Don’t do it for the résumé, do it because you care

Yusuf Shafi

Editor’s note: This column was written before the closure of the UT campus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its content may or may not reflect the current reality of student life on campus. We believe it is important to share this column to shed light on issues around campus and to honor the work of its author.

For many college students, the goal is simple: graduate with as much experience as possible. Conventional wisdom dictates that the more jobs you have on a résumé, the higher the chance that you will get a well-paying job. However, in this frenzy of résumé-boosting, students often find themselves losing grip of the interests that brought them to their field of work in the first place. 

Students work incredibly hard and pay a lot of money to get into UT. When they get here, their studies and work experience are often centered around the notion of ‘building a résumé.’ 

It’s never a bad thing to work jobs to gain experience, but tunnel vision and disinterest in versatility can cause inaction. Harnessing emotion by caring about your work and using that as a way to push forward is an underrated approach overlooked by many students.

However, if you are working a job for the sake of working, do you even have what future employers want? If you are trying to work for Ariel Lee, studio art senior and co-founder of Remane, the answer is no.

“You can have all these skills, but if you don’t understand the mission and don’t have passion, you can be completely ineffective,” Lee said. “I would rather have someone that is super excited and brings things to the table, even if they were wrong.”

While students should garner accomplishments that provide valuable merit in the eyes of future employers, these experiences shouldn’t be limited to tedious paper-pushing internships. Government junior Eli Melendrez, who currently works as a legislative intern for the Texas American Federation of Teachers, has managed to do both.

“I’ve had so many jobs where I don’t feel like I’m being productive by adding a good to society,” Melendrez said. “I’m in this office and I see what these teachers are up against, what they are fighting for. I see how stacked the cards are against them and how the system is currently set up. It just feels really empowering to be doing work in which the scales are being titled.”

Melendrez’s story demonstrates the type of commitment and passion that not only makes an individual appealing to employers, but also keeps a person mentally sane by working for a cause that they genuinely believe in. 

Overworking yourself is incredibly easy in this day and age. Carefully calculating the job titles needed for a “good” résumé while working each job half-heartedly brings no meaning into one's life. Having a passionate work ethic centered around producing content that benefits both your employer and yourself is the type of drive that gets people hired. 

So, next time you apply to a new position or get a new offer, don’t think about what it does for your résumé, think about what it does for you.

Shafi is a government junior from Round Rock, Texas.