A resume is a proactive communication piece and organizes your activities and accomplishments based on common themes. The document can be very effective in getting across your unique competencies; it’s more than just a laundry list of activities on a form (like the Common Application). The resume is a place to say what you want to say, in the way you want to say it.
In my opinion, the resume has 2 uses: one, to share more about you with a teacher or potential employer, two, as a place to go deeper into your activities than the short response area in most college applications. BUT not all colleges accept a resume with your application AND you do not need one if it simply mirrors the 10 activities in your application.
Here is how to use one:
- Guidance department input. The national student-to-counselor ratio is about 450 to 1, according to the National Association for College Admissions Counselors (NACAC). In large, public schools, it is almost impossible for the counselor to know more about you than what is on your transcript. Your resume may help draw attention to your great qualities. It should help your guidance counselor write about you convey how you stand out from the crowd; it is an overview of your distinctive strengths. Many times, private school counselors are required to write up to a page about you. So, get to know your counselor, and maybe then you will not need the resume. It’s a balance.
- Teacher recommendation input. When a teacher is asked to do a student recommendation, they describe their experience with you at school. Your resume may help jog the teacher’s memory about your strengths, or even showcase some areas of involvement outside the classroom. We like to make a busy teacher’s task of writing recommendations easier, and usually they will appreciate the input, and may even use some of the information in their recommendation. The resume can also showcase any summer programs, activities and things you do outside of school.
- Summer opportunities. The summer between junior and senior year is a great time to explore areas of interest that you may consider studying in college. Use this “out of school time” to discover more about different subjects and check out the “reality” of your future “dream” careers. You may want to volunteer at a hospital, first aid squad, or research lab, start or work with a charity, do a job in their field of interest, or something else super cool this summer. This is where a resume can help. If you have a theme in an interest or competence (future doctors may want to do some research or shadow a physician or work in a hospital, a future architect may want to work with a home builder or a design firm or even volunteer in a city planning office) put those interests and experiences on your resume and be ready to speak to those once you land the interview.
- College Interviews. Many colleges conduct admissions or alumni interviews. Some “highly encourage” admissions interviews, while some encourage interviews with alumni for honors programs, elite joint degree programs, and scholarships. Your resume may be all they have to go on prior to your big meeting. Make it relevant and interesting. Always offer a resume prior to an interview.. The resume acts as a template for the conversation and keeps the conversation flowing.
5. Your Future- Your Resume. This first resume starts the adult process of job seeking and becoming an adult. If you record your experience as a high school student, it will lead to a more robust adult resume and you will have a head start. Be proud of yourself. Write down your accomplishments. Start a Linked In profile ASAP- a topic for another blog.