Monday, June 10, 2013

Highlighting Your Accomplishments, Pt II

Taking up where we left off; if you are, for example, a recent college grad you might have a few things to which you can refer and note on your resume.  

If you maintained a good GPA and held a job, part-time or more, while also pursuing your studies, that’s an accomplishment. Especially since more people are choosing to finance the whole thing; if you successfully managed your studies’ and a job, note it on your resume. For example; I am aware that among companies that require a college degree, some of them have a threshold that an applicant must have maintained a certain level GPA to be considered. However, if they gained their degree while also working during their studies or participated in sports, they could have a slightly lower GPA and still meet the threshold of consideration. This example illustrates one instance when noting this information on your resume can make a difference and, if you don’t tell’em, how are they going to know? 

But use your head and be aware that something you may be passionate about, such as voluntary petition or food drives, are civic involvement that belong in the Personal Interest section of your resume if you choose to have it on there. Also remember the third rail of conversation with strangers about religion and politics. From my own experience over the years, unless you are seeking to work for a non-profit organization, volunteerism speaks well of your character, and that’s great, but don’t expect it to carry much weight in the for-profit corporate world, sorry. List it if you prefer but don’t expect the kudos you may think you are due. If you went on a Mission for your church somewhere, well, it can’t hurt and it is, of course, likely connected to your chronological time line if you’re trying to connect all the dots. But if you list unpaid political activist stuff, be aware that in our current hyper-polarized society, you are likely to alienate half of those who might review your resume.  

Especially for those who are young, if after you’ve reviewed and sifted through everything and still come up empty handed in the search for accomplishments, don’t worry, it is to be expected. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, that’s the way it is and the way it should be; in the real world nobody really appreciates, nor respects, anything gained that has not been earned with effort and merit without some investment of sweat equity. Nobody is owed anything, nobody’s owed a well-paying job, but everyone should be able to have fair access to opportunity with a chance to prove themselves. So rhetorically speaking, you know the cliché; when opportunity knocks are you ready, will you be prepared to be at your best and are you yet doing everything you could be? 

Okay, so enough of that - next! Moving on; if you don’t have any accomplishments to list, then you can’t list what you don’t have. It doesn’t mean you are unemployable or even less employable but it means that if you want to set yourself apart from others, you will have to turn to other things that can accentuate what you have to offer, as compared with other applicants, in the eyes of an employer.   

Among the other things may be letters of reference. References written on your behalf can be for more than just a past employment verification. A reference letter can,  depending on the content, carry some weight. Performance reviews can also be helpful; letters of appreciation, the list goes on, which brings me to another item you may want to add to your bags of tricks… 

Next time we’ll talk about something well suited for taking along to your first interview, as an extension of your resume.

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