Moving beyond the resume
Alexandra Muck | Monday, August 27, 2018
As everyone looking for a job or internship knows, employers are on campus almost as soon as students these days. We barely have time to learn our schedules and figure out which color spirals we have decided to use for which classes before we are getting emails about applications and company information sessions on campus and, of course, the career fair, which is now right around the corner.
With the inevitable barrage of emails and applications comes the stress of perfecting the resume. How can you perfectly capture your involvement with that club in two or three bullets? Should this club be listed before that club? Should that activity be listed at all?
Perhaps the most stressful part of the resume can be that one line at the bottom that is supposed to note your interests. Are you too cliché if you put travel and podcasts as interests? Do you look too nerdy if you put reading as an interest?
After working on my own resume and helping other people with theirs over the years, I’ve determined a few things about the process, all of which really come to the fact that it’s impossible to fully encapsulate yourself on one side of a piece of paper.
I remember looking at my first completed resume and thinking that it still didn’t quite fit me. Trying to convey my skills and strengths and interests on one 8.5-by-11 sheet of paper just made me feel like I was very similar to everyone else. Didn’t I just have the same activities as everyone else? Was I really doing anything that impressive? Were my interests going to make me look like the average college student? Did I look like I had a life outside of school? After looking over my friends’ resumes, though, I’ve realized most people have very similar concerns.
Despite the fact that jobs — and therefore resumes — are important, at the end of the day it falls on us to remember that we’re not defined by one piece of paper. We have lives and friendships and experiences that can’t possibly fit, and shouldn’t necessarily belong on, a resume. Even the interests we strive to fit on a single line that looks both professional and interesting probably do not actually fully encompass what we are passionate about and spend our free time on.
While it can be hard to remember that fact when we get all the emails, attend all the information sessions and submit our resumes to listings on Go Irish, it is important that we take time to remember what actually makes us unique.
So with that, here’s to a year of learning, change, growth and — perhaps most importantly — learning to look beyond simple summaries on paper to what really matters.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.