The Resume Builder
From volunteer work to internships, here’s a list of the best five ways to enhance your college resume.
By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia
Creating a resume is quite possibly the bane of existence.
Before the writing, the correct sizing and font, the one page dilemma and the hair pulling comes the toughest part: Actually doing things to put on your resume.
Sure, there are all of your high school accomplishments, but after you flip that tassel to the other side, all that hard work might as well have been from your diaper days. As it turns out, no one, not even your boss, cares about high school after high school.
Now you have to find completely new ways to beef up your resume while maintaining an effortless competency—good luck.
There are some options outside of selling your soul to student government or the circumlocutive debate team, however.
Here are five tips to beautify your college resume.
1. Snuggle a Pup
Did you know that you can gain community service by sitting around and petting kittens and puppies? I certainly didn’t before this year. As it turns out, animal shelters are desperate for volunteers to come in for a few hours and walk dogs, play with cats and generally, just keep the animals company. Who wants to be locked in a plastic prison all day?
By donating your time, you’re able to make that fluffball’s day and vice versa! There is no stress relief like cuddling a kitten during finals week.
The best part: This kind of thing looks great on your resume! Not only does it show that you care about things outside of your own well-being, but by sticking with an activity—say playing fetch at the shelter once a week—it shows dedication and reliability. What kind of employer wouldn’t want that in the work place?
2. Babysit Some Munchkins
Maybe you don’t like animals, or you’re allergic, or fearful for your life—who knows. You can do the same thing with babies. Look up your county foster parent association, fill out a background check and babysit once a month during obligatory foster parent meetings. They may not be furry, but they’ll probably be just as entertained by feather dusters.
There is something so satisfying about having a baby falling asleep on your shoulder, and the toddlers will crack you up with their constant clumsiness. Another fantastic way to procrastinate on your homework, am I right?
At least in Denton, TX, the commitment was only once a month and—I saved the best for last—you get paid! It’s not a salary or anything, but it’ll fund a couple nights out on the town.
Your letters of interest will shine when you mention how much you looked forward to spending time with those kids and how easy it was to bond with someone outside of the college bars. Just don’t mention how many times you winced at an unwelcomed bodily surprise, and you’re golden!
3. Snag an Internship
Oh boy, the big one. Of course internships were going to appear on this list—they’re a given. You may not make the same amount of money as you would, say, in a restaurant or a bar (or a strip club—no judgment), or, any amount of money really, but the opportunities are incomparable.
There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, more appealing to an employer than seeing an applicant with some form of experience in their work field. Even if the internship doesn’t exactly fit into what you plan to do with your life, the skillset you’ll achieve from working directly under someone and all those efficiency tips of the trade will make you jump from a 5 to a 9 out of 10.
I’m sure you knew all of this, but how is anyone supposed to get any experience without any experience in today’s day and age? Internships.com. Really, it’s that simple.
There are more things out there than you can imagine, and they’re ALL desperate for a free and legal work horse.
Maybe you’re just running coffee in an office; your resume doesn’t necessarily have to reflect that. It’s ok to be a little vague on your resume. Actually, you kind of have to in order to make everything fit on one page.
Work that system, and get out on top.
4. What to Avoid
There is such a thing as being overqualified. Your future boss doesn’t want someone justified in demanding a bigger paycheck. Save money wherever you can, even in a less competent work force: That’s their motto.
In this case, focus on something specific for your resume. Do you want to work with people in some fashion? Then only mention your volunteering and community involvement. It’s ok to leave off that you worked as a bus driver through college. Or maybe you’re an inspiring financial junkie. Close in on your studies and school related activities. If that’s the case, you might want to consider shooting for an organization’s accountant spot. Sell that shit, literally.
Another thing, don’t make yourself seem to spread out. It’s ok to have varying interests, but too much can sometimes be a bad thing. If you’re all over the place on your resume, then you risk coming across as scattered and flaky. It’s just not possibly to be an A student, president of your sorority’s/fraternity’s chapter, leader of a club you started, top volunteer for the homeless shelter AND a full time employee at some college job, and your reviewer knows it.
Narrow it down some and only mention the things that are really important to you. The more focused you appear, the higher your chance for avoiding the unemployment office.
Don’t overwork yourself in an effort to make yourself look more appealing. A double major and double minor is impressive, sure, but remember what I said earlier about being overqualified?
5. What to Do
Find some things you love to do, and do them. Sure, building houses for the homeless looks good, but if you’re miserable doing it, you’ll end up resentful of your past self and what a shame and waste of time it would be to spend your short life in a resentful grudge against yourself. Besides, who wants to live in a house constructed by a clumsy college kid with little to no experience with a hammer?
There are lots of things you can do that you’ll actually enjoy, and your passions are painfully obvious to anyone who will listen—like a potential employer, in fact.