I’ve screened over 300 people in the last 4 months — there are 2 huge mistakes job applicants are making right now

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As an assistant managing editor at Business Insider, a big part of my job is hiring for our internship program.

Summer internship season is in full swing, so I’ve been reading applications and talking to a lot of candidates.

These are the two biggest mistakes people are making over and over again that sometimes prevents them from getting an interview, or the position.

1. Not including a cover letter when the job listing asks for one

If the job listing asks for a cover letter, write one. End. Of. Story. Your cover letter not only gives me a good sense of your writing style, it also shows me that you care about getting the position and can follow directions.

Even if you have the most impressive resume I have ever seen, I’m probably not going to set up an interview with you if you don’t include a cover letter.

And by the way, keep your cover letter short, and write a different one for every job you apply to.

2. Not sending a follow up ‘thank you’ email

This is huge.

Sending me a thank you email a few hours after we speak, or the next morning is the only way I’m going to move you forward in the application process. The thank you note shows me that you want the job, and also puts your name at the top of my inbox. If I don’t get a thank you note I assume that after chatting with me you realised the job wasn’t right for you, and you’ve moved on.

If you talked to more than one person, you should send a note to each of them.

Here’s a great example of a thank you note:

Hello Leah,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about the internship at INSIDER. It was a pleasure meeting you and Julie. I wanted to reiterate my appreciation for the time you spent discussing the responsibilities of the internship. After our conversation, I believe my skills and experiences are a great match for this opportunity. I am truly excited about the possibility of joining the INSIDER team. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me! Have a great weekend and I look forward to hearing from you soon!


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