. . .But How You Say It!

"Does this coat make my backside look big?," asked the impatient holiday shopper in the coat department of a major big box store (names withheld to protect the guilty).

"Well, to be honest... You never looked better!," responded the well-heeled (and thankful for a job) sales associate, a college grad -- with a 4.00 GPA, and Phi Beta Kappa, no less -- who, armed with his mock sheepskin and two twenty five in change for the subway, landed the only job he could get in this dismal economy.

With career path uncertain, well-paying jobs (and this wasn't one of them) scarce, and highly qualified, experienced candidates competing for fewer and fewer positions in the marketplace, our college grad was grateful just to have someplace to hang his hat, as well as a paycheck -- meager though it was -- to help buy the pasta he would have for dinner the next five nights in a row.

Yes, selling coats in the ladies coat department. Climbing ladders in the stockrooms, where coats -- woolen, down, polyester, and the kind that make you look like the Michelin Tire guy, are stacked to the hilt. Rolling stock out. Reeling damaged coats in. Unzipping stuck zippers. Retrieving tossed hangers. Salvaging ONE DAY SALE signs, from the sale that has already lasted an entire week, as strewn about the floor. My. My.

Well, at least our intrepid college grad, still hopeful and enthusiastic, got his foot in the door. Not quite what he had in mind career-wise, but then again, at least he now had something to put on his resume.

Sales Associate
-Stockroom Clerk
-Finder of lost Petite and 3X sizes
-Climber of ladders

Not exactly inspiring, or, for that matter, fodder for an HR Manager's Top Ten List. And yet, our enterprising college grad turned purveyor of fine women's outer garments was inspired. The creative juices began to flow...

Vendor Support Initiative (VSI)
-Responsible for strategic deployment and disposition of layered protective systems;
-Risk assessment and management, inclusive of laddering and roll-outs, within the corporate structure;
-Training in and observation of corporate policies and paradigms to ensure compliance and enhance corporate standing through best practices.

Whoa, Nelly! Over the top, isn't it? Way over!

After all, coat sales are just coat sales. Stockrooms are only stockrooms. And is clearing the aisles of errant hangers really risk assessment and management? [Actually, it is!]

Okay. Okay. Our zealous college grad is reaching a bit here (and he'll still have to let prospective employers know he was selling ladies coats), but he got someone's attention, and we, ladies and gents, are making a point. In life, it's not just what you say, as important and significant as this often is. How you say it, particularly in building your resume and creating that cracker jack college essay, is essential, no, critical.

Landing that first job is difficult, especially when the pickings are lean and the competition is keen. Getting into the college of your choice, with schools more selective than ever, is even more challenging.

Whether building your high school resume or developing your personal statements and supplemental essays, you've got but one shot (and a limited number of words and characters) to stand out, rise above and say something that gets the attention of the admission's committee. One big, bold. grab the bull by the, er, horns to strut your stuff on that college stage, letting them know who you are, what you bring to campus, and why they should get that acceptance letter in the mail forthwith.

How you look -- whether in that coat with the faux fur collar or in your college application -- will likely determine whether your college of choice chooses you. [All right. Not so much the coat. Your application, on the other hand!]

So, don't give short shrift to the most important part of your college application. That which gives you voice. That which truly could be your ticket to college admissions success.

Write on. And the next time you happen to be in the ladies coat department of a big box store, say hello to our college grad turned sales associate, and please, buy a coat! :-)
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Does This Coat Make My Backside Look Big?

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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