September 19, 2022

MEHLER | How To Market Any Hobby For Your Resume

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As job and internship applications start to open, the annual updating of our résumés arises as the next priority in our daily lives. With so much time focused on upcoming prelim exams, papers and other homework, everyone may not have had the time nor opportunity to take jobs and internships that perfectly fit their experiences to their next prospective employer. While I have been fortunate to have had such experiences over time, I know from being a peer mentor that first-years struggle most to market their activities for the job they want next. Luckily for all Cornellians, I present the solution with this guide for how to market any activity when crafting your résumé.

First, listen to your career services people before you even consider this advice. Whether that means your college’s specific career services center or the university-wide office, those professionals hold far more knowledge and expertise in creating résumés than I do. From formatting to content, career services’ entire job is to help you get a job. So, listen to them first then come back here.

Alright, now that you’re back here, I am going to use my favorite pastime as our example for today: Cuphead speedrunning. Cuphead is a run-and-gun video game which almost exclusively consists of boss fights. Beautifully designed, Cuphead’s entirely hand-drawn art mirrors that of 1930s cartoons and its jazz remains some of the best compositions in decades. Additionally, Cuphead is widely regarded as one of the most difficult video games from the past twenty years, frustrating millions of players in its five-year run and angering over a million more with its most recent expansion, the Delicious Last Course. With a game as difficult as Cuphead, it is no surprise that the average time to beat the game (just beat it, nothing else) is around 11 hours; the DLC alone takes over another 3 hours. So what could be more satisfying than beating the game in the first place? Beating the game as fast as possible.

How does speedrunning Cuphead tie into résumé building? The point of all experiences for creating your résumé is not the prestige or name-recognition of your most recent internship. Rather, the goal is to show transferable skills from your past involvements to your prospective ones. Using Cuphead speedrunning as our example, we need to find transferable skills that an employer would be interested in. Cutting down your speedrunning time takes months and weeks of dedication; it might take an entire day just to shave off 30 seconds in a run. Tenacity and dedication are the skills here. You might make your way hours into a run only to have a major blunder on the final boss. Yet, you see what mistake you made and try again. Commitment and perseverance are the skills here. Ultimately, your speedruns compete against thousands of other players who have tried to beat their times as well. Pushing the limits and competitive drive are the skills here. With these transferable skills in mind, we have a strong grounding of our activities that we can share with employers.

Next, we need a strong job name, job title and job description. For Cuphead speedrunning, our job will be speedrunning, our title will be our ranking and our description will be our transferable skills. With these all articulated with the magic of action verbs, we have a sample experience for the top of our résumé:

Cuphead Speedrunning

#1 Global Xbox One Version 1.3 Speedrunner

  • Bested thousands of players & dedicated 200+ hours into the hardest video game in decades
  • Competed against all platforms with a top ten global speedrun & persevered to #1 on Xbox
  • Pushed the limits of human performance on an Xbox with a speedrun of 55:42.67

Now should you really put this at the top of your résumé? I would maybe run it by career services first. But doing this exercise for building a marketable experience from things you already do can make you that much more attractive to employers. At the end of the day, I love Cuphead and I need to officially sit down, record my time and get my name at the global top of Xbox Cuphead speedrunners. Until then, I encourage you all to take the time to think about what fun activities can be converted into meaningful job descriptions and take the job market by storm.

For the quick version of this how-to, please consider the following:

1. Find a pastime or hobby you are passionate about and can talk for hours about

2. Figure out which transferable skills are in that activity

3. Combine your transferable skills with some action verbs

4. Revel in your glorious résumé

Patrick J. Mehler is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He can be reached at [email protected]. The Mehl-Man Delivers runs every other Monday this semester.