I was talking to a recruiter the other day (I’ve been contacted a whole lot lately for some reason) and she asked about the reference to “mensa” in my extracurricular/other section. I’m not even 100% sure why I put that there – I haven’t updated that section in a while. I asked her if it sent the wrong message – like “I’m so smart” or something like that. She didn’t really have a solid answer, just repeated the question about why I’d put that on there.
So I’ll throw this question out to y’all. If you were interviewing someone and saw “mensa” on the resume, would you discard it? Would you think the candidate was being a show-off or had an inflated ego? After thinking it through a bit, I think my original reasoning was to hopefully demonstrate that I had some level of raw capability such that if I was thrown a new technology I’d be able to pick it up pretty quickly. Now, I’m not saying I can pick up *any* technology under the sun in 10 minutes, but I’m usually able to pick up the basics and then some of most tasks/situations/technologies pretty quickly.
When putting things on a resume, should you only put *accomplishments* that indicated a great deal of effort went in to them? Maybe that’s what I was leaning towards, but I’m talking myself out of it now. Some people might pass the bar in one attempt, and others make take 3 attempts. One might argue that “3 timer” had to put more effort in to it, but in that case indicating effort – “I took it 3 times” – probably doesn’t look very good to some people (tho it might indicate a stick-to-it-iveness they admire).
I think I’ll keep it on there, although it’s one of those things that, to me, really isn’t an ‘accomplishment’ – it just is. I mean, filling out the form was an accomplishment, and them cashing my membership check was an accomplishment, I guess. But mostly it’s like being right-handed or brown-eyed or whatever. It’s a biological trait, but it happens to be that this particular biological trait comes in handy in the tech field, much like being 6’9″ might come in handy in the NBA. Being tall doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be a superstar basketball player, but it generally doesn’t hurt. A friend of mine recently got his MS MVP certification. I’m sure he’ll be putting that on his resume, but it’s also something that he worked at and developed over a couple years.
I'm currently working on a book for web freelancers, covering everything you need to know to get started or just get better. Want to stay updated? Sign up for my mailing list to get updates when the book is ready to be released!