Resident Assistants have the opportunity to develop unparalleled leadership skills in their roles in campus residence halls. In these important roles, R.A.’s work to facilitate cooperative and considerate group living environments, initiate relationships with residents, plan and encourage participation in floor, hall and area programs, provide assistance with personal and academic concerns, mediate conflicts and inform and hold students accountable for University and departmental policies. The residence halls are a laboratory for R.A.’s to grow and mature the skills most employers look for in a way that is unique to the position.
Before you would communicate your R.A. experience to a prospective employer, it is vital for you to review your experiences, contemplate the competencies gained and strategize how to convey each of your transferable skills through a resume and in an interview.
Step 1: Brainstorm Your R.A. Job Experiences
Your official job description can provide a starting place by identifying your exact job duties, however, be wary of copying your job description onto your resume; readers can easily tell when someone has done this and it rarely highlights skills effectively, let alone showcase accomplishments. Use the table below to help you begin thinking of your responsibilities while on the job.
Step 2: Describe What You Do
Using your entries from the exercise in Step 1, begin constructing descriptive statements about your R.A. experience. Remember to begin each one with an action verb. Think about what makes you unique as an R.A. Did you receive any awards? Did you undertake new initiatives? If you find yourself struggling to write down your experiences, check out our online resource library at VikingResources.org or call Career Services at 216-687-2233 to make an appointment with a career specialist.
Sample Resume Statements:
Fostered the development of relationships among 55 residents: consisting of graduate, undergraduate, and international students
Planned and implemented programs to assist transfer students in transitioning into the university
Received programming award for creating and supervising a sheltered teen volunteer project
Counseled and advised first year students on academic and personal questions and concerns
Developed and conducted programs on diversity, chemical abuse, personal development, relationships, and academic performance
Managed administrative duties including maintenance requests, incident reports, and room transfers
Interviewed and hired new Resident Assistants
Step 3: What is Important to You?
You may find that your responsibilities as an R.A. can turn into a rather lengthy listing on your resume. How do you decide what should be included on your resume, especially if what you are applying to is not similar to an R.A. position? Think of the skills you are gaining in your current R.A. position as transferable skills. Transferable skills are skills that can be used in any job and are not limited to one position or academic discipline. Examples of such skills include communication, teamwork, and computer skills. The following tool can help you determine what transferable skills you are gaining as an R.A.
Compare the transferable skills you wrote above to the requirements of the position you are applying for. These matches can help ensure you are including the responsibilities from your R.A. position that will be most relevant to the new position you are applying for.
RA’s and Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are skills you have acquired through any activity including your work as an R.A., college coursework, projects, community service, volunteerism, participation in organizations, hobbies or work experience that can be relevant to a future job or internship for which you are applying. Involvement being an R.A. is a valuable way to gain experience in the skill sets of communication, programming, community development, human relations and leadership. Your R.A. experience encompasses many of the skills listed below, so be sure to recognize and acknowledge these skills through your resume, cover letter and interviews.
Working on a team
Listening attentively Expressing Ideas
Facilitating group discussion
Providing appropriate feedback
Perceiving nonverbal messages
Organization, Management & Leadership
Decision making with others
Initiating new ideas
Selling ideas or products
Providing support for others
Delegating with respect
Perceiving feelings, situations
Carrying out a plan
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