I'd like to think I am more than a piece of paper, but any glance at a job or summer internship application tells me I'm not.
The "limit your resume to one-page" directions force me to shrink margins and decrease font size, two options I rarely use on Microsoft Word, in order to accurately present the many facets of me. I don't mean to imply that my accomplishments or activities are so numerous that they can't all fit in an 8.5" X 11" space, because they certainly can, it's just the very idea of shortening all my sleepless nights, countless meetings and hard work into one to two bullet points that bothers me.
Call me crazy, but resumes do the exact opposite of highlighting my abilities. I mean, every time I sit down to revise my resume (because as the Career Center's Career Guide booklet states, "the revision process never stop"), I spend most of my time using my thesaurus to find better action verbs than "tutored" or "organized" in hopes of conveying a better sense of what I contributed. I didn't just tutor and organize, gosh darn it. I prefer "inspired," "revolutionized" or "masterminded."
Okay, maybe not.
I do find though that the rather suffocating formality of the resume sends all my quirks and creativity straight down the drain, and I am left with no other choice but to describe formal (read: "impressive-looking") organizations and honors attained, rather than describe the more meaningful, informal experiences I have gained here at Duke.
Take, for example, tenting. With the men's basketball's preseason ranking of No. 1 and what's turning out to be another disappointing football season, basketball season can't come any sooner, and several tent groups are already forming. Not very many organizations, internships and activities can give you a wider range of skills and strategies necessary for success than tenting, which definitely was the highlight of the second semester of my freshman year. In fact, if I could include it on my resume, I'd have to include several bullet points, not just one or two:
"Tenting. Collaborated with 11 individuals on daily basis to ensure competitive spot in tenting line-up and to promote Duke basketball. Facilitated dialogue between tent members, line monitors and other members of Krzyzewskiville to cultivate environment of safety in sub-freezing temperatures. Promoted the importance of Cameron Crazies by constantly jumping up and down. Gained Microsoft Excel skills through process of coordinating 12 ACES schedules."
Though my work experience as a tenter (and trust me, it is work), I exhibited team work, time management, flexibility and organizational skills. Heck, I didn't even have to waste a summer to gain my Excel abilities. And I clearly epitomized passion and perseverance.
As for the "Skills" section, sure, I can spit out PowerPoint presentations and work my magic with Microsoft Word without the help of Animated Paperclip. Did I mention, though, after many late nights on Central Campus, I've also gained the skills necessary of playing Texas Hold 'em well, too?
Granted, I would never actually put the above on my real resume, except for "Krzyzewskiville" and "card games" in the "Interests" section, and I'm obviously just poking fun at the whole craft-a-resume process. Perhaps what I'm most peeved about when writing a resume, though, is that I appear on paper as a very boring, typical Duke student. My grades are good, my organizations are varied, and my contributions are commendable. At the same time, I have no personality. My resume simply doesn't exude "Miho."
In fact, there is something to be said about an individual who tents or who "goes all in" with pocket aces. Or at least, I think so. If you stripped me of my organizations and accomplishments, you'd be left with my idiosyncrasies, the ways in which I use my free time when I'm not so wrapped up in "what will make me look good."
I'll just have to stick to hoping my interviewer will ask me about my "Interests" section, that last line of my resume where I can then go into detail on "Krzyzewskiville" and "card games."
That is, if the rest of my resume is good enough for me to land the interview.
Miho Kubagawa is a Trinity junior. Her column normally runs every other Wednesday.
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