The Essentials of a Student Resume of Activities
Why do I need a resume? Doesn’t the application ask all those questions on activities? Why do I have to duplicate the information?
All of those are good questions, and I will attempt to inform you as to why a Student Resume of Activities is a must. I am not talking about the resume you might put together on Naviance™. I am talking about a formal, nicely formatted and printed on good bond paper, actual resume. In some cases, you might even need more than one resume!
So what does the resume do—it details in far more specific terms and descriptions what you do with your time while participating in specific activities and so forth. I have a free template if you are interested and offer one session review at a nominal cost, if you want to work on this yourself. I must say that the volume of colleges offering an upload of an actual resume has been increasing over the past decade. I have always packaged a student with a resume, as far back as twenty-two years ago, but in the past decade it has become, more and more, an essential tool for most students to stand out and make a difference in the application pool.
The applications do, indeed, ask what you have done, but most are limited to eight or ten activities and only a short description. The resume is far more detailed and descriptive, identifying how you spend your time, what the purpose of something is, how many compete against or with you, etc. It is literally outlining how much time you have to do work each week and all year, for a college. This is a great supplement to your transcript because it shows how much time you have to get everything you are doing done. It also shows your spirit, determination, dedication, and willingness to risk and take on challenges. It supplements so much more than anything else given to a college during the entire admission process; it can highlight so much more as well. This speaks for you and your time management skills.
When should you start your resume—I like my clients, whom I am working with on the consulting and test work, to start in the winter of sophomore year. There is a year and a ½ of school under their belts, so the activities can be added and the format begun. It is far easier to update the resume at the end of sophomore year, and junior year if it is started early. If you have done nothing and are a senior now, it is not too late. You can create one, have it proofed several times, and then have it copied to be sent with your applications this fall.
What you decide to include on your resume is up to you, and is largely determined by your time and the dominance of each activity. Ideally, what you do the most should always come first after your basic information. I like to include: Academic, Athletic, Extra-Curricular, Community Service, and Employment. At the end there is also room for Honors & Awards, Professional Certifications, and Personal Interests. There is a standard as to how most are described. But what is critical and essential for each category and each activity is the inclusion of Time Commitment. Colleges want to see: Hours per week and Weeks per year for everything that you include in an activity.
Other resumes are necessary for a specific activity for which you need to break out—this is critical if you are being recruited for anything. If you go to a specialized school and have concentrated on a specific course of study, such as the arts. Artists must have an Art Portfolio as well as an Art resume; Musicians need to have a music resume, if they are pursuing a Conservatory education. Athletes hoping to play in college should ideally, have a separate athletic resume. If a person has a dedicated sport that is done all year for years, then usually, there is a separate resume for that alone; often students who ride, have a listing provided for every show they have participated and each ribbon won. These are special resumes that are done, in addition, to the standard student resume, not as a replacement for the standard.
You need to have a standard, which can be up to two pages. If you have oodles of activities, then you much choose those which you have participated in the most, held office in, or excel at, and limit to only two pages. Any resume longer than two pages is too much information and signals an inability to prioritize and discriminate as to what is significant. The resume is intended to be just the high school years. However, if you have participated in something since childhood, such as Boy Scouts, and are continuing into high school to Eagle Scout level, you can list that you have been involved for longer, but only highlight those activities that you have participated in and won awards during your high school years.
If you have a specialized resume, say for theater or film, and you are NOT applying to any such program in a college, it is best NOT to send that resume, but to create a student resume of activities. If a college sees that you are applying to study psychology and the first thing someone sees on your resume is your five musical theater productions during high school, it does prompt a question as to what you are trying to convey. Are you better off applying to a college with dramatic arts? Why are you choosing us, and psychology, when it appears your heart and passions belong to theater? Think about how your profile is presented and read. I know it might seem like so much extra work, but choosing a college that best fits and matches your abilities and desires, is important and serious; therefore, this demands more dedication and time. You want to show that you have been thoughtful and considerate making this choice.
Does the format matter? Yes and no. Please do not have a glitzy or cluttered appearance to your resume. The resume should be about you, not the bells and whistles of font and color! It is the content that matters. It must be clear, crisp, and consistent. So do not add lots of fun things such as borders or crazy graphics or pictures. Simple, clear, and formal are always better when choosing the format. You can make the format anything you want, but I caution: it is best to use standard fonts, as some of these resumes are copy and pasted into an application, and the formatting, if too elaborate, will not translate when it is downloaded into a file. Clean and traditional are always better options for this document.
I have many samples I can show if you choose to purchase a session or a package to help create a good document, which does what it is supposed to do. I always ask for 5 reviews before copying a resume to bond paper. 1) Read it aloud to yourself to catch obvious preposition and tense errors. 2) Have a parent read for content and accuracy. 3) Have a trusted friend or mentor read it after you make any corrections not for content, but for priorities and format. 4) Guidance counselor after you have had the previous reads and made any corrections. 5) A consultant if you have hired one reads again, and before you go to print, maybe one more review by yourself and parent together. Also, know that people do not speak grammatically correct, and often, what you sense “sounds” correct, is, in fact, wrong. This is especially seen in verb tense—confusion of past and the part participle is something I see a lot of, when reading resumes. It is best to use action verbs and descriptive words rather than: managed, assisted, helped, etc. A typo on an application can be overlooked, but a typo on a resume is pretty much not thought of well.
Any support you need, please contact! Free resume template is available for anyone in need.