Career Resources

Below is a list of resources that may be helpful as you begin your job and internship search. Join the College of Media at Illinois on LinkedIn. For resume or cover letter review, contact The Career Center.

Resume and Cover Letter

RESUME GUIDELINES 
A resume is a continuous evolving document that explains your work history, different experiences, and skills. When an employer reads your resume, they should be able to gain insight into your skill set, what knowledge you possess and how you see yourself fit within the company. Employers will often develop their first impression of you based off your resume. So, think of your resume as a marketing tool! Be sure to carefully proofread your resume and have it reviewed by multiple people, double check grammar, spelling and punctuation. 

Below are guidelines to help you write and create a strong resume. For additional information on writing your resume, please visit The Career Center. 

How long should my resume be? 
As a current student or a new graduate, you will be applying for entry-level positions, so you will want to limit your resume to ONE PAGE. Be sure to list out the most important experiences, skills and involvement that relates to that specific job/internship position you are applying to. 

What format should I use? 
There is no correct way to format your resume. But there are several guidelines to follow. Typically, resumes will have a balance of white space and text. At minimum, it is recommended to use .5 to 1.5 inch margins.  It is also suggested that you use an easily readable font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri at a 10-to-12-point font size. 

Be sure to also stay consistent with formatting throughout your resume. All your information needs to be aligned along with consistency with using Bold, Italics, and Underline within your text. 

To see different resume examples, please visit The Career Center.

What information should I include on my resume? 
There is no correct way to list your experiences or skills, but there are different guidelines that you want to follow. For students and new graduates, your resume should include the following categories: Education, Work Experiences, Leadership or Activities and Skills. 

Your bullet points are one of the most important aspects of your resume. You will want to start off with a strong ACTION VERB that identifies a hard or soft skill that you have learned from that particular work experience. These action verbs are important as employers are able to quickly identify different skills that you possess.  

Your resume should also answer the basics – who, what, when, where, how, and why for each of your experiences listed. Be sure to fully explain your job responsibilities but also focus on different achievements and outcomes. If you can, add in quantitative results that demonstrate your accomplishments. 

For additional information on writing your resume, please visit The Career Center. 

Can I have a creative resume for a position in media? 
Most companies will expect a traditional resume. Oftentimes when applying for a job, you will need to upload or build a resume within the software/program the company uses to collect resumes. Things such as graphics, visuals, colors and shapes may not translate well. However, be sure to add links to your personal website, LinkedIn profile, and online portfolio to showcase your work and creativity. Employers may take the extra step to look at the type of work you have done if it relates to that specific job or internship position. 

COVER LETTER GUIDELINES
The purpose of a cover letter is to explain how your experiences and skills relate to a specific position you are interested in. Remember each and every cover letter needs to be tailored to that specific job position, meaning you cannot mass produce your cover letter. The employer should be able to identify what position you are interested in, why you are interested in the position, and what specific qualifications you possess that will allow you to be successful in this role. You want to make sure your writing is clear and concise as your cover letter demonstrates your writing skills. A cover letter should always accompany each resume you send out, unless otherwise specified.   

Below are guidelines to help you write and create a strong cover letter. For additional information on writing your cover letter, please visit The Career Center

How should I address my cover letter? 
You will want to address your cover letter to a specific person, typically, the hiring manager. This may be hard to find at times, but you want to do your research on who you think is the person making the hiring decision. You may need to be resourceful by using the company’s website or LinkedIn to find the correct contact person. Do not use a generic address of “To Whom It May Concern.” If you are not able to find a name, it is best to address it to “Dear Hiring Manager.” 

What format should I use? 
When writing a cover letter, you will want to include the basics of writing by having an (1) introduction that includes the job title you are applying to, (2) a body that highlights your skills and experiences as it pertains to the job you are applying to and (3) a conclusion that recaps your interest, skills and experiences and allows the employer to contact you if they need additional information. You will want to also have a header that includes your contact information and a clear address to the hiring manager. Your cover letter should be no more then ONE PAGE in length – so be clear and concise with your writing. 

To see different cover letter examples, please visit The Career Center.  

What should I focus on when writing a cover letter? 
A cover letter allows you to explain more in detail relevant work experiences and skills that you possess as it relates to a specific job position. Be sure to use the job post as a guide to the types of experiences and skills you should focus on in your cover letter. Each paragraph should have a specific example where you expand on information that describes specific actions or steps you took to accomplish a specific task. Within this, you will want to highlight quantifiable results and outcomes as a result of the skills you utilized to accomplish your work. Be sure to answer who, what, when, where, how, and why for the examples you are using to showcase your skill set. 

To see different cover letter examples, please visit The Career Center

Internships

Internships are an important part of the learning process to gain insight into working within different industries, companies, and positions. Students not only learn from working at an internship, but students are able to apply and witness concepts and theories in practice. Gaining different professional experiences will also allow students to build a network and meet individuals within the industry.

