When working with high school students who are developing their profile, preparing for future academic challenges and, eventually, submitting college applications, whether in India or abroad, one of the first things we do is encourage them to create a resume.
Many people associate a resume with something you do just to get a job, but there are many additional uses for students. At The Red Pen, the resume is the foundation of how we encourage students to think about their profiles. This is particularly useful if you are applying for undergraduate studies to universities in the US, where the admissions process is holistic, incorporating different aspects of a student’s profile.
Here are some benefits of building a resume:
Consolidating your academic, extracurricular and other achievements:
Creating a resume is a great way to have everything you’ve done, from grade 9 onwards, in one place. Students lead such busy lives and it’s easy to forget something you’ve done year to year. Whether is an award you’ve won, or a class you took, having it in one place allows you to have an overview of all your academic and extracurricular activities. It’s great to be able to examine the trajectory of your activities, education and achievements and it becomes a helpful consolidated source of information when you are applying to summer programmes or filling out college forms.
Resource for summer programme applications and college information sessions:
More and more summer programmes are interested in seeing your resume or some version of it on their application form. By creating a resume and updating it each semester, you can save yourself a lot of last-minute work. Moreover, if you are interested in applying for summer internships, that process is often very similar to applying for a job and a resume will be an essential part of your application.
A resume is also extremely helpful to keep on hand for college visits and for the occasions when colleges visit you. When attending a university information session, meeting with a visiting admissions officer or visiting campuses, having a resume ready to distribute and discuss is a valuable conversation starter. Sometimes a representative can help you figure out what about your profile is a good fit for their program or school or sometimes, they just appreciate that you are organised enough to have maintained your resume.
Information for your recommender:
When the time comes to apply to colleges, besides helping you fill out your form, a resume can be a useful tool for your recommenders. While you should choose a recommender who already knows you well, they might not know everything you’ve done or they may not have all your information at their fingertips. Sharing your resume is a great way to remind them of your achievements or make them aware of what they might not know about you. Having your recommender, literally, on the same page will give your entire application cohesion so that activities, essays and goals are all aligned in each element–a good resume can make this happen.
Beyond your standard academic/work/extracurricular resumes, there are other kinds of resumes that you might want to create if you are a serious young athlete or artist–whether a dancer, actor, painter, musician or filmmaker. In such cases, you may need to prepare a second creative resume, highlighting your accomplishments in the field and your training in the arts or sports.
For a visual artist, you want to include a list of exhibitions you’ve participated in and where you’ve studied art, along with any art-skill-related events you’ve been a part of. For an actor/performer, you want to include a list of your performances, the performance dates and venues/companies you were associated with. Any summer programmes you’ve done to train, or people who you’ve worked with should also go on that resume.
If you are a serious athlete, an athletic resume is useful to share with recruiting coaches. These are much the same as an artistic resume, but instead of performances and portfolios, you would talk about competitions, tournaments and teams with whom you’ve played. You would list rankings and awards, and of course training, as well as coaches you had worked with, if they are well known in the sport.
Making a resume is worth your time and doing it early will only help you in your future endeavours. So be proactive; start building your resume now and update often.