Does Your Resume Say What You DID? Or Can DO? - Undergrad Success

Does Your Resume Say What You DID? Or Can DO?

Does Your Resume Say What You DID? Or Can DO?
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I recently attended a webinar hosted by well-intended career advisors; the title (and I’m paraphrasing here): “the resume for the well-rounded student.”

Unfortunately, at a time when current students, soon-to-be graduates and recent grads need all the high-quality counsel they can get, the advice in that webinar likely wouldn’t help anyone find work – ever.

Why? The entire focus of the resume template featured in the webinar was about academic achievements – what the student DID in school. The presentation barely mentioned the need for the resume to demonstrate readiness to enter the workforce – or what the young professional can DO for an employer.


To hire the right person, I don’t need an entire resume section dedicated to GPA. Nor do I need one-third of a page listing “relevant coursework”. And, I absolutely do not need objective statements describing how book smart applicants may be. Yet, these three academic sections alone accounted for about half a page of resume content – when many feel entry-level resumes should only be one page total? A half a page of text… and I would still know nothing about the candidate’s ability to do the job I’m hiring for?

Fail. Epic fail. And terrible career advice.

Is being a good student and citizen important? Of course; first and foremost, we look to hire good people who fit with our company’s culture.

However, in the initial 10 seconds I, as the recruiter, am going to give your resume what really matters is not what you DID in school. What matters is what you can DO for the company, including:

How the experience you’ve gained so far stacks up against your job search competition
How quickly I believe I can get you up to speed – and become a contributor
How well you’ll fit in with the existing team
Of my top three criteria… academics is nowhere to be found.

In fact, when I see a resume dedicated to telling me what a good student you are – with no mention of transferable skills, leadership ability or quantified real world experience – I (and many other recruiters, as well) will most likely delete your resume and move on to the next applicant.

Your schoolwork is important – to your professors, parents and to you while you’re in school.

It may also be important to those who hire “top of their class at Harvard” type talent. And, if my decision comes down to you and another top-notch candidate where every other decision criteria seem equal, your schoolwork will be a difference-maker.

If you follow the old-school advice given to those who attended that webinar, however, and present a resume that shows you as an “academic” student – and nothing else… you won’t stand a chance.


No one hires students.

We hire young professionals capable of doing the job, right now. And your resume must reflect what you can DO for me now – and not what you DID in classroom.

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YouTern enables young talent to become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships and mentors – and through contemporary career advice found on their blog, The Savvy Intern

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