I started to think about the value of resumes for today’s high school students after a Twitter conversation I had with New Milford High School junior Sarah Almeda. Some of you might remember Sarah from a few blog posts I wrote in 2014 where she created an amazing project on creativity that has been viewed close to 10,000 times on YouTube. She also gave me quite the send off when I stepped down as NMHS principal with this video that still makes me cry every time I watch it. As a guest blogger on a Principal’s Reflections, Sarah shared her perspective on the importance of blogging as a means to support and enhance her learning.
What does this really tell you about a student?
Image credit: http://www.college-financial-aid-advice.com/images/Student-Jobs-Resume.jpg
I am always curious to see what Sarah has been up to in school as she is one of the most creative people I know. So I reached out to her on Twitter to ask and below is a summary of our quick conversation:
- Hey @tehshmarah have you created anything cool with digital tools lately in school?
- Thanks for asking @E_Sheninger! In school, well, we're all a little too busy figuring out PARCC testing to do much of anything else.
- @E_Sheninger Outside of school I've been teaching myself Actionscript and I'm so excited to put it to use at @GamesPlusPlus this weekend!
- @tehshmarah if you ever want to share how you have been teaching yourself Actionscript for my blog just let me know :)
- @E_Sheninger Taking CompScience via VHS has opened so many doors for me; Can't wait to show you what I've started working on when it's done!
- @tehshmarah I would really like that! Just let me know and we can schedule a video call.
- @tehshmarah By the way, I am digging your website that functions as a digital portfolio. Wish more students took the time to do this.
- @E_Sheninger omg! Thank you for taking the time to look at it!! It was so much fun to make.
As you can see our Twitter conversation led me to Sarah’s website, which is listed in her Twitter bio (very smart move by the way). Out of curiosity I checked it out, as I either didn’t notice it when I was at NMHS or she hadn’t created it yet. Her site is titled s[hm]arah almeda: I make things and stuff and was created using Wix. Pure genius in my opinion! In essence Sarah’s site is a digital portfolio that showcases her creative student work. The home page identifies three main categories describing the type of work she is showcasing – Media Gallery, Graphic Design Portfolio, Art-Stagram. The best part is that she developed the site on her own free will. My feedback to her would be to include more examples of the amazing work she has created over the years, both in school and out, as well as to include a hyperlink to a copy of her traditional resume in the “Who I Am” section.
When reflecting back on the quote at the beginning of this post I can see quite clearly about the downsides of traditional resumes. If I were to look at a textual description of Sarah’s educational experiences at NMHS it really wouldn’t tell me much about her passions and interests. I certainly would not be able to see her dynamic work firsthand. Sarah’s initiative to showcase creative work beyond just listing on a one-dimensional sheet of paper separates her from other students looking to get into the same programs as her in college.
Schools need to stop shortchanging students by having them conform to outdated practices such as the traditional resume. Sure, this still has value, but it is limited in breadth, reach, context, and detail as to what students really know and can do. Students today should not only be encouraged, but also taught how to curate and then showcase their work aligned to specific career interests in order to strengthen their ability to get into the top college programs. The traditional resume should be only a hyperlink, in my opinion, as part of a dynamic student portfolio. In addition to Wix here are some other resources that students can use to create digital resumes and portfolios.
So where do you stand on the usefulness of a traditional resume for a student in 2015 and beyond?