Many of us remember when we were taught how to write a resume. How to fit all of you skills, achievements, and qualifications on one piece of paper. As a high school student, that was not too difficult for me. I was involved of course, but there wasn't a great deal of appeal to my resume in terms of what separated me from the masses. However, as time has moved on and technology has completely shifted the way that we present ourselves to the public, I have learned a great deal more about how we can give our students a huge advantage in marketing themselves for whatever field they go in to. And it doesn't necessarily start with the one piece of paper.
Don't get me wrong. The traditional resume is still used in almost any interview process. However, there is a lot more front loading and marketing that should exist long before you hand someone your official resume. Today's world is different and more accessible to young people. It is our job as school leaders, teachers, and community members, to make sure our students know exactly how to build their resume.
With technology at our student's fingertips, there is nothing they cannot do. Our students can publish professionally from a very young age. This is something none of us had a chance to do when we were young. If they are blogging about their interests, organizing events on Facebook and Twitter, creating quality presentations and uploading them on Slideshare.net, editing videos for a cause on YouTube or Vimeo, and creating a Google Site to put all of this together, they are one hundred steps in front of their competitors. Think about going to an interview and instead of simply handing in a resume before you show up, giving a list of links that prove your skills on a professional level. So your interview becomes the icing on the cake and proof that your ability is matched with great interpersonal skills. This is exactly the kind of stuff that should be going on in our schools.
Gone are the days when we tell students, "This is going to help you in the future." We can tell them how this benefits them now and in the future. After all, isn't that much more relevant to a teenager? The beauty is that this process can be done within the classroom and I am not just talking about electives. Students can blog about their passions in English class. They can organize a veterans event and film the interviews to post to YouTube afterwards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahoKUy1pBo0). They can give a science presentation to local farmers about their ideas to improve crop production and post it online at SlideShare.net. They could also Skype or Facetime the presentation someone abroad. They could organize an event to raise funds for impoverished families during the holidays and promote it online. These are just a few of the ways in which students could maximize technology within their classrooms and begin contributing on a large scale today.
This is how we can truly give our students an advantage and here is the secret...It's not just about building their resume. These things give them purpose, teaches them to serve others, gives them critical thinking skills, and makes them well rounded individuals. These are the kind of things that benefit us the most. Our students will be confident and undeterred when they don't get their dream job right away or aren't accepted into their first school of choice. Because our students will be adaptable and will have experience in overcoming obstacles. And they will know that they are going to be successful regardless of who turns them away.
This is the kind of resume I want to help build with my students. This is the kind of resume that makes a young person (or an adult for that matter) stand out. We need to teach our students that they cannot be defined by an SAT score. They are much more than that. They are active, involved, ambitious, and already beginning a lifelong journey of success. Lets help our young people start writing their resume today. Leading is Teaching.