Contribution > résumé

My first job out of college was at a test prep company, and while I was employed there, our office burned down overnight. It happened right in the middle of the fall busy season, with hundreds of students enrolled in courses to prepare for the SATs, ACTs, and the various exams for graduate school. All our materials, computers, and most troublingly our classrooms—everything had been reduced to ashes.

Our owner learned of this when one of our part-time teachers called him at home on Sunday morning with good news and bad news. Bad: he’d been watching the news and learned that our office was toast. Good: his first call was to his friend who worked as an event manager at a local hotel, and he’d secured us multiple conference room spaces at a reduced rate to use as classrooms for the next 30 days.

In one phone call, his contribution went so far beyond teaching that he earned years of gratitude and glowing recommendations from our mutual boss.

The world today will measure, reward, and remember you for your contributions far more than for your résumé (or your college application, or your test scores).

If you start and end every day with, “What contributions did I make?” it will be impossible to encapsulate your value in a few pages. And that’s exactly how you stand out.