One of the tragic elements of high school is that we spend four years pushing students to work hard on their grades, to improve their transcripts, when in all actuality what they can DO is more important than a three digit number.
Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.”
So why do we spend so much time worried about transcripts instead of what students can DO? My theory is that what students can DO in class: study guides, tests, quizzes, worksheets, crossword puzzles etc won’t look very impressive on a résumé and yet THAT’S probably a more important piece of paper than a transcript in getting a job, because a GOOD résumé doesn’t just list your classes and grades, it shows what you can DO.
Unfortunately many of my students think that you want something like this on your résumé:
Now, don’t get me wrong- the above data is impressive and represents a ton of hard work, but what it doesn’t tell me is what you can DO besides: score well on tests, get good grades, do what you are told, find the right teachers, study etc… and unfortunately very little people get paid to generate high grades or test scores. So what CAN a résumé look like for a high school student?
Well you could start with a few more traditional examples. (click for a bigger image)
BTW all three of these young ladies are amazing and creative. They did things in High School that would make your hair raise. For example: one of them was involved in putting on a completely run REAL TEDx event at F.V.H.S. that’s right, not a copy of a TEDx event, a real one- that they ran without help from any adults. Adults and kids spoke, kids organized.
My advice on a more traditional résumé is:
- Put the most relevant or impressive information at the top
- Keep it to one page
- Don’t fill up space with your references
- Use off-white or beige paper so it won’t pick up fingerprints
- Use slightly heavier paper
- Use a gmail account, not an aol.com account, it shows that you “might” know how to use Google as a collaboration tool.
- Don’t use the TAB key to align text or numbers
- Talk about what you can do, don’t just LIST
Now then, if you really want to show what you can DO, and WHO you are, you could always create a résumé that’s a bit more creative.
Examples of Creative Résumés
Here is the 99u article listing fifteen different types of creative résumés. I shared this article with my students before assigning the résumé project.
This video on a creative résumé blew their minds.
You should also check out Lindsey Roberts, Vizualize Me Page, which is an example of an online résumé, while you are at it, check out her awesome blog Life As A Fish Out Of Water that she continued in college.
SPLASH PAGES AKA Landing Pages
In addition to a résumé students also need a unified online presence, so all of my senior students created an online splash page when they were a week from graduation. Here are a few examples:
. click here to view Millie’s about.me page
click here to see Beverly’s about.me page
click here to see Christine’s about.me
An interesting aspect of landing pages is that they give your students an opportunity to write a personal bio. Personal bios don’t just appear on splash or landing pages, they appear in social media and in “About” pages on a blog. You should introduce your students to writing their own bio by having them read this great how to write an effective bio article.
Here are some bios or about me pages that I like:
- Kelly Kermode
- Karl Lindgren-Streicher
- Moss Pike
- Jodie Morgenson (PS follow the link to her blog and look at her bio)
- Amy Burvall
- Jose Luis Vilson
PS: So what does Google look for when hiring someone?
- learning ability- the ability to pull together new information
- emergent leadership- when faced with a problem how can you work with a team?
- ownership and responsibility of problems affecting yourself and others
- humility: do you value the ideas of others?
- expertise in your specific skill- what have you DONE.
You should read the rest of the New York Times article about Google’s hiring practices.
The shortlink to the page is: bit.ly/howtoshareyou
3 thoughts on “How To Share YOU: Résumés, Splash Pages, and More”
Awesome post, David! Thank you for providing such a detailed, complete, relevant post. This is authentic writing. The bio/about page is the first place potential employers look, but writing instruction is sorely lacking in this area.
What if we have writers introduce themselves with a bio at the outset of a semester as an initial sample of writing? Then, provide writing instruction and practice, watch their craft evolve, and unleash students’ creativity as final evidence of how they’ve grown, who they are and what they can do by the end of the year. Students won’t take many 5-paragraph essays with them after graduation…
Thanks! This post is a must-share. You’ve got me thinking.
Thanks Brian. That’s a great idea and I’m stealing it for next year. Thanks for making me a better teacher.