Today’s blog post is a guest submission from Daniel Myers, a senior chemistry major, German minor, and soon to be 2016 graduate at the University of the South. Daniel has a passion for innovation in any and every field, from science and technology to art and literature. He enjoys taking the entrepreneurial route in his work and considers himself to be a definite optimist, as he strongly believes and plans on making the future better than today.
How long is your resume?
Or rather, how long is a resume “supposed to be”?
If you answered with something like “no more than one-page”, you’ve given nothing more than the stock response.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a serious advocate for a well-polished resume, but a “traditional resume” will only get you so far, and rightly so. If your resume looks everyone else’s, especially in a time when young people have had many similar experiences, how are the companies supposed to know who to pick?
“But I’m different!”, you might say. Okay, then how? If you apply for a position traditionally, you will be treated as traditional. However, if you want to be looked at uniquely, you have to approach the application process uniquely.
I say all these things because I’ve had the same thoughts and experiences over the course of my application process. I too thought my resume was awesome and filled with a lot of great things. Yet, over the past nine months, I’ve been rejected from 15+ positions with various companies. So what does that say about my method for applying? Well, for one, it says that it’s pretty ineffective. It’s like trying to hit a long-range target with a shotgun: even if one pellet hits, it probably won’t make much of an impact.
After missing enough targets, I decided to take the “sniper bullet” approach by creating value.
One day, I found a company that I really, REALLY wanted to work for. I applied, but I wasn’t going to leave my acceptance up to chance if I had anything to say about it. So what did I do? I decided to write a 44-page report on business and entrepreneurship in my home state of Tennessee. Since I was applying to a VC firm that would connect me with a local business incubator, I knew the report would add value to their operations.
In writing this report however, I was not only going to add value to their operations, I was also doing myself a favor. I had the chance to reach out to government departments of economic and community development, chambers of commerce, business leaders, entrepreneurs, writers, financial analysts, and so many more different kinds of people. Plus, I got to educate myself on what kind of business and entrepreneurial environment I would be heading into if I got the position.
The result? THEY LOVED IT!
Better yet, the whole project was a win-win for everyone! They had a valuable report in their hands while I was able to grow my network, educate myself, build confidence, and get some great PR from a lot of awesome people! In the end, I was truly able to create value.
So, how can you create value?
Well, just create something! Make a website, build an app, do some research and write a report, start a blog, or whatever else. Whatever you do, construct something that can create value for a company. What does it say about a young person who decides to create rather than wait? It shows that they are a number of things: smart, innovative, driven, interesting, passionate, fun, and willing to venture into the unknown.
Don’t let anything stop you either. I’m a chemistry major and a German minor. I’d never written a business report in my life, but I knew that I had the skill sets to make one, which brings me to another important point: while the knowledge you gain may be industry specific, your skill sets are universal. That being said, make sure to use your skills accordingly to create value for your next application. You’ll be surprised where the adventure will take you.
So don’t wait. Create!