who already held degrees, but her profile stood out as more professional than others. It was sooooo good that it practically replicated the framework and format I teach in my Launch Career Clarity course. You can download my instructions for creating a student LinkedIn profile – here’s the link.

Next was a check of the social media URL’s she provided to showcase the work she’s created. Not only was the work quality, but it also resonated with how she was representing herself in her application. AND it actually resonates with our branding and who we want to reach.

Finally, we always check personal social media to be sure this is the type of person we want on our team. 36% of college admissions officers also check social media on their applicants.

According to EdWeek, “And what admissions officers find is just as likely to help a student as to hurt them. In fact, 37.9 percent of admissions officers say they found something in an applicants’ social media profile that helped the prospective student’s cause, compared to 32.3 percent who say they found something that hurt an applicant.”

The Job Interview

On-time – check. Professionally dressed – check. At ease and confident – check.

Via handled the questions with ease and connected well. When I teach my Launch Career Clarity students how to make great connections, the first rule is to make the effort to be interestED, instead of interestING, and the connections will come.

During the interview, it was obvious she had done her homework on our brand and services. She wanted to learn more and hear our story. Not only did she ask questions, but none of them would have been easily answered with a visit to our website and social media.

The Follow Up

Given the strength of her interview process, I was not surprised when Via sent a thank-you email to our operations manager and me. You’d be amazed at the number of applicants who don’t follow up. Over the last 4 months, our organization has made 3 hires including our intern. All finalists wrote a thank you note…or they would not have been finalists in our organization.

I would have made a couple of slight tweaks to her email verbiage, not to correct, but to make it stronger. Actually, I will be giving it to her as soon as she starts – I give it to my students as part of our email templates for engaging with companies, organizations, potential employers, and colleges.

The Fit

In all honesty, it hit the sweet spot of hard skills and soft skills which is something every employer strives for.