This #NoTitleNeeded Guest Blog is shared by Drew Wilke, who positionally serves the Student Assembly as the Chief of Staff.
I remember my first resume. It was the summer before freshman year; my Dad suggested I write out my accomplishments on paper. Soon my page was filled with positions galore, and plenty of white space to showcase my skeleton of experience. Of course, during orientation at William and Mary, the Activities Fair proved the next natural step to bulk up my resume even more.
I soon learned the classic freshman move; put your name down on as many club rosters as possible. It’s not official until you join that elusive listerv. For some of us, we still receive emails from clubs we signed up for, but never made a priority beyond an unread message in our inbox (sorry Club Tennis). For the organizations we do choose to identify with beyond a name on an email chain, we are eventually presented the opportunity to join leadership. The alternative? Show up to meetings and do your part as a member.
The challenge of classifying our commitments as member vs. leader juxtaposes two positions, and preserves the right of leadership to a select few. As a result, we lose out on untapped potential, and fail to recognize true leadership in practice. In Student Assembly, everyone holds a title as all positions are either elected or appointed. Personally, I have found my titles in SA as insignificant to my leadership aptitude and aspirations. Instead, I define leadership by its core root, the ability to lead.
Successful leaders inspire followers, and we tend to study, mimic and follow our role models. A good role model does not ask for attention, people naturally seek it out. Similarly, a leader does not need a title, but rather a sphere of influence that permeates naturally. Does it show up on business cards, employment applications or at awards ceremonies? No, but a great leader is an even better role model.
Next time you pull out your resume, take a minute and delete all of the headers and titles. Now of course don’t send this revised document to a desired employer, but reflect on the words left on that piece of paper. This is your leadership brand. Take pride in your own words, its your space to tell your story. A title on a resume looks good, but the impact a role model leaves behind changes lives.