Building a Resume – Why Bother?
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.
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; an award you’ve won, a class you took. Having it in one place allows you to look at all of your academic and extracurricular activities in one place. It’s great to be able to examine the trajectory of your activities, education and achievements on one piece of paper and it becomes a helpful consolidated source of information for everything from applying to summer programmes to 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, so you can save yourself a lot of work by creating a resume and updating it each semester. 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 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 played with. 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.