After Your DukeEngage Experience

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Catherine Allen, Assistant Director, Duke Career Center
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A DukeEngage experience may be life-changing. Once the experience is done, you not only have a wonderful story to tell but you also have an update for your resume (and beyond). Here are a few steps to get your personal materials up to date. For more details, visit Career and Professional Resources from DukeEngage.

DukeEngage homepage

Step 1: Reflect

For starters, take some time to reflect on your experience. Consider the following questions to help guide you. Use this as a writing exercise just for you.

  1. What did you learn?
    1. Think skills like communication, critical thinking, team work, curiosity, others?
  2. What skills did you most enjoy using?
    1. This is easiest if you think of the activities you enjoyed the most then, identify the skills utilized within those activities.
  3. What skills did you least enjoy using or, feel the most tired after using?
    1. This is easiest if you think of the activities you avoided or procrastinated on then, identify the skills utilized within those activities.
  4. What was the impact of your experience?
    1. Who/what did you help? How did you do that? Think about project outcomes.
  5. What do you want a potential employer to know about this experience?
    1. The skills you learned? The work you did? The impact you made?
  6. What do you want to do more of as you transition back to campus?
    1. Consider skills related to the above questions. Consider the impact you had. How might this transfer to your time back on-campus? Your continued growth and learning?

Step 2: Review

Review the DukeEngage page on Career and Professional Resources. What are the commonalities between these resources and what you’ve reflected on? If these resources add to your reflection, even better; be sure to revisit your reflection and write these new thoughts down.

Visit the DukeEngage site for how to include your experience on your resume. Be mindful of the things you should include on your resume; how do these align with your reflection? If there is an area that has been considered as part of your reflection, consider it now by adding a bit more to your reflection. Notice the difference between accomplishment statements that are a good example and a not-so-good example: not-so-good examples focus more on the rote task. It comes across as transactional versus a good example with additional detail, painting a picture of your skills, how you used them, and who with.

Step 3: Now finally, update your resume

Now that the reflection is complete and you hold in your mind’s eye (or at least on paper) a reminder of the details of your DukeEngage experience, begin to update your resume. Start by deciding where you want this experience located: it was not employment, so avoid placing it in a work experience or employment experience section. Consider a global experience section (if abroad) or a leadership experience section.

Consider your accomplishment statements. Use your reflection and the DukeEngage resume guide to help you. Remember this basic formula: action verb (skill) + what you did + outcomes. As you write good accomplishment statements, you’ll find they often go into two lines. That’s okay, two lines is maximum. If you go over two lines, just ask yourself: can this be edited down and still tell the same story or, should it be made into two accomplishment statements?

Step 4: As with any resume, have it reviewed.

Once the hard work is done, bring your resume into the Career Center for a quick review. We offer Drop-in Career Advising hours so no appointment is needed during those times. If you get stuck, have a question, or need help at any point in the resume process, don’t hesitate to come into Drop-in Career Advising; we’re here to help you tell your story.

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