Resumes: Key Differentiators

Posted: October 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve been reviewing resumes for what feels like a very long time — 3 schools, 200 resumes. I even helped refine the criteria for what we look for in candidates to make it more equitable and targeted or what our group needs. What I have noticed is that when you glance past education, work experience and leadership, you find some fun little things.

Although, I do appreciate how much easier resumes in a standardized format are, I do find it to be all too reinforcing of similarity and conformity among students. I will mostly not focus on this because if your school demands a particular format, that’s the fault of the school. My area of focus for this post is actually on the "Skills and Interest" component.

No longer are student just putting the Microsoft suite under their skills or the random softwares that thy have esoteric knowledge of. Today’s students are putting done their travel experiences (bragging of their European adventures) or mentioning their personal bests for athletics or the number of stadiums they’ve been in. While, I do find that it adds character to otherwise boring resumes that read "Top School. Respectable GPA. Internship 1 -3. Etc," the socioeconomic indicators you can discern are interesting.

Traveled extensively in Europe (20+) countries. Polo. Scuba diving. Camel riding. French cuisine.

I would guess that it stands to reason that no one brags about travelling to that many S. American , African or Asian countries. I guess it depends on where you are applying to work, but I prefer to see that someone is interested in activism, running or is a gambler with a life time winning of $0. It’s just an observation that feels a bit tinged with classism when you read how these resumes are intended to evoke a sense of belonging. But then again, I don’t think that anyone should have to hide their class.


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