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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Are your kids in leadership roles?

May I assume that we are all familiar with the word rubric (no, not like the cube)?  Maybe no?  I did not learn about it till I had kids and they started bringing home assignments along with these charts laying out what they needed to do to get an A (see sample here).  I don't remember having such clear guidelines when I was in school...  Did we have it harder then?  Was it actually better preparation for the real world?  I doubt that the companies and bosses our kids work for will be providing such detailed instructions on what they need to produce to earn an A at work.  Oh, sorry, the definition for those of you who have yet to come across this magical little piece of paper:  A rubric (according to Merriam-Webster) is an explanation or a set of instructions at the beginning of a book, a test, etc.  There is an alternative definition that states it is a rule for conduct of a liturgical service.  That particular definition is less relevant to our discussion though.

As a teacher, I was curious about whether there are rubrics available for some of the assignments I give in classes, particularly one for writing a resume. A quick search of the Internet resulted in a fairly comprehensive rubric written by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The full version has 4 columns that descend from a perfect resume down to horrible.  The abridged version is posted here with just the best and worst shown for contrast.

This is an excellent tool for both high school and college seniors to help prepare their resumes for applications to schools and employers.  The guidelines are clear and have been created based on input from the actual people who make decisions on accepting our kids.

However, we do not need to wait until the applications are imminent before reading through the rubric and getting a head start on the content.  There were three key lines that jumped out at me and are worth considering for our kids.

In the Education Section a "Best" resume would include the student's: Major, degree, GPA, study abroad, and relevant course work.  Companies and colleges are looking for connections here to the job or degree. We know about GPA of course but course choice in college can often be more about fitting something into a schedule rather than considering what will be most relevant for our kid's future career.

The Experience Section has several points but as with education above, this line should be written in bold letters, underlined, and italics, Information relates to the intended career field. If our kid is applying to the marketing department and just happens to have had an internship with P&G (doing marketing) then their chances of getting in have jumped exponentially.

The last section, while not often the center of attention on a resume, Honors/Activities specifies something that I rarely see on resumes at the college level but also mid-career, Skills gained and leadership roles held. Typically the kids put "Swim Team" or "Piano" and leave it at that.  The positive impression that including the word Captain after swim team adds to a resume can make all the difference.  Now, if my daughter is already a senior in college we can't go back in time (yet) and convince her to look for a leadership role in whatever she is doing.  But, if your son is 10 or 14 and still in the midst of building their resume we can apply a little parental persuasion and encourage some leadership and skill building when there is still time.

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