Writing resumes and cover letters can be daunting to students. This rite of passage on the track from school to career forces them to truthfully examine their lives and, perhaps more difficult, write persuasively about it.
Sixty students piled in the classroom equipped for 25 at my workshop for freshmen at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston.
“All I’ve done is study, and I feel like I can’t get a job because I don’t have any work experience? What can I do?” the student lamented.
“Well, you could give up,” I replied. The student laughed. “OR you could highlight the work you’ve achieved — school, extracurricular activities and volunteering. Employers understand this for an entry level job. Starting right where you are is perfect!”
“I was thinking I would put my resume on orange paper to get their attention.” His large personality was even brighter. “What do you think about that?”
“Well, it will definitely get their attention AND you’ll be remembered. . .but not necessarily for the reason you want.” Everybody laughed. “You’re not inviting someone to a party. You’re showcasing your skills, experience and goals, plus showing how you can fit in the culture of a working environment. Now if the business throws parties…!”
“I’m from St. Thomas,” she said, her accent thick and her English flawless. “I removed all my experience gained on the island because it’s another country, but now there’s not much left in my resume.”
“Of course there isn’t! You’re 19! Leave your experience in,” I grinned as I saw her sigh in relief. “Who knows? St. Thomas could be your foot in the door. Then it’s up to you. Never discount your story.”
In the days after the seminar, several students worked with me privately. One in particular was charged to get his resume out for an open position he really wanted. The next week, he announced, “I’ve got an interview!”
I coached him on preparedness in answering typical questions like “where do you want to be in three years?” as well as those from his resume. I even gave him hints about what power tie to wear.
The following week, he came back in. His enthusiasm was still good, but he informed me he didn’t get the job.
“I wish you had gotten it,” I said, “but that position did its work anyway, huh?”
“Well, it got you on the fast track to a great resume AND gave you experience in interviewing, both very good things in only a week!”
“You’re right,” he said. “I found two more ads I’m answering today.”
With great attitude and focus to move forward, he’s onward and upward at 18.
This student knows his future starts now.
Here’s another story about Teen Writer Success.
*Academic Coaching available by appointmentDisclaimer — It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences. However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.