In COM we do two things: 1) We tell stories, and 2) We gain as much experience as possible so that after graduation we can get hired to tell stories.
The sum of those experiences usually tells a story itself; there’s a narrative aspect of our resumes. Once in a while, I stay up late, my laptop screen the only source of light in my room, reading LinkedIn profiles as bedtime stories. I search CEOs and industry leaders to see how their previous positions equal current top spots. And in past years, I’ve peeked at the profiles of upperclassmen, trying to read how their undergraduate endeavors led them from one position to the next.
Now that I’m a senior, I’ve seen three lightning-fast years fly, and I wonder, What even have I done? A quick scroll down my own LinkedIn profile answers my question. Oh. Yeah. That’s what. Three years of volunteering, studying, interning, teaching, mentoring, and butt-busting laid out on a web page remind me exactly how those years flew.
Last summer, the story my resume told did not impress employers as I thought it would. I applied for countless summer internships when I was in London, and I only heard back from one, informing me I, unfortunately, was not one of the 150 chosen from 13,000 applicants. Odds were not in my favor. Eventually, I took a job teaching English to first-time US visitors from China, and I loved it.
It’s up to me now to connect my varied work experiences so I can tell my story. This is where a thorough resume read-through or perhaps a cheeky LinkedIn self-stalk helps. It’s a good idea to look at your LinkedIn as a bit of an autobiography. All your experiences can be linked together if you view them as parts of your bigger narrative. Telling your personal tale is easiest when you identify how past experiences shaped the potential employee you are. How coursework, networking, landing the right job, maybe even landing the wrong job has made you knowledgeable, connected, able, resilient.
I can’t deny that even though my summer job was not the internship I originally envisioned, the teaching position made me more culturally aware, completely comfortable leading lectures, and better prepared to bounce back from rejection. The narrative of my undergraduate years is dynamic, unconventional and diverse. Telling my story will be important as I apply to post-graduate opportunities to work, volunteer and travel.
If you’re like me, in the middle of the application process, remember to practice your interview questions and dress for success. And, most important to your personal story, don’t forget your LinkedIn Self-Stalk. P.S. You can do anything good.