“How do you decide if something’s worth the hassle for the resume value?”
This is tricky to answer since everyone has different rankings on how important something is to them. Obviously my viewpoint will be heavily biased towards either doing something for the fireworks-level impact or the plus-points-in-heaven impact.
That being said, I don’t want to advocate doing something just for the resume value. It should have some fun growth component in it. Or else, you’d be bitter from being overworked like some of our peers.
But I understand where this question’s coming from. I did a lot of things early on for the resume value too. That’s why I can comfortably write and dish out advice on this blog.
I believed (and still do) that the bigger the impact it had, the more unseen doors it could open, the more valuable I’d be in the eyes of employers. That 1% advantage in the beginning, wherever it comes from, snowballs into something bigger and better. You just have to keep pushing yourself in 1 direction.
And years later, with all the ~wisdom~ of experience, I still agree with my initial choice to prioritize resume value over anything else.
Looking back now though, I can see that I had a lot of little if’s and but’s that I wanted fixed before I’d exert effort on something.
Resume value’s useless to me if it meant working myself to death. Or living an unhappy life. My intense laziness, coupled with my home life rules, meant I had a lot of restrictions most other college students didn’t have.
By that point though, I’d learned about the Pareto Rule (20% effort, 80% results) and firmly believed in it. So, I capitalized on my new insight by building a set of guidelines that I’d measure any opportunity against before accepting it.
I’m going to share with you my previously hidden criteria matrix before undertaking any internships or competitions, after this very important disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER + Story Time:
A random woman I met, who apparently happened to be a vice president of one of the multinationals I interned at, told me something insanely valuable while we were walking down 4 flights of stairs together. There are 2 kinds of life experience: resume value and eulogy value.
Resume value are the prestigious things everyone runs after that open doors for you as an individual. They take your career further than you’d expect, they push you to grow in a professional (and serious) manner, and they fill up the space on your resume and CV.
The goal is to easily fill 2 pages with prestigious things that made real change in the companies you worked for, and only have <5% white space left.
Eulogy value though, is the more fun and personally gratifying kind of value. This revolves around the kind of friend you are, the memories you make, the conversations you shared. This has no form of measure.
Until you die, that is.
Then suddenly, everyone has a kind word about you, a funny story to share, a wistful memory of what you once said offhand. Or at least, we hope they do. We won’t really know since we’re in the coffin or urn upfront.
Life is all about balancing these 2 things. You need to rack up resume value to make something out of yourself. But you can’t and shouldn’t do that at the expense of your eulogy value.
Even at this early age and with my limited life experience, I’ve met too many people who remind me to be a good friend and to be kind to everyone I meet. I respect them professionally and from a very far distance, but would never want to be near them or worse, looped into a team with them. I might murder them or something.
Because of them though, I always aim to be someone others respect professionally and not malign socially. I hope you all try this too, it’s really quite difficult.
Ok, enough with the lecturing, here’s my 6 criteria to see if something’s value-adding to my resume. To make it clearer for ya’ll reading this, I’ll be using an example : MEA’s ACCESS 2018, a CSR competition.
I don’t think of MEA as a prime resume booster, but they’ve admittedly built one of the best resume-building, skills-boosting competitions. That’s 1 of the 2 reasons I’m ok with plugging this.
The other is that Annicka Koteh (she’s the one in charge of the #WorkLifeGoals segment here on the blog) asked.
Anyways, here’s my list of 6 criteria to judge if something’s worth the resume value.
**By the way, the featured image and look of the post will change soon with the rebrand efforts. Check back in a few days/ weeks for the free download that comes with this post, an Excel sheet that has the computations for my criteria down. It’s just in limbo somewhere.
Easily the number 1 thing to always ask yourself before embarking on the journey: Will other people know how hard and cool it was that I got to do this thing?
Questions to ask yourself: Will this experience be recognized by recruiters as value-adding? Will it be seen as an actual accomplishment rather than a resume filler?
Since this is ACCESS’ 6th year, and it’s still the only corporate sustainability competition in the country, big name companies love sponsoring it.
Straight from Annicka:
“ACCESS has partnered with names like Unilever, Ayala Land, Unilab, and Nestlé in the past, so it’s pretty known among big companies that do have sustainability programs.
We attracted applicants from across eight universities last year, beyond even UP and Ateneo. It’s really one of the bigger case competitions organized by college students for college students.
Not to mention that if your team makes the top eight, you do get to say that your proposal was hand-picked by representatives from a multi-national, in this case, Shell.
This year, we have two big names supporting us, namely Shell and San Miguel Corporation. The former is our partner for the program and the case, so participants will learn a lot about sustainable energy and its impacts in the city.”
And she’s right. By joining a competition that’s sponsored by a big name company, you get to put that company’s name onto your resume. It’s a quicker way to pack a punch with your 1 pager. Just don’t forget to add it as a bullet point underneath the competition name.
Extra bonus points if you got to present to someone working at the company, and you won an award.
Professional + Personal development
I think of this as the hardest criteria. It requires you to sit down and be honest with yourself. Really think through if you’re going to grow from this experience or if you’re doing it because you’re already good at it.
