Sunday, July 20, 2008

The ONE Thing That Matters Most on Your Resume

Big surprise – experience matters most.

But don't panic. Experience is not limited to professional work or internships. Experience also includes involvement in campus organizations RELEVANT to the career you are pursuing. Creative directors want to see you took advantage of every opportunity afforded to you. Involvement shows passion, drive and commitment. 

However, they also want to see that you were an active, long-term participant – preferably a leader. One semester of participation reeks of "I did it so I could put in on my resume."

Why should you care? Well, if I'm interviewing a person for an advertising position and see they were not part of their campus ad club or did not participate in campaigns class, I don't consider them. EVER.

Seem harsh? Maybe. But I'm looking for someone who is going to be "all in" when they join my team. If you half-assed your opportunities in college, I expect you'll do the same on the job. Plus, I have a load of people to choose from. I can afford to be picky about whom I choose to interview. Can you afford to be dropped from consideration?

A sad example: Last week I was talking to a student I work with all the time. She told me about a friend of hers (a journalism major) who is dropping off the university's All-American publication so she can pick up more hours at HyVee. Yes, HyVee.

That HyVee job won't get her the job she wants once she graduates (except with another grocery store). While a position as one of the editors of a nationally-recognized, award-winning publication will. She is choosing the short-term over the long-term. And even if she needs the money, she should stay involved. There's no place on resumes for lack-of-participation excuses.

So please, get involved with career-relevant organizations while in college. And go all out. Not only will it give you material for your resume, it will give you a chance to grow within the field – while also starting your network.

Otherwise, prepare for a very long and frustrating job search.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Very interesting entry! I really value the stories, as it reinforces my instincts with real evidence. My fiancé and I experienced this issue this summer, and it makes me feel a little more secure that our loyalty to school organizations may pay off later, rather than staying at minimum-wage paying jobs in produce markets and coffee shops.

I met you this weekend at YWIF, and I am so happy I finally got a chance to check your blog out! I have a feeling that it may be one of my more useful bookmarks.

Thanks again for all your help.