Building a Resume Tips
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again — colleges like to see their applicants do more than just excel in school. They like to see involvement in extracurriculars, participation in the community, an active volunteering streak, or maybe even a combination of all three! It can get exhausting to try to get all of the bases covered, but it can also be fun. Building a resume begins with creating experiences worth writing about.
Try these five steps to building a resume that works for you;
Choose activities that will look good and be fun for you. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to hear how many students put themselves through extracurricular horrors in the name of building a resume. Don’t do it! If you hate writing, don’t participate in the student newspaper. If you can’t tolerate sports, don’t volunteer to be a team booster. Remember, if you loathe your extracurriculars, you won’t enjoy them and — even worse for resumé-building purposes — your participation in them will be miserable and any leadership positions will pass you by.
Don’t be afraid to try new or unconventional things. Just because you haven’t tried something doesn’t mean you won’t like it. If you’re having a hard time thinking of groups you’d like to join, go with something you’ve never done before. Or, try something that might not immediately seem like the perfect fit for your personality or skills. Go to a few meetings, participate in a few events and see if it clicks. If it does, you’ve found a new hobby! If it doesn’t, you’ve learned what you don’t want to do and can try your luck with another group. Don’t worry; you’ll eventually find something and it’ll be truly enjoyable because you took the time to really find out what motivates and interests you.
Don’t overdo it. While some students struggle to find a few extracurriculars that interest them, you might find yourself on the other side of the coin: having way too many extracurriculars on your plate. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself involved in the student newspaper, yearbook, choir, drama, chess club, math club, team booster…and that’s just on Tuesdays! While keeping yourself busy is a good thing, it’s never a good idea to be so busy that you can’t devote enough time to each of your activities or to your schoolwork. Colleges would rather see extended, consistent commitment to a few groups than superficial participation in many.
Be consistent. Once you’ve found the groups you want to get involved in, be consistent in your participation. Attend meetings, volunteer for events, ask for greater responsibilities and lead committees. Not only will this keep you abreast of what is happening in the group, it will also help in building a rapport with the rest of its members, which will, in turn, make it easier for you to secure leadership positions down the line.
Aim to lead. This should be the eventual goal of your participation in any student group, at least as far as resumé-building goes. While colleges like to see consistent participation in your groups, they like to see evidence of leadership even more. Once you’ve been in a group for a year or more, start thinking about which positions you’d like to campaign for and obtain during your junior and senior years. Don’t just be a part of a group — help keep it going in the right direction!
Building a good resume is easier and more effective if you choose activities that catch and hold your interest.