If you’ve done a billion case competitions AND you’ve consistently been placing, maybe sit this one out and try something else with your new free time. If you’ve never done a case competition, then most definitely join one and see what else about yourself you could improve.
It might be presentation skills, insight analysis generation, or how you work on a side project that is purely voluntary. There’s a ton of unknown things you could learn too.
Sky’s the limit when it comes to developing yourself, but you need to have the self-awareness to see if you’re really growing or you’re just taking up space that could be better used for someone else’s growth.
Questions to ask yourself: Is the experience well-designed to teach me new hard or soft skills? Am I at the right mindset and skill level to learn new things about the topic & industry? Will I gain a fresh perspective no matter what happens next? Do I already know what’s going to happen next?
Straight from Annicka:
“ACCESS is a three-fold case competition that consists of a sustainability forum, mentorship session, and final case presentation.
The forum is a seminar involving talks from Shell representatives as well as activities to further participants’ understanding of corporate sustainability (CS).
We make sure that they go into the case with a background on CS, especially in the context of the company.
The main talks discuss the integration of CS in three essential company functions—marketing, supply chain, and finance—for a very practical overview of the concept.
We structured the forum this way so the insights could be more concretely applied to the case presentation rather than some abstract discussion of what shared value means.
There are also the usual things you develop from case competitions, like collaboration, presentation/public speaking skills, research skills, etc.
It’s ideas that are fresh yet feasibly backed up with data that will win, and it takes a whole lot of analytical and creative juices to come up with such.
I’m willing to bet that 99% of everyone reading this has no solid ideas or background on CSR because I too have 0 knowledge on it. Maybe it’s availability bias on my end, but we aren’t taught corporate sustainability in school, so you’d have to study up on it on your own. And it doesn’t seem like something people would pick up randomly.
Same goes for other competitions like integrated marketing campaigns, stocks and funds management, or supply chain problem solving competitions. You have to choose to study up and join these competitions, because they’re not being taught to us in school.
Big corporations love sponsoring smart, niche competitions like these, because it gives them a talent pipeline.
You may not place in their competition, but if they see you and like your stuff, you’ve got a better chance of getting in than someone who didn’t join the competition at all. Which brings me to the next criteria.
If you’re making no new friends or contacts from this experience, either rethink this experience or go outside of your shell and talk to someone. Especially if it’s a conference and you’re flying solo. People are a lot nicer than you’d think!!
Just post somewhere where other event goers will see like in the event’s app, FB group, or Twitter hashtag
“Going alone to cool event, can I tag along with anyone?”
and you’ll make a new friend, I promise. I’ve done it twice. Put yourself out there sincerely and good things will happen.
If you’re going to a competition with your team, when there’s socials or down time, split up. Go and cover the room, make new friends, and most definitely, talk to the people who are actually affiliated with the company sponsoring the competition.
It’s fun to make new friends, it’s fun-er to meet valuable, older contacts.
Questions to ask yourself: Will I make any useful contacts from the experience? Who are the kinds of people this will attract? Which friends can I drag into this? Am I comfortable flying solo?
Straight from Annicka:
This goes hand-in-hand with everything we’ve said about mentorship! ACCESS is one big networking opportunity, whether with top students from other teams, our speakers, mentors, or even judges (who will come from both inside and outside Shell).
It’s really up to the participant to use his or her time at ACCESS to know all these people.
When I went to competitions, the others weren’t very friendly til it was over. When I go to conferences, everyone is out to make friends because everyone has a common interest here. Take a feel of the room before going around introducing yourself, so that if you’re met coldly, you don’t take it personally.
Also, easy networking tip, ask them how to spell their name so you can FB search them and add them up on the spot. It helps cement you in their minds. But it’s also mildly pushy. So, aim to do this lowkey.
Similar to networking, only geared towards you receiving advice and attention from older, more esteemed contacts rather than your peers. You want to learn something new from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Hopefully, the mentorship goes beyond the event itself but even if it doesn’t, it’s totally okay.
Like that random VP in the stairwell who gave me amazing life advice because we happened to take the stairs at the same time, mentorship doesn’t always have to be a long-term engagement. Sometimes it’s like a lightning strike. Keep yourself open for those chance encounters.
Questions to ask yourself: Will this experience allow me to interact with and receive advice from people in the industry? Will I get the chance to ask questions directly to these people? Am I prepared to make an excellent impression on everyone there?
Straight from Annicka:
Aside from listening to esteemed speakers during the forum, ACCESS participants come face-to-face with people who know their stuff throughout the competition. One major change we brought to ACCESS this year was the mentorship session as the second phase.
It’s going to be a consultation session with Shell representatives and other sustainability mentors on the final case, so the final teams get insights to refine their presentation.
We want it to be a more personal experience for the participants; a customized sort of exposure to CS based on their own interactions with professionals.
Having face time with potential mentors, and having the chance to ask intelligent questions that leave a great impression? Useful edge over everyone else.
Please remember to be nice and not pushy though. Some people don’t want to mentor others, some people are just tired, and some people think of us as young annoying upstarts who aren’t paying their dues the right way. Let it go.
