High school was probably the first real time I was introduced to the idea of building a resume. If you were interested in going to college, your high school career practically revolved around building your resume. My first resume consisted of just about any and everything I had ever done in my life. Even including hobbies, it was not hard to keep it to one page. As I progressed through my educational career, I fine tuned the art of resume writing. But it was after a session with a law school career counselor, that I really started to understand the true art of resume writing.
I stumbled into her office after my first semester of law school. Many first year law students already have a pretty impressive resume. They have spent their lives curating their resume for a career in law. I had not. My previous work experience consisted, literally, of Dairy Cow Milker, Dog Kennel Technician, Veterinarian Technicians’ Assistant, Equine Veterinarian Barn Staff, Wildlife Refuge Intern, and Skydiving Instructor/Videographer. Essentially, I had scooped the poop of many different species of animals prior to entering law school, and I jumped out of airplanes. What were the admission officers even thinking letting me into law school in the first place? The career counselor quickly set me at ease though. She explained that these past jobs actually told a potential employer more about me than I realized. Scooping the poop of animals made me a hard worker and jumping out of airplanes made me interesting. All I needed to do was help an employer see this via my cover letter.
“My life is my message.” —Mahatma Gandhi
What she was essentially saying was that what was important was not the list of credentials set out in my resume but the experiences and life lessons they represent. These past experiences made me who I am today. Getting up at four in the morning to round up a bunch of cows to be milked to return home covered in cow poop to a tiny dorm room actually built character.
“I have learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.’” —Maya Angelou
Your life resume is very similar. All your past experiences made you who you are today. Good or bad they should be viewed as stepping stones to who you want to be. Do not convince yourself that because your resume says Mom, or married, or single, or still lives with parents that you are unqualified to follow your dreams. Explain to yourself in your life's cover letter how all your past experiences built character and made you a more interesting person. Your specific experiences set you apart from everyone else and make you more qualified to land the life of your dreams.
Trust me, if I can manage to secure a legal internship with my resume and class rank, you can accomplish that thing that your heart yearns for. Let your life's cover letter be so crammed with experiences and life lessons that you have no excuse but to chase the impossible. Your life has been building up to this very moment. What are you going to do with it?
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —Mary Oliver