This week, the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy held two sessions over two days at CNX Center to teach students about the importance of resumes and to start building theirs. Our friends at Dress for Success provided an overview on the general format of a strong resume and how to prepare for a career search and interview process.
Resumes are an individual’s passport and first impression that potential employers will review to make hiring decisions. Good resumes lead to interviews, and good interviews lead to job offers. Thus, it is crucial to sport a strong resume when pursuing professional paths.
Resumes should also be viewed as a continual work-in-progress: students develop the resume but then instantly start to think about how to strengthen it with new activities, skills, and accomplishments. If you aren’t constantly working toward improving your resume, you’re missing the bigger picture.
It was impactful to see a common sequence with students. First, some natural apprehension about starting a resume for the first time. Then a bit of fear of not having enough items to list to make an impressive resume, followed by discussions with mentors about what the students wants to emphasize about themselves. This led to the realization that there is quite a bit to fit within a page or two of a resume. A journey from anxiety to confidence in a few short hours.
Best yet, students began to think about what they want to work on to bolster their resumes. The Academy resume sessions have likely opened the door to many new adventures for the students. I expect students, individually and with their Academy peers, will be seeking additional volunteer opportunities and other new experiences to add skills to their newly created resumes.
The young men and women quickly grasped how a good resume integrates its different sections: the skills tying to the accomplishments which link to the references make for a convincing story of the individual. A potential employer reviewing the resume will not only be drawn in but will also want to learn more about the person, which leads to an interview.
This week felt like a turning point, a new chapter of sorts, for the students, the mentors, and for the Mentorship Academy. We are evolving from the chapter of seeing and learning about industries and professions and now pivoting to the next chapter of working on activities and skills to add to the resumes.
Changing times. And exciting times.