Can students look like this to potential employers on a résumé?

Can students who have been involved in the same activities still look like this to potential employers on a résumé?


I walked into the room and introduced myself: “My name’s Heidi Jensen, it’s nice to meet you.”

I was in the faculty dining room at Ursinus College.  Last night, a panel of four entrepreneurs spoke and if you emailed ahead of time, you were permitted to eat dinner with them in the faculty dining room.

When we sat down for dinner, I was accompanied by two other students, two entrepreneurs from the panel, and two professors.   One of the entrepreneurs asked the students sitting at our table what our majors were and why we were here.   The two girls sitting next to me were business economics/dance and psychology/dance majors.  I explained that I was a double English and Media and Communications major and I was here because I’ve become fascinated with entrepreneurship ever since this summer when I became involved in my internship at Epic Careering.

One of the students at the table asked how important being in activities at Ursinus is for potential employers to see on a résumé.  The professors and one of the entrepreneurs at the table responded by saying that you are boring if you have only activities inside the “Ursinus bubble” and you can’t possibly stand out if you have activities from Ursinus on your résumé.  Their point was to encourage this student to go get internships and do other activities outside Ursinus because it is the only way to bolster her résumé above the rest.  I disagree.  Any given student can stand out if they have similar Ursinus activities on their résumé.

I agree that getting internships is important and thank gosh I followed that advice when it was given to me.  But the perspective that Ursinus activities don’t set you apart in any way from others involved in similar activities at Ursinus assumes that everyone involved in activities go about them the exact same way and yield the exact same results.  This is just not true.   Everyone is unique and therefore goes about their activities differently.   A good résumé should convey this unique approach and results, and by extension, a student’s unique value to potential employers.  A student can absolutely stand out on their résumé with Ursinus experience in clubs, organizations, and on campus jobs, just as anyone can stand out on a résumé with any past experience they’ve had.

Although dinner turned out to be a little uncomfortable due to my outspokenness, this experience was valuable in order to get to know how some people perceive résumés.   I think that sometimes they are underestimated in their ability to convey a person’s distinctive value to a potential employer, even if they have been involved previously in similar activities or similar jobs as another candidate.  I hope that in the future, résumés will be acknowledged and utilized by more people for this purpose.