Resume Series #1: Bra Shopping
by Jacqui Adams
Writing a good resume is like picking out a good bra.
Bear with me, here. There are eerie parallels.
You’re in the lingerie section. It’s awkward. It’s cluttered. There’s a dude over there who looks even more lost than you. Where do you begin?
It’s a forest of choices. Some of them don’t seem to say the right thing. Others look like they’d be a bit of a stretch. All of them are tough to imagine yourself in
You gather together one, then another, draping them over your elbows by the hangers until you’re festooned, piñata-like, with bra after bra after bra. Soon, you have an armload.
You head to the dressing room, trying to feel optimistic. To find the perfect fit takes patience, persistence, and a little bit of chutzpah. You’ve got to be wise. You’ve got to be brave. You’ve got to be bold. You’ve got to think outside the box.
To find the perfect fit, you’ve got to bare all.
When you stare at the vague, cluttered lingerie section of your life and know that you have to find the experiences that will go on your resume and ultimately make or break your job search, you may become intimidated.
Don’t worry. Remember, the best place to start is anywhere.
Just pick something up. Anything. Worked as a camp counselor once? Great. Write it down—bring it to the dressing room. Helped your dad clean his office every weekend? Fantastic. Another one over the elbow—jot that baby down, too.
Did some volunteer work? Played sports? Joined a club? Walked the neighbor’s dog? Organized Grandma’s magazines? Amazing! All of these things and more are fodder for your master list—the big list of activities and doings that you deepen, extend and refine until that list becomes—drumroll, please—Your Resume.
You’ll start out with a huge pile and slowly narrow down your choices. What you want to end up with ultimately is a showcase of your responsibilities and skills—in other words, the tasks that people have entrusted you with, and how you handled those tasks.
No resume springs fully formed from its owner’s skull, ready to tackle the world and snag a nifty calling. What you start with is a big, messy pile of everything you’ve ever, ever done. Ever.
Write it down. Jobs, internships, community service, awards, lab classes, regular classes, workshops, clubs, intensives, hobbies, you name it. Pick those bras off the rack and heap them in a pile. Write it all down in a list. Spare nothing. Spill all. Get naked.
They call it the shotgun method. I call it bra shopping. Call it what you like—it’s the first step to writing a really killer resume.
And you’ve got what it takes.
Jacqui Adams is a Peer Advisor in the Center for Career and Community Engagement. Need resume help? Want to write a killer cover letter? Jacqui is here for you! She’s available for consultations on Monday from 3-5pm and Wednesday from 3-7pm. Stop by 3CE to sign up.