Below are guidelines to help you with your internship search. To get more resources about internships, please visit The Career Center

When should I look for an internship? 
Application deadlines will vary among different companies and organizations. You may notice that some companies will recruit and accept applications during the fall and other companies will do their recruitment during the spring. The key is to stay organized by identifying different companies you are interested in and identifying their application deadlines. You will also want to periodically check out different job boards and company websites for any new listings, especially, for media positions. 

When should I get an internship? 
There is no exact timeline on when you should do an internship. You can complete an internship as soon as your freshman year or even post-graduation. Summers are typically the time when students’ complete internships, but you can find opportunities throughout the year. 

What should I expect during an internship? 
Each internship will be set-up differently and will depend on the needs of the company. Typically, students are involved in projects along side with full-time employees. Interns should have daily tasks to complete that will expose you to industry specific practices which may include different software(s), functions, and company roles. Students will work closely with a supervisor who will provide training and development to help the students learn as much as they can during their time as an intern. 

How can I find an internship? 
There are several different ways to find an internship. One way to find different internship opportunities is to look at general and industry specific job/internship job boards. The University of Illinois offers Handshake @ Illinois, Illinois’ campus wide recruiting job/internship board. You can also look at different media specific job boards on the Job and Internship Search Engine tab. For College of Media students, different job/internship opportunities are also included in our Media Career Services Newsletter which is sent out weekly. Another way to find internships is by attending networking events or attending career fairs. Handshake is also a great tool to find information about different career related events across campus. Within the homepage of Handshake, you will be able to find different events including career fairs, company visits, and panel discussions. All of these events are great networking tools that can lead to learning about different internship possibilities. 

Can I earn credit for my internship? 
Yes, you can earn credit for your internship within the College of Media. You can earn 1 credit hour for 495 Professional Internship course. You must complete the online form and get this approved by the College of Media. To look at the specific requirements of getting internship credit, please click here. You can also talk to your academic advisor for additional help. 

Job Search

The job search can be intimidating, but you will want to focus on a few key strategies to make it a positive experience. There are several resources that you can utilize here at Illinois including the Media Career Services and The Career Center. You can set-up a one-on-one consultation to discuss different strategies to find different job opportunities that will help you accomplish your career goals. Below are guidelines to help you with your job search.

How should I prepare for the job search process? 
One of the first things you will want to do is to make sure you have a strong resume, draft of a cover letter, and consider having a LinkedIn profile. For Media students, it is also important to have different sample work on hand including writing sample(s), online portfolio, and or different reels. Your resume and cover letter(s) should be error free. You will want to carefully proofread your resume and cover letter(s). Be sure to have both of your documents reviewed by multiple people, double check grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If you need help, you can visit the Media Career Services office or The Career Center

Where can I find different job opportunities? 
There are different job boards you can use to find positions. To help within your job search, you will want to start off by considering what industries you would like to work in, the type of positions you are interested in, and the location(s) of different job opportunities. This will help in narrowing down your job search prospects. 

After answering some of the basic questions, it is time to start your job search by identifying different job boards. You can start off by looking at Handshake @ Illinois, Illinois’ campus wide recruiting job/internship board. You can also look at different media specific job boards on the Job and Internship Search Engine tab. For College of Media students, different job/internship opportunities are also included in our Media Career Services Newsletter which is sent out weekly. Another way to find jobs is by attending networking events or attending career fairs. Handshake is a great tool to find information about different career related events across campus. Within the homepage of Handshake, you will be able to find different events including career fairs, company visits, and panel discussions. All of these events are great networking tools that can lead to learning about different job prospects. 

When should I start looking for a job position? 
Application deadlines will vary among different companies and organizations. You may notice that some companies will recruit and accept applications during the fall and other companies will do their recruitment during the spring. The key is to stay organized by identifying different companies you are interested in and identifying their application deadlines. You will also want to periodically check out different job boards and company websites for any new listings, especially, for media positions.

The Interview

Getting an interview with a company is a great accomplishment. The interview serves as a way for you to further explain your experiences, skills, and background to a potential employer as it relates to the job position. There are several steps you should do to be fully prepared for any interview. Below are strategies to help you prepare for your interview.

What should I expect during an interview? 
There are different formats of interviews including phone, individual, panel, and group interviews. Typically, the first interview may be conducted over the phone, also known as a screening interview. This is where the company makes the decision on whether or not to move you on to the next stage of the interview process. Other types of interviews you may encounter, are individual one-on-one interviews with a representative from the company. Keep in mind that you may meet with multiple individuals one-on-one during your interview process. You may also experience a panel interview. This is when you meet with 2-4 individuals who interview you at once. In some cases, you may have a group interview where there are 2-3 candidates who are also interviewing for the same position. It is always important to ask about the format of your interview for you to best be prepared. 

