Transformative resume building and interview coaching for college seniors

Where was I Inspired to Act?

Helen Koster

Going through the process of developing a thoughtful resume is very important because it is where you begin to bridge the gap between the two very different worlds of education and work.

The educational system is metered out one step at a time. One accomplishment leads to another. There are spoken and written expectations. Certainty tends to exist. You can be sure that once you achieve the requirements of one step you are going to move on to the next rung of the ladder that eventually leads you to where you want to go, a college diploma.

The work world operates off of a different model. The student transitions from a world of learning to a world that asks “what can you do for us?”

Here’s a tip on how you can translate your summer work, school projects, and volunteer work and give a great answer to that question…an answer that goes way beyond just pointing out your skills.

Take a look at your resume and what you’ve done. And, ask yourself the question “Where was I inspired to act and did it involve inspiring others, too?”

Our tendency to state our accomplishments as only our own stems from the strong cultural bias we have toward the individual. Ironically, companies are always looking for people who possess leadership qualities. Many people do and you may be one of them and just haven’t yet thought about yourself that way.

inspired to act

Where was I inspired to act and did it involve inspiring others, too?

Here’s an example. A graduating student thought she was just a volunteer carrying out a job when she was named Chair for her community’s Relay for Life and she listed it on her resume with no explanation. She actually led a large group of people.

  • Led a diverse mix of student and adult committees to fashion and implement an inspired charity evening which exceeded fundraising goals.

That was a great jumping off point for her to discuss who she is and what she can do for a company. It could also be a key mention in a cover letter/email. So, take a look at your experience and remember the times you were able to engage people in your vision. Were you able to inspire them to work toward that vision with you? If the answer is yes, build it into your resume and know that you can address with confidence the question “what can you do for us?” with an answer about not only what you’ve done but who you are and how that’s made a difference in the jobs you’ve had.

Good luck!