With May coming closer and closer, a lot of students are turning their attention to summer plans. It may seem as though Shimer simply doesn't have the resources to compete with other schools when it comes to things like internships, career counseling and all those all those other resume packing-activities that gradually become more and more important.
I honestly don't know how Shimer's resources in this arena stack up to larger schools since I really only have experience with Shimer. But I have now gone through the process of putting together a résumé and some other things that were relevant to my application process. So there a few things I now feel entitled to say about the process as I've experienced it here so far. I don’t know how the rest of the world will accept my efforts but I’ll get back to you about that in May.
In the mean time, remember these ten things....
2. Keep bothering people. As with anything else that is self-motivated, you have to continue to show interest. So keep bothering people for whatever you need. At Shimer people are really good at responding almost instantly to questions and requests, but you need to ask for them to be able to respond.
3. When people do anticipate your needs and drop information about an internship which just happens to match your interest perfectly in your lap then thank them for thinking of you. Lori, who directs our student activities, has formed a habit of dropping things she thinks I will like in my mail box--some times it is information about museum exhibits but other times it is stuff about internships with an emphasis on archive and conservation work at the local Newberry Library. I hadn't really thought of doing that, but it is exactly how I want to spend a part of my summer--so I took advantage of it with very little hesitation. This is the kind of personal attention that makes Shimer a place where I enjoy living.
4. When it comes to the actual materials, cover letter, résumé, and all those things, then ask for advice. There are people here at Shimer who get paid to help you with this and they will help you--so don't worry too much because they do know what they're talking about.
5. Before you have someone look at that résumé, though, do yourself a favor and check the internet to get a general idea of format and things like that. Also proofread whatever you have written and remember that the people who will ultimately look at this don't know anything else about you except what you're writing right now. Is that frightening? Yes. But there are times when you have to do it.
6. There are not that many people here at Shimer, which is great in this case because it means the person looking through your drafts probably knows you. I think this allows them to give you better advice. If nothing else, personal attention from someone you actually feel like you know personally really makes this a more reassuring experience. In my own experience Lori, our Assistant Director of Student Activities, actually briefly showed me her own résumé so I could use it as a reference point for a few things.
Obviously a lot more than this goes into writing up a résumé and all the other materials that go into reducing yourself to a few pieces of paper (which, as a Shimer student, I find kind of troubling). But these are mostly just things I think are different for me because I go to Shimer. Some of it, I admit, is simply what I think is good advice.
If any of you want a little more detailed information about this process, or questions, then feel free to email me. You can reach me pretty easily at firstname.lastname@example.org.