Update Aug 4, 2020: The below was written for the publication Uloop. It has been preserved for authenticity.
Have you ever felt like you had such a busy week, but when you look back on it, you can’t actually remember most of what you did? Or you feel like you’re very involved and have a lot going on, but when someone asks you what you do with your time, all you really have to say is school, Netflix, and maybe a job. Obviously those things are all well and good, until the person asking you those questions is an interviewer for the job or internship you really want.
Unfortunately, working and going to school isn’t always enough, because that’s what every other person they’re interviewing has done. Especially when they interview at your school, where literally everyone has taken the exact same classes. Inevitably, they ask, “What have you done in your own time, outside of school?” The question that people either love or hate, there’s no in between. Sure, some people have more money so they don’t have to work as much. Others aren’t taking as many hours so they don’t spend most of their time studying. However, I’ve found that companies don’t take very kindly to excuses. They want to see people who can do it all.
Last week I wrote about why everyone should get their own personal website and the benefits that come with the larger and more creative platform. This week I’m going to address a second benefit of a website; except this one is far less tangible. I want you to use your website as an assessment tool to accurately judge the efforts you are making in your life. Are you as “busy” as you think you are? Do you really have so much going on that you can’t take on those extra volunteer hours or further explore your interests? This is where your website can serve as the push of motivation that you need; as well as the ultimate interview preparation.
First, add everything that already shows up on your printed off, ready to be passed out at a job fair resume. Next, add everything else that you wanted to put on your resume, but didn’t have room for. Does this give a good impression of who you are and/or want to be? Or do you notice that there is a lot of empty space to fill up? If so, this is where you can start adding in the lesser publicized aspects of your resume. If you draw or paint or take photographs or write or build things out of wood, everything that you listed underneath the Skills header on your resume. Now, instead of saying you have skills, you can actually show them off. Anything and everything that could be a way for you to show off what you do and why you do it.
Some of you might be wondering, “But what if I haven’t worked on anything outside of school?” Good! You’re just the person I’m writing for. This article is dedicated to you. I’m sure you’re a great, nice person, but it’s going to be more and more difficult to stand out when the time comes to show off, if you’re not prepared with anything to show. Because remember, they already know what you’ve learned in school, what they really want to know is what you learned outside of school. Use your website to your advantage. Both as the encouragement to push you further and the stage to lift you up.