Hopefully You Realize That All Your Value Is Not Captured On Your Resume

We’ve always been told universities and colleges like to see a broad spectrum and balanced representation of activities on a candidate’s application, much in the same way an employer likes to see such a varied background when hiring out of college.  But in both situations, the listing of the involvement and achievements is similar to a degree: You can list it but what has it really done for you and how has it made you the person I see before me today?

It’s a known preference that those who seek to work with you in whatever capacity, whether taking you on as a student or employee, like to see the variety of experiences. But it’s known, meaning people should know by now that this is what those suitors would like.  So, at the very least, every applicant of every kind should present a varied background of exposure. So then the bar needs to be raised somehow to vet the applicants more closely and see who sets themselves apart.

One needs to consider that achieving the collection of activities to list on an application or resume for the sake of the collection itself is much different than taking the time to take stock and understand what has been achieved or learn from each experience, whether it is through membership in a club, as a volunteer with a charitable or non-profit organization, participation in sports, etc.

The listing of any of these accolades might not really mean anything if you can’t verbalize how each made you a better person, or not. (It’s ok to be honest. It’s about understanding the impact of each on your life, character, and attitude.  Not everything has to stick as it were perfectly meant for you.)

In interviewing, an important aspect is to convey how one has taken stock of their experiences.  The resume and degree get you in the door, but you have to close the deal in the way you bring those pieces of paper to life.

For each of those activities, jobs, or groups listed, so many questions can exist to cull the understanding and lessons you’ve extracted from each. Some of those are:

  • What did the experience teach you about yourself?
  • What would you say are the pro’s and con’s to those experiences?
  • What were the most valuable lessons or skills you drew from each of those experiences?
  • Did you learn anything you didn’t think you would learn in those experiences?
  • How has each of those experiences contributed to the person I see before me today?
  • How did you come out a better person from those experiences?
  • What would you have done differently in those experiences?
  • Knowing what you know now, would you take on, and go through, those experiences again? Why or why not?

These are the types of questions posed when it comes to gaining insight into how the candidate views themselves.  Does the hiring entity see someone merely meant as a means for a company to get to an end or do they see someone who is continually evolving and taking stock of their experiences? Companies need people that are going to weigh the pro’s and con’s, and extract benefit and value from their experiences.

Candidates and new hires should be seen as investments on the part of a hiring entity. They can be attracted to you for what is represented on paper, but they should delve deeper and seek what is not.

Companies should expect more from you than what can be read on your resume. You should expect more from companies that what is written in their job description.

Some students may not see the applicability of experiences they’ve had and how they can be dissected to demonstrate the lessons brought forward into their subsequent endeavors.

Each experience is a link in your career.  The broad experiences can be linked together to build a chain of knowledge, which you can offer to your leaders and bosses going forward.

You are their investment, but you need to consider how you’re building your own portfolio of experience and attributes before you meet them.

So…What About You?

  • Have you taken stock of all your experiences and answered questions similar to those listed above?
  • Have you sat down with a mentor or trusted colleague off of whom you can bounce ideas? They might see attributes in you and your job or experience history that you don’t.
  • Are you ready to believe in and view yourself as an investment? Are your ready to represent that to others?

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