‘Tis the Season

By: Olivia Jenkins

It’s that time of year (no not Christmas, sadly) where the moment comes to apply to jobs, internships, and fellowships. I myself have entered into the world of refining résumés and crafting cover letters, spending hours making specific word choices to ensure that I get the job. One thing that I’ve always struggled with is knowing how to present myself in a professional situation where I know that I am the right fit for the job, but I don’t want to come off as vain and arrogant. During my job search, I reached out to people in my life that are more experienced in the professional world (aka my parents). My mother gave me one piece of advice that will stick with me for the rest of my life; it was something along the lines of, “If you’re not selling yourself to them, how can you expect them to know how amazing you are?”

That being said, I thought I’d share three things that have helped me confront my “job shyness.”

1.     Be passionate.

A cliché, I know, but it’s true! Being passionate about a prospective job is one of the key aspects to a successful application. While I realize that it might be challenging to be as enthusiastic about folding (and refolding!) clothes as it is to be pumped about a startup tech company, showing interest in the values of the company is vital.

2.     Tell a story.

I found that when I was putting together my résumé, none of the pieces seemed to flow together. All that was on the page just looked like a list of my education, previous employment, and skills. My dad shared with me that it is important that your résumé is telling your story, even though it is just snippets of what you’ve done. Your prospective employer should feel like they have gotten to know you by being able to read that piece of paper with information that paints a picture of who you are.

3.     Be honest.

This one might seem obvious to most of you, but I think that a lot of us don’t realize that modesty can sometimes be an opponent to honesty. Believe it or not, it’s possible to be too modest, especially in the case of résumé writing. If you are withholding something spectacular you did or an amazing trait that you have, you are selling yourself short. Whoever is reading your résumé has probably gone through piles of other résumés printed on the same white 8.5 x 11 inch paper from Office Depot. They want to be “wowed” by you, so don’t feel embarrassed about sharing all of the things that make you great!

Best of luck on your way to changing the world, one résumé at a time!