Resumes baffle me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who stares at my computer screen for hours trying to think of a way to say “Pick me!” without looking desperate, cliché, or slightly crazy. It’s like the world just said, “Here, compile a one-page document highlighting all of your achievements in a way that sets you apart from the rest of the black-and-white papers in the stack, while still conforming to the rigid and traditional, boring resume-stuff”. Oh yay.
Why have we made a document that’s all about our time to shine so tedious and stodgy to read? And don’t even get me started on my “objective”. To get the job, of course.
Add in the fact that I’m a fresh-faced, twenty-something recent graduate and it feels as if the cards are stacked against me. In reality, I’ve got loads of experience and am quite the knock-out human being!
However, that experience isn’t always something that can be neatly phrased on a piece of paper. If it were up to me, listing the following qualifications on my resume would be a-ok in the corporate world:
- The ability to wake up exactly one minute before my alarm goes off. I’m prompt, I’m punctual, and apparently possess some freaky internal clock that refuses to let me sleep in on a Sunday when said alarm is not even set.
- I can magically make a box of donuts disappear before your very eyes. What’s that? There’s a sprinkle on my cheek? Never you mind. Point is, everyone in the office will be well fed provided the donuts can make it from my car into the building.
- I have a nice smile. Seriously, no one smiles anymore. It makes them grumpy and no fun. I smile all the time to the point of my face hurting (because I have lots to smile about, not because I’m at a family reunion where I’m forced to smile and pretend like I know and like everyone who talks to me); who doesn’t love some cheeriness in their day?
- I’m a good listener, which gets understated much too often. Sure, I like being in charge and taking control, but I’m also perfectly happy handing over the reins and doing my role, even when said role is “Team Member #12”. I won’t complain about it, but I’ll sit and listen and take in as much as I can so I can best understand the situation, how to make it better, put forth my best contribution, and file the experience in my brain bank for the future.
- I enjoy menial paperwork. Oh, you need that filed? That form needs filled out and faxed? You have to file a report every time you take a new pen out of the storeroom? No worries, I’ve got that.
- I’m an expert at falling. Falling down stairs, falling up stairs, falling over nothing at all. I’ve even fallen down on stage in front of hundreds of people. Point being, I’ve also perfected the art of getting back up in a way that makes it look 100% intentional, like it’s all part of the dance number. Or at least brushing myself off and not getting embarrassed about it.
- I’ve adapted to 15 different iterations of Facebook and other ever-changing technologies, even when they’re redundant and not terribly intuitive. I know people who still have trouble opening a file in Word, but for me, technology is part of my life and I know how to manipulate it like it were a third arm. Not to mention the fact that I can deftly master all of the new apps and versions that emerge every other week. I’m like a human sponge.
- All of those skills that are too cliché to put on your resume, but are true regardless. Yes, I am a detail-oriented, motivated team player and self-starter. But I apparently can’t say that at the risk of sounding like I just Googled a bunch of resume-oriented buzzwords. That doesn’t make them any less true.
- I can bake some mad Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes. This is not bribery, this is fact.
See, totally relevant! We’ve all got some legitimate skills that have taught us a lot about ourselves and how we best operate, and while those skills might not always be wrapped up in a pretty little ribbon they’re still important. So here’s to finding a way to shine on your resume, even if that means taking the not-so-traditional route and sending in a video of that really awesome interpretive dance you choreographed during your sophomore year of college.