NFL quarterback Tom Brady recently posted his résumé on Facebook saying, “Found my old résumé! Really thought I was going to need this after the fifth round.”
Brady was drafted in the sixth round in 2000 and famously has gone on to become a star. That doesn’t often happen to players drafted that low, so he may have had good reason to think he really needed that résumé 14 years ago.
While ESPN and the Huffington Post labeled Tom Brady’s college résumé with words like “fluff,” “bloated,” and “clear padding,” I disagree. His résumé simply describes his work in a professional way, which is what résumés are supposed to do.
I think Brady had a great college résumé for a variety of reasons. I wish more college students and soon-to-be-graduates would embrace some of the key attributes of his college work history:
1. Internships show initiative and a strong work ethic.
The top reasons college students don’t have summer jobs or internships are:
- They didn’t search early enough to nab a summer opportunity
- They over-thought the kind of job they wanted
- Their child-care position paid a whole lot more than a meaningful set of experiences.
College and university career placement centers are a great source for students to locate internships, yet my estimate is that only about 10 percent of students take advantage of their resources. Employers often go to placement centers to look for great college candidates for their open positions.
Internships can start any time of the college year; they aren’t limited to summer breaks. Plus, many of those internships come with college credits — a huge cost savings!
Brady had internships every summer, from 1996 through 1999. He even had two in 1998 and 1999 (Merrill Lynch, where he was an assistant to a senior sales broker, and sales and clubhouse management at two different golf courses).
2. The bigger, the better.
Aim for virtually ANY job at the largest company in your area: In the mailroom, filing documents, assisting anybody who needs it — whatever!
Large brand name companies give you more credibility than an unknown company. Why? It’s clear that they screened you and you passed their hiring processes, even as an intern. Plus, larger companies teach a college student great practices and expose you to office dynamics that don’t exist in smaller companies. Most importantly, you will work with a larger, more diverse collection of employees.
Fortunately, Brady was able to add Merrill Lynch to his résumé. Sure, golf course sales and construction work helped him gain some good experience, but the Merrill Lynch internship gave him great credibility.
3. The national employment rates have dipped, but the youth job market still remains bleak.
There is no doubt that students who find good summer experiences will increase their odds of landing a full-time position once they graduate from college. Ideally, college students should look for work in their field of interest.
Even if you are not sure what you want to do professionally, at least pick something that you are passionate about. Why? You are most likely to do perform better at something that you enjoy. For example, my son played sports so he worked in his university’s sports organization and helped start a new team on campus.
If you are more of a numbers person, then aim for a good finance position in a bank, for example. Or, if you have interests in sales and/or marketing, seek out positions in those functions.
Your local Business Journal’s Book of Lists is a great source of companies and executives to reach out to. Research them via LinkedIn and make contact.
Tom Brady is great inspiration and role model for anyone who wants to succeed, in any industry, any market, or – yes, I’ll say it – any arena.
OK, you college students, start thinking NOW about your plan to find a meaningful summer internship or job! Each one of you canshould get one!