Typically, an interview will last about 20-30 minutes. You will be asked specific questions as it relates to the job responsibilities and duties you will potentially do. You will want to practice and prepare for different types of questions, including behavioral, knowledge based, and situational questions. 

If you are interested in completing a mock interview to prepare for a job interview, please visit The Career Center

What should I know about the company? 
When it comes to knowing the company, make sure to research the company. You will want to focus on the mission, vision, and core values of the company. You will also want to know about the different products and services the company has to offer. Be sure to know basic information such as location(s), size, key stakeholders, competitors, and history of the organization. It is also important to look at current events – you will want to look at social media and news outlets to learn up-to-date information about the company. This will help to answer any knowledge-based questions, to show the interviewer that you have done your research. 

What questions should I prepare for? 
During an interview, the interviewer may ask several different types of questions. Typically, behavioral, knowledge based, and situational questions will be asked during the interview. Behavioral questions will revolve around your skill set and experiences by asking you to explain or give an example of a specific topic. The interviewer is trying to learn more about your specific experiences and skill set. Knowledge based questions will focus on what you know about the company, position, and industry. The interviewer wants to know that you have done your research and are well informed about the company. Situational questions are questions where you are given a certain scenario and you must explain how you would react or what actions you would take to complete or handle that situation. The interviewer is focusing on your critical thinking, problem solving, and overall experiences.

To learn more about how to prepare for an interview, please visit The Career Center.  

What types of questions should I ask during my interview? 
Towards the end of your interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. This is your time to interview the interviewer. Do not ask general questions, you want to ask questions that you are not able to learn by doing research. Ask questions that revolve around clarification, further details, or additional explanation. The questions that you ask, should help you determine if the organization and position is a good fit for you. 

What should I do after my interview? 
After each and every interview, you will want to send a Thank You email to the person(s) who interviewed you. You want to start off by thanking them for their time and express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview. You will want to reference something specific that you discussed that highlights any skills or experiences that you feel were strong examples that you mentioned in your interview. You will want to end with a statement that expresses your interest in the position and give a brief summary of your thank you email. Your thank you email should be short and concise. 

Interview Questions 

STAR Method 
When answering behavioral questions, you will want to focus on the STAR Method. The STAR Method focuses on 4 different parts (Situation, Task, Action and Results) within your answer. SITUATION focuses on the context or background information of your example. TASK explains the overall goal that you hope to accomplish. ACTION describes the steps you took to complete your work. RESULT refers to the positive outcome you achieved. To learn more about the STAR Method, please visit The Career Center.  

Sample Interview Questions  

General questions:

  • Tell me about yourself? 
  • How did you hear about this position?  
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? 
  • Is there anything else you were prepared to speak about that you’d like for us to know? 

Knowledge-based questions:

  • Why are you interested in this position? 
  • Why would you be a good fit for our company? 
  • What are products or services that you currently use that we produce? 
  • Why are you interested in working in this industry?  
  • Why are you interested in working for our company? 

Behavioral questions:

  • Can you tell me about a time you had to take the lead on a project from start to finish? 
  • Describe a time when you had multiple tasks you had to accomplish. How did you stay organized? What specific actions did you take? 
  • Can you tell me about a time you disagreed with a peer or coworker? 
  • Tell me about a time you had to learn a new skill. How did you go about learning that skill? 
  • Give an example of when you failed to achieve a goal you set for yourself.  

Situational questions:

  • How would you handle receiving criticism from your supervisor? 
  • What would you do if you knew you made a mistake on a project and it resulted in you starting over. How would you handle the situation? 
  • What would you do if you were asked to complete a task you have never done before? 
  • In this role you will be working closely with 3-4 other team members. What would you do if you were depending on one part of a project from one of your coworkers and their part is not fully complete? What would you do? 

To see more sample interview questions, please visit The Career Center

Job & Internship Search Engines
Media Certifications & Training

Learning specific industry software is one way to set yourself apart from others. It is always important to make sure you are investing in yourself by learning how to use different programs before you start your career. Employers want to see students who have experiences using specific software, as it will help with the training process. Below is a list of common certifications you can receive along with other trainings you can complete.

Note: Some of the certifications and trainings below may have a fee associated with it.

FREE CERTIFICATIONS

Advertising and Marketing

Data Analysis

Design

Public Relations

Sales

Social Media and Branding

Video Design

 

ADDITIONAL TRAININGS

Advertising and Marketing

Blogging

Design

Journalism

Public Relations

Technology

Social Media and Branding

Video Design

Company & Industry Research

Social media sites such as LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook are also great places to conduct company and industry research, in addition to company websites.

Interviews with Alumni and Students

Intern Spotlights

Alumni Spotlights