Listen to Your Mother

June 24, 2015

By Carol Crosby

When I review students’ résumés, I usually find action statements similar to these:

  • Manage staff
  • Attend weekly meetings
  • Tutored students in algebra and calculus

You might say, “What is wrong with this?”

Well, if I am a recruiter and have over 300 résumés to sort through to hire one person, I am not interested in hiring just anyone. I want to hire the one person who will bring their best to the job, the person who will go above and beyond the job description, the person who will give me more than the other 299 applicants.

For this reason, you cannot be modest on your résumé. You need to think about what makes you better than anyone else who has ever held your previous job positions and sell it to me.

For those who struggle to do this on their own, use one of my favorite acronyms: WWYMS (What Would Your Mother Say).

Mothers are renowned for being the ones most likely to boast to friends and family about what they perceive are your greatest accomplishments. I can hear her now: “Steven manages five staff during his shift…and he only began his job THREE MONTHS AGO! He is their DREAM COME TRUE!”

Using the words of loving mothers across the world, the previous action statements would improve exponentially:

  • Within three months of hire, promoted to manager of staff of five. Received annual salary increases based on positive evaluations.
  • Attended weekly meetings, participated in brainstorming sessions for fundraising program for annual campus carnival. Efforts resulted in raising $4,000 for program.
  • Tutored up to 10 students 15 hours a week in algebra and calculus while attending school full-time. Ninety-five percent of clients raised grade in class by at least one letter.

Can’t you just hear your mother boasting?


Carol Crosby is Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University. She has also worked in the field of student affairs at Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut, and Brandeis University. Collectively, her experience in career counseling has spanned over 12 years. In 2013, she received a Fulbright grant to visit career services offices in universities across Germany and is currently working with the Ministry of Education in Belize on career development modules for at risk students. She received her M.S. in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English from Wheaton College in Norton, MA.


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