What’s Not on the Resume

When I was in middle school, every sixth grader was required to take “careers class”. The semester was divided into three units:

  1. Keyboarding
  2. Home economics
  3. Wood Shop

While you may be more familiar with their semester-long cousins, each unit was divided between learning the tricks of that particular trade (nothing like the trade of keyboarding!), while also teaching students the basics of job-hunting and applying for college. Again, really natural and normal things to teach sixth graders.

A couple lessons stuck, even in my distracted sixth-grader-brain.

  1. If you cut yourself, find a bandaid!
  2. Don’t cook cinnamon rolls if you have a cut without a bandaid!
  3. A resume should not be longer than one page. (Keyboarding was lacking in bandaid lessons)

Women attending vocational school, ca. 1940. Via Archives.gov

Women attending vocational school, ca. 1940. Via Archives.gov

And six years later when I actually had to write a resume to get my first job, I looked to the lessons I learned in careers class to keep me on track. Sixteen years later, as I periodically update my resume, things haven’t changed. Keep it to one page, even if some things don’t make the cut.

But here is the thing. It’s on the cutting room floor where I, and no I don’t think this is too dramatic to say, come alive. Yeah, I got real world experience doing that one thing, and I learned a lot doing that other thing, but don’t you guys want to know about how I fought the good fight as a dorm fire marshall while also getting a free plastic fireman’s hat?!

I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. You do. Here we go.

My Not-on-the-Resume Resume


I mean, some people say they have a winning smile, but how many of us can actually mean it, really?

Center Stage Dance Studio 1997 to 2000
Awards and certifications: Winner of Best Smile, 1999

Imagine how happy your meetings will be when you’ve got the best smile in the room! My award for Best Ideas would come later, when I gave it to myself. My ideas are really well-received around my apartment.

Duolingo 2014 to 2015
Awards and certifications: Reached level 5 of the French lessons and then quit because of a falling out with the Duolingo owl. I’m currently waiting for him to apologize for being overbearing.

Work Experience

Hallmark 2005 to 2008
Sales Associate
Description: While carrying out sales transactions, I was also able to keep the Precious Moments display cases pristine. And for those who have not yet had the pleasure, you look at a Precious Moments figurine the wrong way, and four will fall over in solidarity. And you try to stand the four fallen back up, and six more will fall in protest. Little known fact: Precious Moments inspired the idea behind the domino, but at it turns out, small rectangles are easier and less creepy to produce in bulk. I also once tried to defend the store against a robber using a large pumpkin spice Yankee Candle.* That’s what bravery is. I think we even sold a card to that effect. “Grab life by the pumpkin spice Yankee Candle! Good luck in college!”

Bravery, organization, and a keen eye for the most precious of moments, all things your company needs.

I looked equally cool in my giant white van.

Flower shop 2007 to 2008
Delivery person
Description: Expertly navigated the city as a delivery person! And when I wasn’t trying not to get caught for some questionable parking jobs, I was assisting in flower storage, exhibiting my work ethic primarily as bucket washer.

Some would say a job where you spend most of your time driving a huge white van with shoddy power steering coming up with bad flower-puns, and washing plastic buckets doesn’t come with naturally applicable skills in the job market. I would ask you to consider the booming bucket industry. 

Organizational Leadership

After scouring the internet, this is the picture that I think most closely reflects the years I devoted to fire marshaling.

Residence Hall Fire Marshall 2007 to 2010
During the monthly fire drill, and any other time the fire alarm went off for burnt popcorn for whatever reason, I was tasked with making sure everyone left the building quickly and calmly. I exhibited passion and leadership when during my first fire drill, I could be heard yelling, “It’s my time to shine!” And yes, I got a free plastic fireman’s hat. It didn’t fit, because it’s made for children, so I ran from door to door holding it on my head. It’s hard to have authority when you clutching a plastic child’s fireman hat to your head, but that’s just the kind of leadership I exude.

Some say I saved lives during my time as Fire Marshall. Who’s to say what would have happened if I let the students stay in their room, instead of threatening to fine them for not evacuating the building? Not me! I saved lives.

Kappa Omicron Nu Member-at-Large 2009 to 2010
I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not totally sure what a member-at-large does, but I definitely got elected into it. Is it basically just a person who is told by actual organization officers to do more work, but it sounds more official? I’m not sure. I helped with some stuff. It was fine. This one can keep hanging out not on my one page.

I’m going to go google member-at-large. And while we’re at it, probably google Kappa Omicron Nu too. Did I basically just stumble into a meeting and win them over with my hilarious and well-developed flower puns?

Student Life Representative 2009 to 2010
I collaborated with my classmates and the rest of the student life board to successfully make campus-wide changes improving the quality of life including taking our campus smoke-free. I also brought candy to student body forums.

This would be my first role where someone said, “no one ran for this. Do you want to do it?” It would not be my last. As such, there was a lot of pretending to know why I was actually in the room. It was in this role where I mastered the meaningful nod, interspersed with the occasional “mmhmmm”s and “ah, yes. Good point”s. When it seemed like people were noticing, I would bring snacks to the meeting to distract them. This is a trick I employ to this day. 


  • Talks first in meetings. What I say is not always applicable, but leaders get the ball rolling!
  • Proficient in clapping on the beat
  • Knowledgable in Scrum and and also the lyrics to “Truly Scrumptious” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You decide which one is more impressive.
  • Owns an iron, and on occasion, will use it
  • Will high five you, and will not stop trying to high five you until we get it right


*This story is bizarre and also one that probably needs elaboration. One week, we’d been getting repeat calls from other Hallmark branches that the same person was going from branch to branch, sneaking into the storage in the back, and stealing the same Harley Davidson picture frames. Seriously. We knew to be on the lookout, and knew we hadn’t yet been hit. Then one night, my coworker and I hear the bell that means someone just opened the door to the back of the store, and our boss left an hour ago. No one should have been in the back room. Immediately on the defensive, I grab the nearest heavy object, a pumpkin spice Yankee candle (it was either that or a ceramic statue of a cow dressed as Siegfried of Siegfried and Roy), and start inching to the back. As if some instinctual part of me knew that was dumb and stupid plan, I was literally inching, and in the time it took me to get ten feet, the bike-frame bandit walked back up to the doors on the other side of the store, frames in tow.

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