It is common for a student to switch gears and decide that she or he wants to try some new types of jobs. Particularly, a freshman or sophomore is likely to try out different majors and when she/he is ready to make up her/his mind about what kind of career she/he wants, not everything she/he has done is closely related to the position she/he is to apply for. So how should students in such situations write their resumes so that there is enough content and the things listed on the resume are also relevant to the job?
Here is a quick list of possible solutions (not necessarily comprehensive):
- Realize that a resume is not a biography. A resume is not supposed to cover everything that youhave done. Instead, for a reciter, a resume is a summary of meaningful points that the candidates want to make about their qualification for the position. So a resume is the candidate’s opportunity of highlighting his/her skills by showing evidence using what he/she actually had done in the past.
- Emphasizing on transferable skills are usually the approach to phrase some less relevant experiences
- Know the industry and the position. Do research and try to figure out what the postil is really looking for. Target the resume content according to the expectation from the recruiters.It is common to encounter this problem. I have seen cases that came up during walkin hours when people wanted to do consulting after getting an engineering degree, or people who did mostly administrative jobs earlier wanted to do some hardcore field engineer work. Here to clarify the above points, I will use my personal experience as an example. I successfully got an internship after I changed my major from Chemical Engineering to Computer Science.I thought I was going to major in either biochem or chemical engineering during my first year at Rice, but I finally made up my mind to study computer science at the beginning of my sophomore year. I was eagerly looking for an internship, but I thought I had nothing to write about except that I took that one single Computer Science course in my second semester at Rice. I did a lot of oilrelated research, got excellent grades for Organic Chemistry as a freshman, and also TAed Organic Chemistry right after. So I felt it hard to totally ignore my “little” achievements. But on the other hand, I thought it inappropriate to include the chemistryrelated experiences when I was applying to be a software engineering intern.
I got advice from the CCD and got tremendous help from the staff. What I end up doing was to look at the experiences through a “lens”. I emphasized on the transferable skills that I demonstrated in those chemistry related tasks, such as my ability to learn quickly and my general research skills. I also put myself in the shoes of a tech recruiter for a software company and tried to figure out what they were looking for from an intern applicant. Those recruiters for interns definitely wanted smart students, but they also looked for potential. That is, because the tech industry changes so quickly over time, companies would rather look for people who might not know everything now but who had the ability to pick up anything quickly. Realizing what the company was looking for in a resume helped me tailor my experiences from a particular perspective that demonstrates my transferrable skills more than the specific details about the chemistry and the research.
Lastly, remember that CCD is always the place to go for when you have questions about your career! We are always there to help!
Maggie Tang (Lovett College, Duncan Liaison)