Once you get to college, the word you will probably hear more than any other is “resume.” Everyone has one, everyone wants to add mores to their’s, and things will be marketed as a “good resume builder.” Clearly, having an extensive, professional resume is something all college students should have. But the key is having a resume that is not only filled, but meaningful.
I work at the career center at my school, and as a result have learned a great deal about resumes, interviewing, cover letters, etc. As a freshman, it’s easy to just start joining anything and everything and as a result have a resume that looks full.
My advice: pick a few things that mean a lot to you and don’t overwhelm yourself. Not everything you do has to go on your resume. Depending on what you’re applying for, some things just aren’t relevant. But, everything you do doesn’t have to be tailored to your career goal, either. I’ve gone through many interviews, and I’m often asked most about the things on my resume that have essentially nothing to do with the job I’m interviewing for. Employers want to see those transferable skills that you learn outside of the classroom. They want to see that you’re passionate about something besides your career.
Having a resume that’s balanced between work and play is important, and in my experience, makes you stand out more. Also, having a leadership position can help you stand out. But even if you don’t have a leadership position, don’t think that means you won’t get asked for an interview. When you interview, you will be asked about those organizations and the key is to highlight what you’ve learned from being part of that group and tying it into the skills you would need for the job you’re interviewing for.
Bottom line: don’t do something just because you feel like you “should” so you can have it on your resume. Do things that matter to you (which hopefully includes some things directly related to your future career), and it will show through.