How to Write Your Enrollment Leadership Resume
By Lisa Meyer and Kati Sweaney
When you find a great job opportunity in enrollment, what’s the best way to present yourself through your application? Luckily, if you’ve read admissions or scholarship applications, you are already good at identifying successful strategies. Here are four ways you can leverage what you already know to become a standout job candidate.
Focus on Outcomes
The most compelling enrollment claims are backed up by data. If you tell families your college offers internship opportunities, they’ll glaze over – but if you tell them 75% percent of students complete an internship before graduation, people sit up and listen.
Your resume and cover letter should use outcomes in the same way. Instead of making broad statements about your achievements, quantify them.
- INSTEAD OF: Managed one of the university’s most important territories
- TRY: Entrusted with management of a previously underperforming territory and increased yield by 30% over a two-year period
What about accomplishments that aren’t easily quantified? You can still present qualitative outcomes by sharing illustrative details.
- INSTEAD OF: Experienced presenter with excellent communication skills
- TRY: Regularly selected as keynote speaker for high-profile campus events; praised by the Vice President as the staff’s strongest public speaker
If you’re not currently job-hunting, you can proactively collect your outcomes data now. Record your yield rates, application increases, increased packaging responsibilities, and other statistics annually and keep them for future use.
Know Your Audience
Hoping to show maturity and professionalism in your application? Look at it from the hiring manager’s point of view. Fellow professionals in your field already understand your basic job functions – for example, if you work in admissions, it’s a given that you have experience interviewing, traveling, and evaluating applications. If you spend too much time detailing those, hiring managers may question your readiness for a more advanced role.
Try emulating the best student applications you’ve read. If a baseball player says, “Raised $500 dollars for new uniforms, worked with parents to coordinate a carpool for away games, and awarded Most Improved Player,” you get a great picture of who they would be on your campus. But if the same student simply lists practices, workouts, and field position, you’re likely to be less impressed.
If you did something particularly innovative with one of the fundamentals, definitely share it. Otherwise, don’t worry that your resume is incomplete without a list of all your job functions – trust your audience.
- INSTEAD OF: Provided excellent customer service to financial aid office visitors
- TRY: Revised the process for responding to current student financial aid emails and improved the average student satisfaction rating from 3.9 to 4.8/5.
Fill in the Blanks
Life happens, and it may lead to gaps in your resume. Just like a student with a withdrawal in their course history, gaps are not a problem in and of themselves – but leaving them unexplained can be.
If you don’t explain resume gaps up front, hiring managers may assume you don’t want them to know what happened. Your cover letter should provide answers to any questions your resume raises. If you stopped working briefly or you left a position after a year or less, proactively explain it in your cover letter.
Hiring managers want to understand your story (just like admissions and financial aid counselors want to understand students’ stories) and if they know you took a pause to get your master’s degree or moved suddenly to help a family member, they won’t assume the worst.
The bottom line: the best job applications, like the best admission and scholarship applications, are written with holistic review in mind. Look over your resume and cover letter with the same eye you use to evaluate students – are you telling a cohesive, compelling story? Armed with your enrollment expertise, you can stand out from other applicants.
This blog was originally published by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Admitted blog. Permission to reprint has been granted.