Resume Boosters in High School

You do a ton of things in high school. So much in such a small amount of time that a lot of it is a blur — homework, clubs, conferences, playing basketball at lunch.

When it came time to discuss preparation for applying to universities and colleges, my friends and I were told:

“Grades aren’t everything. You need to be all-rounded.”

We thought this meant:

“I need to stack my resume with a ton of stuff in order to be competitive.”

School amplified this for me. In the ninth grade business, I had to create a resume. Mine felt meaningless by the time I had finished. It ‘wasn't even a page’ and my epic endeavour had been volunteering at an immigration centre months ago for an hour.

I developed a mentality that I needed to fill the white space by doing more.

What wasn’t apparent was I didn’t really need to do that if it wasn’t fun doing whatever I was a part of.

I didn’t really need to like it — I just had to do it so I could write it on my resume that an admissions officer would look at and then proceed to throw into a pile of other resumes.

After a few months I realized there isn’t any real benefit there. If I do anything, I shouldn’t feel obliged to do so due to the status of my resume.

How I created value for myself

I first defined what I found valuable. Then, thought about that consistently.

My definition: value is anything that is important and beneficial to me; anything I have a high opinion of. Time that couldn’t be spent doing anything better.

I didn’t limit creating value to work — it expanded it to all my activities. I felt I was creating value for myself when I was relaxing with some gaming, so I kept doing that. When I was doing an excessive amount of work for a club that I didn’t feel too eager for, I tried limiting the amount of time spent on that activity or dropped it.

When I became a part of an initiative I tried not to think, “This is going to look sweet on my resume.” Rather, “I’m about to be involved with something amazing.”

It’s not just what you’re a part of, but also what you do in whatever position you’re in.

Four Takeaways

  1. For everything you do ask yourself, am I creating meaningful value in some shape or form?
  2. If you’re doing something that you don’t think is creating value, devote that time to another activity — “Time is money.”
  3. You don’t need a resume that’s more than one page to be ‘successful’. It’s a misconception and most people do just fine with an one pager. Instead of focusing on the quantity of your achievements, focus on the quality.
  4. You don’t need to join/start an organization that is ‘for youth by youth’ just to slap onto your resume. Join/start one because you think it is kickass. → *Insert shameless plug*