What did your first resume look like?
With the help of some of our recruiters, many seniors at McGavock High School have gotten a head start on their resumes.
Looking for opportunities to give back to our community, ThinkingAhead recently partnered with PENCIL, a Nashville-based nonprofit that provides resources and support to local public schools. Through this organization, nonprofit recruiter Heather Campbell and banking recruiter Trinity Taylor devised the Headhunters to Heroes initiative. They organized one-on-one virtual meetings between recruiters and a few of McGavock’s seniors to help them develop and master their resumes. The first meeting took place a few weeks ago, when the recruiters and students got to their computers extra early to go over their resumes.
“The goal would be to have the same recruiter meet with the same student to look at the resume again and possibly do some interview prep depending on what their post-graduation goals are,” said Heather, discussing the long-term vision for the H2H partnership. They want to continue to support this group of students all the way through the college application process.
Even though a student’s resume holds vastly different content than those of the executives our recruiters typically work with, much of the advice that Heather and her colleagues gave their high school mentees can be extended to anyone with a resume. Here are some of the key tips that the recruiters discussed with the students that can help anyone looking to make sure their resume is as effective as possible.
1. Keep your resume updated, regardless of your current work status.
“It’s just easier to consider it a living, breathing document,” Heather said. Even if you are not actively looking for a new job, keeping an updated resume with your most recent accomplishments helps you become articulate and aware of your accomplishments, which is a way to gain confidence and understand your value in the workplace.
2. Let your resume tell a story and think outside the box of what belongs on the piece of paper.
“It’s a reflection of your accomplishments, your work, and says, ‘this is who I am as a professional’.” Many high schoolers include unconventional information in their resume out of necessity, considering they don’t have any of the classic resume material yet. But the same practice of thinking outside the box about what might have a place in your professional story is important at any experience level. What is going to tell your story? What unconventional facts or accomplishments might really inform who you are? Heather summed up this idea well: “You can show your personality in a resume,” she said. “I think people forget that.”
3. Fill the paper with data and achievements rather than tasks.
When you are describing your experience, think about communicating what you contributed to your organization in your role, rather than just rehashing the bullet points on your job description or a list of tasks. If possible, quantify those outcomes and achievements. You want to clearly show the impact you have had on every organization you have worked with.
4. Keep your audience in mind.
The first rule of effective communication is to know your audience, and the same is true for resumes. If you are working on your resume to apply for a specific job, use that job description as a tool. Find where your skills and experience most line up with the person they are looking for, and make sure those overlaps are clear and emphasized.
When all of the zoom meetings were over, classes began for the day at McGavock High School, and recruiters hit the phones, everyone involved felt that the first Headhunters to Heroes initiative had been a success.
“You could see these ‘aha’ moments happening when we were broadening the scope of what is possible on a resume, which was really cool,” Heather said, and she was not the only recruiter who was delighted with how the morning went. Others said that the students were engaged, prepared, smart, driven, and had great questions. A feedback form sent to the students reported that all of the seniors would recommend participating in the resume revisions to another student.
Not only did the students and recruiters both enjoy their time together, but the initiative also served to unite our remote and local recruiters in one service effort. We look forward to bringing everyone together once again for another morning of Headhunters to Heroes!