Because September hosts Labor Day weekend, blog post topics this month have been centered around one theme – jobs! Today, the last September post, is no different.
This is a topic I struggled with when I entered the job market… how do I put my years of leadership experience in Rainbow and all the skills I learned onto my resume? It’s a challenge. It isn’t traditional, paid “work experience” so I can’t list it in that section because that would be a lie. It is never okay to lie on your resume, not even a little bit! So where do I put it? And what do I write? Fortunately, through years of helping people with their resumes, I have figured it out!
Let’s start by agreeing on what a traditional resume looks like. Go ahead and google it if you want to. But I already did that for you. It mostly looks like this (from Rollins College):
There’s your personal info at the top, then maybe an objective, education, work experience in chronological order with bullet points, and “other” sections (which you can title many different things) that could list community involvement, volunteer work, extracurriculars, personal achievements, hobbies, skills, etc.
One more thing we should have in mind before we get into resumes is that hiring managers and human resources folks only spend about 6 seconds reading your resume. That’s it. 6 seconds. You have to be careful about what stands out!
Got all that? Okay, let’s talk about getting creative!
It seems obvious to list your Rainbow experience in the “other” sections I mentioned above. But that’s usually at the bottom of the resume. And it is sometimes a section managers skip when reading a resume. I don’t want that to happen, especially for our Rainbow girls who might not have held many jobs, but are more qualified than other people due to Rainbow. So, here are some ways to get creative:
Write a skills-based resume (or even a STRENGTHS-based resume, about which I’ll go into more detail in a future post). In this type of resume, you don’t list your jobs in chronological order like the sample above. You list your top skills (maybe 2-5 depending on your years of experience) and then you write bullet points giving more detail about how you’ve used/developed them. Here’s an example (from Purdue University):
A pro of this format is you can list your Rainbow experience all throughout your resume! Here’s some examples of how you might write about Rainbow in this resume:
A con of this format is that some managers might not like it because they aren’t used to seeing it and they might not read it (remember, only 6 seconds). But you could also get someone who loves that it’s something they haven’t seen before. You just never know. Your best bet is to use this resume format if you have already met the manager, or get a referral, or give it to them in person, and can tell them, “I have a skills-based resume. If you want another format to look at, please let me know, but I think you’ll enjoy reading this to get a better picture of what I can do.”
Another way to get creative is to write out your own “other” section for Leadership Experience with bullet points like you would for work experience. Here’s the inspiration I found for that (from Rollins College):
So, what could this look like for Rainbow? Here’s an example I wrote:
You’ll notice I used words like “chapter” and “president” in order to help the reader understand what they might not understand in Rainbow terms.
A pro of this option is this section of your resume will attract more attention so it is more likely to be read. And you get to really highlight all you did in Rainbow!
A con of this option is it might make your resume too long if you have plenty of other work experience to write about.
A third creative option would be to ditch the Objective in your resume and write about Rainbow in an introduction instead. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of work experience to write about. Here’s what that section might look like:
One pro of this option is, because it’s at the top of your resume, a manager will see your Rainbow experience quickly.
One con of this option is your introduction becoming too long. Use bullet points to make it more “readable”. You could also write a brief bit about Rainbow in your introduction, and get more detailed in your “other” section.
Can you think of some other creative ways to include Rainbow on your resume to give it the respect it deserves? Feel free to share it here!