Move-in day is approaching, and you and your new college student are getting ready. You’ve made a list of “must-have” items. Extra-long twin sheets? Check. Laptop? Check. Storage organizers? Check. Resumé? Check. Wait — what ?
That’s right. Although rarely found on anyone’s Top Ten, a resumé should be considered an essential item on your student’s packing list. Certainly there are more exciting ways to spend the last few weeks of summer, but creating a strong resumé should be a priority and here’s why:
1. Getting it done during the summer = less stress later
The start of college is exciting but it can be stressful, too. Navigating a new campus, making friends, coursework, laundry…the list goes on. Why should your student put off this important activity and add one more task to her already full load in the fall? By working on her resumé now, before there is a need for it, she can take her time and complete it at her own pace.
2. Tackling it early allows time for reviewing…
Working on his resumé now allows your student to thoroughly review his past, looking for those experiences and activities that will make him stand out from his peers. By completing it at home, he’ll have access to information he may not have when he gets to college: comment cards received from customers, performance reviews from past employers, certificates and awards he received from his many extracurricular and volunteer experiences.
3. …and revising
An early start also leaves room for multiple revisions. Creating a resumé for the first time can be intimidating. Sometimes students need to walk away from the writing process and come back later with a fresh perspective. The luxury of mulling things over can make the difference between an adequate resumé and an amazing one.
4. If she gets stuck, you’re there to help
If you have your own resumé, you’re familiar with the genre. And while you can certainly offer tips on formatting and content, where you can really help is in reminding your student of her accomplishments and successes. Most students create cookie-cutter resumés, listing past jobs and student organizations they belonged to. In order to make her resumé stand out, your student should focus on what she accomplished in her positions that went above and beyond the basic job description and show how her contributions to groups and organizations were important and unique. She may not remember all of this but chances are you do. This is the type of help she needs.
5. It’s great practice for future revisions
Your student’s life will change a lot over the next few years. Each semester brings new classes, new experiences, new skills, and — sometimes — new jobs. Each change is an opportunity to enhance his resumé, if he knows how. Putting together a solid “base” resumé now means he’ll have the know-how to quickly make changes later on, which will be especially important when he’s juggling multiple commitments and deadlines, and needs an updated resumé fast.
6. It may help with part-time or on-campus jobs, scholarships and study-abroad programs
Applying for jobs, scholarships and other programs usually involves a bit of paperwork. If your student has a resumé ready to go, she’ll be able to get application materials in more quickly. That time difference may be a factor in who gets the job, scholarship, etc.
7. It will impress recruiters at career fairs and other networking events
Most recruiters aren’t looking to hire freshmen for internships and a lot of freshmen don’t actively attend recruiting events.But those freshmen that do go and are prepared with an awesome resumé make an impression. The recruiter may not hire them this time around, but he/she will probably keep their resumes and make a note to touch base with them the next hiring season. Recruiters want to grab the best students early and hold on to them. Making a positive impression early in his college career gives your student a definite advantage over peers when it comes to getting that first internship.
There you have it! While it may not be your – or your student’s – ideal way to wrap up summer, carving out time to work on a resumé now can lead to many potential rewards down the road. Best of luck!