I feel like resumes have taken over my life this semester. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. However, I have done more than a few resume reviews during appointments, via email, and at our Resume Dr. events.
Resumes become frequent guests in my internship search appointments with students. In many instances, this is the first draft EVER of the student’s resume, and it’s often a pre-internship resume (Sometimes I’ll meet with a student who has already had an internship and is going back for more). One of the biggest concerns these students have is fear of a lack of experience.
Never fear! You probably have more experience than you think you have.
So where is all of this experience hiding? Consider the following:
- Community Service: Extensive volunteer experiences often provide you with the exact skills employers are looking for. It wasn’t a paid job? So what! The important factor is what you actually DIDduring the experience. Take UW-Whitewater’s America Reads program, through which students tutor and work one-on-one with area elementary school children either in the classroom or in after-school reading programs. Particularly for individuals going into human services or education, this is indeed important experience.
- Student Organization Leadership: UW-Whitewater has a wide variety of student organizations, including professional organizations such as the Forensics Team, Social Work Student Organization, and Student Wisconsin Education Association. Students who step up to take leadership roles with these or other student organizations are often doing work. The treasurer monitors a group’s finances, the secretary is the main communications hub, and the president manages the overall operations. There is a lot of real “work” a student in such a role can describe on his/her resume. Additionally, a group like the American Marketing Association (AMA) participates in a national case competition every year. Playing a role on the case competition team should provide a student with experience in research, report writing, and presenting.
- Student Government: Students who serve as Senators or in Executive Board positions with Whitewater Student Government (WSG) are building experience in governance, legislative processes, and constituent (i.e. student) outreach. For a student considering a career in government and/or politics, this provides directly related experience. I’m hosting a resume writing workshop for History, Political Science, and Public Policy majors next week. If anyone attending hopes to go into one of these career areas AND happens to be involved in WSG, I’ll be encouraging them to place much more emphasis on their work with student government.
Look at your college activities a little differently to find experiences and skills that you can more strongly market to a potential internship site. While tucking the above experiences into a “Co-Curricular Activities” section on a resume makes sense in some cases (for example, you’re just a regular member of the organization, it was a one-time community service activity, or an organization is purely for fun), other circumstances allow you to highlight important work that you’ve done in a seemingly innocuous part of your college life.
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