We all have to do it. Whether we’re aiming for our first or fourth jobs, at some point we sit down and create or update our résumés. We look at ourselves and sum up all of our accomplishments into one page. And after we’ve done that, we hope that someone looks at it and thinks we’re impressive, or at the very least, qualified.
My mom once told me that her kids were her greatest accomplishment. Well, I’m not there yet. But it got me thinking about what I’m most proud of and how many of those items have no place on a résumé. My sister and many of my girlfriends work 8-10 hours a day, take their kids to ballet or football, fix dinner, help the kids with homework, put them to bed, and then tend to laundry and other chores. Where is the pay raise for that kind of multi-tasking?
Like I said, I have yet to have kids, but I still feel that during my 29 years I have a few tests of will, character and determination, even if my little one-page résumé doesn’t come right out and say it. For instance, it’s not that I graduated from Penn State With Highest Honors that I’m most proud of, it’s that I worked two jobs and earned scholarships while there, paying for my college education myself.
I have been a hiring manager before and have read résumés and cover letters of hopeful applicants. How many times I have considered that a person is more well rounded than what a single sheet of paper shows?
An impressive résumé is one thing. But wouldn’t it help to know if a candidate is a reliable and caring friend, a helpful sister/brother, a devoted daughter/son, or a loving wife/husband?
You’re supposed to leave personal lives out of the hiring process, but when a résumé only lists professional accomplishments, how do you know you’re not hiring a self-centered, judgmental douche bag? You would want to know that a person is dependable, thoughtful and friendly, and it would be a bonus if he/she could help plan a Christmas party or co-commission the office football pool.
For this reason, I would like to add a list of skills as an addendum to my résumé:
– Project Management: I have planned five successful bachelorette parties because I feel my girlfriends all deserve an incredible night of debauchery, silliness and sexiness. (Pole dancing lessons are quite a workout!)
– Creativity: My triceratops and T-Rex impressions make my 2-year-old nephew laugh every time.
– Team Player: I have attended many softball and kickball games to be the personal cheering section for my boyfriend. In addition, I devote Sundays to sitting on the couch and watching football with him.
– Flexibility: Well, my boyfriend can tell you about that.
– Dependability: Upon invitation, I have never missed a bridal shower, wedding or baby shower, no matter how far away they were.
– Goal-oriented: I’m not the best cook, but I’m pretty sure it was my mini-pizzas that made my boyfriend fall in love with me (in addition to my flexibility, of course).
It’s our experiences in our personal lives that shape and define us, more so than a degree or title.
A well-earned Masters or law degree doesn’t mean we’re smart enough to recognize Mr. Right is treating us wrongly. And promotions don’t make us powerful enough to overcome devastating heartaches.
While prospective employers might want to see a few more successful marketing campaigns and improved profit margins on my résumé, it would be nice if they could read between the lines. My résumé may point out that I live and work in NYC, but it doesn’t show the diligence of navigating the subway system and busted sidewalks in four-inch heels.
And if the employer doesn’t see past the paper, and I don’t get the job, it’s OK. There will still be “Ladies Weekends” with my girlfriends, cuddling on the couch with my boyfriend, and Skype chats with my sister and nephew.
While I may look good “on paper,” it’s having loved ones who don’t care about that that is my greatest accomplishment.