Let’s be real, the word “resume” makes most of us shutter with terror. It’s that foreboding Microsoft Word document that’s sitting on your computer, staring you in the face, saying, “Fill me with fluff and I shall grant you one wish.” That wish, of course, is the dream career we all wish to one day obtain.
The scary truth is that one day far in the future is not in the future at all; that day is today. While we fret away our younger years, getting shitty internships to put on our resumes, volunteering to look like charitable people, and scraping bubble gum off the floor of McDonald’s to pay for books in the fall, we fail to realize that our careers started the day we declared a major. Believe it or not, the moment your Uncle Bill asked you what you want to do with your life was the moment your career blasted off.
Society will argue that you do not have a career until that cash money starts flowing in, or until you are financially independent. A job provides you with income, benefits, and a long day of work full of projects and goals. But the starting line of a career cannot be measured in dollars or hours of work. Your career begins in that mysterious little pink blob resting inside your head—it all begins with your thoughts and ideas.
If your mom is screaming at you because you’ve been in the shower for forty-five minutes planning the layout of your future café and lost track of time, you have started your career. If you have spent more time in Starbucks writing your movie script than you have spent in your own house, you have started your career. If you draw, sing, rap, read, research, add, investigate, or blow shit up because it brings you all the joy in the world—congratulations. You have started your career.
In this economy, jobs do not appear out of thin air. You are in competition with every other talented soul out there, and the secret to making it to the top is experience. If you cannot find experience through an internship or job, then create one. Can’t get a gig with an art museum? Start creating your own pieces and sell them on Etsy. Having trouble making connections in the business world? Be bold. Contact the CEO, not the secretary. While your internship this summer at a doctor’s office may show you what a doctor does, it’s up to you do research. Investigate in something that makes you curious. La-La Land is not for blonde-haired ditzy fools—it’s a place your brain goes when your creativity levels are through the roof. Take those visions and start small.
We live a world where we Instagram our food, we Vine ourselves singing, and we tweet about daily tasks. We are so obsessed with having every single second of lives documented that we often forget that our careers need to be documented as well. Try to describe your dream job in 140 characters. Find a celebrity who has your future career. Take photos of things that inspire you, that motivate you. Turn your followers into fans. Stop bragging about what you have done and start bragging about what you do. You will be surprised to see how many people are eager to watch the progress.
What college students need to realize is that no one will judge you if you fail, but you will be judged if you never even try.