I didn’t think about this at all until I started the blog. Still don’t really think about this much, but I think others should.
Social impact doesn’t just mean alleviating poverty or solving world hunger. It can mean something as simple as educating yourself on how you view and act towards a group of people.
Just think about how this affects how you relate to others and to issues around. For me, the blog has been my way of giving back. Sharing what I know from all the things I’ve experienced is me amplifying my social impact.
If even 1 person walks away from this blog post learning something new or trying something new, then I’m good. I’ve made my social impact.
Questions to ask yourself: Does my accomplishment mean something favorable for the company or for society at large? Is that kind of purpose reflected clearly? Can this help me sleep better at night, knowing I’ve helped out someway?
Straight from Annicka:
Since ACCESS is the only corporate sustainability competition in the country, joining sure shows that you have an interest in doing good business. We’re out to prove that in the corporate world, turning a profit while producing favorable results for society and the environment is possible.
So if you’ve ever had doubts about business being a purely self-serving profession, ACCESS exists to show you that it doesn’t always have to be.
Just learning that there’s other ways to do business is a good enough social impact. Taking what you learned here and bringing it elsewhere is even better.
I would never make a list of criteria that didn’t involve money some way somehow. It’s just not the Justine way.
Money is always an important factor because you need to make sure that you’re not going broke from this endeavor. If it causes you to break bank or be in financial danger, reconsider this.
I don’t want anyone to be making unwise financial decisions at such a young age. Ask your parents to help you pay for it if you need to. Just make sure you’re not going into debt for this opportunity.
If this conference requires you to pay upfront an insane amount of money, think through if you don’t mind getting that money back and what intangible benefits you’d be getting. Maybe getting to network with other people similar to you is worth all this cash upfront. Maybe getting to learn from industry greats is also worth the price tag.
Try to measure the minimum benefits you want to receive given this cash outflow and aim to go above that minimum during the event iself.
If this competition has a huge prize pool and you think you stand a pretty good chance of winning it all, then what’s stopping you from competing today? Even a slim chance at winning a giant pot is better than not even trying because you think you’re not going to make it.
Straight from Annicka:
And if the above reasons don’t convince you to join ACCESS, the top three teams get to take home PHP 100K, 20K, and 10K respectively.
I find it so unfair that the difference between first and second prize is insane, but that’s actually an excellent motivator. 100k divided between 5 is the equivalent of the whole second prize.
Just be smart about how you spend your money. And count other expenses too like Uber-ing to the location and back, food, budget for unforeseeable emergencies, etc.
I’ve had too many friends go over their monthly budgets because of internships or business ventures, forcing them to live like paupers during and afterwards. It’s not a pleasant feeling, to be the one in debt or to be a friend of someone who won’t let you help them get out of debt.
Resume value, especially the short term kind, shouldn’t come at the cost of forcing you to drop your living standards during or afterwards.
Anyways. Enough about me lecturing about finances. More of me posting details about MEA ACCESS 2018.
ACCESS gives students opportunity to change cities and win Php 100,000
This year’s competition case, provided by Shell Philippines, focuses on corporate sustainability in an urban setting.
MANILA, Philippines. The Ateneo de Manila University’s premier business leadership organization, the Management Engineering Association (MEA), will host “ACCESS: Corporate Sustainability Competition”: a three-day event that exposes undergraduate students to MEA’s core advocacy of corporate sustainability.
Currently on its sixth year, ACCESS provides an avenue for undergraduate students to understand how corporate sustainability creates a lasting impact through the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.
It also teaches them how to utilize this knowledge as future game changers in the corporate world.
With this, MEA has partnered with two renowned leaders in corporate sustainability, namely Shell Philippines and San Miguel Corporation (SMC). This year’s competition case focuses on creating sustainable cities, and will be provided by Shell Philippines.
To build participants’ knowledge on sustainability, ACCESS includes a forum, mentorship session, and final case presentation. In the sustainability forum, participants learn from various talks and activities related to corporate sustainability, with their insights to be applied in a preliminary submission.
The top eight teams move on to a mentorship session, involving further consultations with Shell Philippines representatives regarding the case. These teams then present their sustainable strategies to a panel of judges in the final round.
Outstanding teams have a chance to win cash prizes up to Php 100,000.
Overall, ACCESS is a learning experience that challenges its participants to create lasting change through business and leadership. It shows that business can be used as a platform to improve the lives of many.
Although corporate sustainability is largely business related, applicants do not need to be business majors to join. They also do not have to be well-versed in corporate sustainability as the basics of corporate sustainability will be taught in the sustainability forum. Applicants must form a team of five and may be from different universities.
For the application form and more information about the event, please visit accessmea.org. The deadline of applications is on January 20, 2018. The list of accepted teams will be announced shortly after on the ACCESS Facebook page.
* * *
ACCESS 2018 is brought to you by Ateneo MEA and Shell Philippines, and is co-presented by San Miguel Corporation. This event is made possible in partnership with Century Tuna, El Molino Corporation, Young STAR, ANC, When in Manila, and The Border Collective.
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