By: Amanda Gallucci, Providence College Senior
Whether you are applying to college, internships, or full-time jobs, a résumé is crucial. So what do you do when you realize applications are due and you don’t have a lot to put on your résumé? Or if your experience seems irrelevant?
Avoid the temptation to start haphazardly joining organizations and running to volunteer. It will be clear from the start date on your resume if you decide to become a superstar last minute. Instead, take some time to think about what it is you have accomplished and discover the reasons why you may not have been more active in the first place. Don’t forget that a résumé is only one component—you’ll have a cover letter, and later on hopefully an interview, to expand and explain anything you may need to.
Ask yourself the following questions to start filling in your résumé gaps:
1. What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
– If just one — is it because this is all you have time for?
– If none, is it because you have to support yourself with a full time job?
– What skills have you learned from each activity?
2. How do your grades fit in?
– Can you maintain the same GPA if you took on another activity?
3. Are any other external factors holding you back from participating in an activity you otherwise have the desire to participate in?
4. Why does your experience seem irrelevant?
– Are you unable to draw a connection between the skills you learned and the position for which you are applying?
– Did you decide to take a different path for your future then you originally intended?
Next, be able to portray your experiences in the most positive light. Once you have answered the above questions and have a better idea of why you did or did not participate in certain activities, you’ll be better able to explain these reasons in a cover letter or interview.
Without being on the defensive, give details about what may have prevented you from getting more relevant experience. If you train for sports several hours a day and couldn’t possibly handle more and maintain your GPA, that’s understandable. Just make sure you can prove your interest in other ways—spend time on the school or company’s website and know how you as an individual will be a great fit there. Most importantly, talk about the transferable skills that you have learned from your activities. No matter how much you think waitressing or babysitting is irrelevant, you are building up qualities like responsibility, timeliness, and independence.
Whatever your situation may be, do not feel hopeless if your résumé is not where you would have liked it to be. There is always time in the future to become more involved if you’re able to. For the present, however, learn how to take the experience you have and make it into something meaningful.
Want to learn more about Amanda? Check out her GoEnnounce Student Page.
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