What Makes a Good Applicant?


When I think of an ideal candidate, I think of consistency. I want consistency in your work, volunteer efforts, and experiences. I want to know that you’ve made a difference in concrete places where people can vouch for you because they truly know you. I also want consistency in your application. If you capitalize Certified Child Life Specialist (as you alway should) in your cover letter, then I expect that to be capitalized in your application as well. If you call yourself a “nanny” in your resume, then don’t list it as as “babysitter” in your application. Double check your work, read things out loud, and don’t get sloppy because you’re in a hurry. It will make ALL the difference!


The way that you talk and write needs to be professional. Use those key “child life” words you’ve learned in your classes or during your practicum. Rather than “building trust” with the patient during your initial meeting, say that you “built rapport” with the patient. Instead of “speaking on behalf of the family,” say that you “advocated” for the family. It’s those simple words that lets us, as the interviewers, know that you definitely have done your research and know what you’re talking about.

We’re also looking for professionalism throughout your application. Leave those exclamation marks out of your cover letter and avoid using slang/abbreviations that may be unusual to someone not from your hometown. If you write that you’re a SGB facilitator- write those initials out so that I know that it stands for ‘Sibling Grief/Bereavement’ facilitator. WOW, does that make you look that much more impressive to me rather than an SGB facilitator.

Knowing How To Talk About Yourself

Yes, it’s a difficult thing to get used to, especially in a professional setting, but it’s so important. Having a good application will get you in the door for an interview; but how you interview will truly decide if you’ll land an offer. One of the biggest, most important parts of interviewing is being really good at talking about yourself.

Nothing is worse in an interview than replying with “I don’t know,” when it’s a question about YOU. If I ask you what your favorite thing to do is, what your favorite class is, what you’re most eager to learn during your internship – you NEED to have an answer. If you can’t talk about yourself, that’s a huge red flag.

Another part of knowing how to talk about yourself is BEING yourself during an interview. The majority of the students that we chose for our practicums really gelled with our team during the interview process because they were truly themselves. They were smiling (so important!), they were confident, and they knew their stuff!

Take the time to learn about you. The only way interviewers will get to know you, is if you know you REALLY well! You got this!

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