Opinion: Do Not be Afraid to Brag

As a teenager in high school, money can be a struggle. Finding a perfect balance of social life, paying for gas, food, and personal items wobbles week to week. All the while, college is also sneaking nearer and nearer, so financials can be a tricky and dangerous game. While these experiences prepare a young person for the long life ahead, they will also offer training for one to be successful in the future. These and other factors come into play when one is looking to begin a new job. Likewise, college admissions counselors, when reading glowing applications, love to see job experience. Such references are sometimes a deciding factor among students who have similar grades. Finally, and probably the most important consideration of having job experience is having money in your name; as it is a pleasant feeling. As a result, you can get Chick-fil-A with your friends, buy that new pair of sneakers, and fill up your gas tank so you can drive to a concert an hour away. However, to guarantee a position at a desired place of work, one must compose a professional and thorough resume. With a polished resume, a potential employer will be drawn to one’s achievements and extensive qualifications.

The first step to developing an impressive resume is to consider all remarkable personal achievements and involvements. Do not hold back; every detail is important. Something not so impressive to you may be significant to someone else. “Bragging” or “boasting” carries a negative connotation, so just say “speaking highly of yourself.” Speaking highly of oneself can be a most daunting task, but it is also an opportunity to pour your heart out and sell yourself.

When applying for a job, potential employees are expected to provide a complete list of personal accomplishments. To do so, one needs to reminisce about successes including awards, forms of education, certifications, and licenses. This is where the uphill battle of hard work finally pays off. The rewarding feeling of seeing a list of feats should encourage one to continue to strive for more triumph. Once a cohesive list of proud events and successes is developed, organize the items on the list from most recent including present involvements to farthest in the past. This process can be done in your head, on a scrap piece of paper, or a random document. Then when you eventually sit down to type this highlight reel, the words will spill directly onto the paper unabated.

The first step of beginning to physically write a resume includes developing a format that appeals to both one’s personal taste and that of the intended recipient. The resume should have a touch of personality that involves the individual. In other words, personalize the resume to reflect the image you wish to convey. If you like a little logo with your initials, pop one on the paper or add color accents. This sheet reads “you” in writing, and to possible employers who have no idea who you are yet, it defines you. As you are a human with thoughts, emotions, opinions, and hardships, a resume is unable to reveal that side of you. As such, make the list more aesthetically pleasing to yourself.

Microsoft Word and Google Docs have premade resume formats, and if none appear satisfactory, create one. Once a format is selected, follow along and fill in the basic contact information. This is a simple task. Name, email address, phone number are the necessary means of communication. Depending on the job, including a personal website, blog, social media handle, or even mailing address may be needed. Choose what to include using sound judgment. Be sure to avoid adding unneeded information like a second email or home phone number; this could just become confusing.

First impressions mean a lot, and this is why a resume summary should form the objective of the resume quickly, succinctly, and positively. With only a few sentences, inform the employer about who you are and what you want. A summary can include a current status like student in high school, college, or graduate school; previous work experience or experience in a particular field; future plans; and strong personal skills. Explain right here that you are an excellent communicator and are seeking to use those skills. Mention that you are a successful high school student who is actively involved in many clubs, and you plan on pursuing a degree in English. A summary puts everything included on the resume into perspective but avoids writing in the first person and stresses the professionalism one is trying to develop.

At last, the moment has come to empty all of the earlier brainstormed achievements. As mentioned, the accomplishments should be listed in reverse chronological order, including full title and date. In the event of too many accomplishments to fit on one page, only choose the most relevant to the job for which you are applying. Employers want to see ambition and a desire to work. Be concise and select items relevant to that specific employer, and use keywords that trigger positive connotations of an employee. Embellishment is not looked down upon; it is in fact encouraged. If you have more than a high school education, list your highest degree first, and then go back to reverse chronological after that. Include any relevant educational honors, coursework, and awards. It may sound silly and simple, but be honest on your resume about your education. It will only count against you when you are being evaluated for a job.

Nearing the end, employers want to know about personal skills and what you “bring to the table.” Include hard skills such as knowing the ins and outs of Photoshop or how to use a cash register. Equally important are soft skills such as strong communication skills, leadership, and organization. Additionally, add your hobbies and personal interests to the bottom of the resume. Employers enjoy seeing a wide range of activities and well rounded interests. Clubs, sports, and music activities show the skills of working well in a team, no matter what the hobby may be. Include volunteer work, awards, and other special skills like being bilingual or a certified scuba diver; that is impressive!

Composing a professional and extensive resume is crucial to procuring a position at a specific workplace. Use these new found tools to compose resumes for anything in the future.

The preparation of a resume is not unlike the preparation of an essay; the author prepares a first draft and makes revisions.The difference is the revisions of a resume are alive and fluid as are the experiences of the author’s life.

The opinions of the stated author do not constitute an official position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District or of the LS News editorial board.

By Angela Savoca, LS News reporter

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