Requiem for a Resume

Last week, the NCAA tournament – arguably the most exciting sports championship of the year – kicked off around the country. As always, “March Madness” did not disappoint in the first two rounds, with upsets aplenty and last second finishes that will be replayed for ages. However, this year was marked by some blatant oversights by the tournament committee, who failed to recognize the accomplishments of some smaller schools and instead granted spots in the field to bigger, more established programs whose “resume” was deemed more impressive (see what ESPN Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi had to say).

While the majority of smaller schools do not garner much attention from the tournament committee due to the lower level of competition they face throughout the season, Monmouth University kicked that stigma to the curb by not only scheduling but winning numerous road games against larger, more competitive schools, such as USC, UCLA, Georgetown and Notre Dame. When the regular season came to a close, many experts and analysts pegged Monmouth as a sure fire lock to make the tournament as an at-large selection. When Selection Sunday came and Monmouth was omitted from the tournament field, the general public was up in arms and rightfully so. Without going on a long rant about what teams should have been in (Monmouth) and what teams should have been left out (Tulsa) of the tournament, the point of this piece is to address the importance of one’s resume and what can help differentiate you from the rest of the field.

Though it may be March Madness, it is also that time of year when college seniors begin the search for their first job. While college basketball teams around the country spend the season trying to enhance their resume, students entering the workforce should also be taking the time to bolster their individual resumes to ensure they are providing themselves with the best opportunities upon graduation.

Unfortunately, not everyone boasts a degree from Harvard or Yale, something that drastically enhances one’s chances of landing the most coveted jobs with Fortune 500 companies. Instead, the majority of students will need to differentiate themselves in other ways, such as earning credits via study abroad programs, engaging in internships, and getting involved in various extracurriculars around campus. All of these activities and experiences create a resume that resonates more soundly with recruiters and employers. Very similar to the way that playing bigger competition and winning games on the road should resonate more with the tournament’s selection committee.

So even though Monmouth University narrowly missed the tournament this year, they have also increased their chances of playing on a larger scale in years to come, ultimately increasing their chances at a tournament bid. Similarly, you may not get that job at the Google Creative Lab or a spot on JPMorgan’s trading desk immediately upon graduating, but with a solid list of credentials and a resume that differentiates you from the crowd, you’ll certainly land a great position regardless of whether it’s your first job out of school or an opportunity years down the road.

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