An Alpine Valley School Resume

The summer after I graduated from Alpine Valley School I had my first job interview. The position was a representative in a small call center, scheduling maintenance for electronic equipment. I can still remember sitting in the lobby of the enormous office building, sweating through my ill-fitting borrowed suit and re-reading the notes I'd prepared. These notes consisted of phrases like:

Leadership experience:

  • School Meeting Chairman: running meetings, handling disruptions, undertaking responsibility

  • Judicial Committee Chairman: organizing important paperwork, holding others accountable, use of good listening skills, conflict management

Project Management Experience:

  • Party planning: managing resources, budgeting

Because I hadn’t yet had a “real” job, I compiled aspects of my career as an Alpine Valley School student to draw upon for work experience. After all, I'd already been the chairman of four school corporations and I wasn’t even twenty years old! I felt that by sharing the roles I had undertaken as a student, I would be sure to convey all the responsibility and meaningful experience at my command.

When the panel asked me to describe a time when I'd dealt with an irate customer and turned things around, I told them about when I was organizing a talent show at school and my performers turned on each other. As the organizer, I intervened and resolved the conflict before everyone quit the show. I was nervous that this example wouldn’t count as real-world experience, but the panel said they were impressed. Afterward, when I shared with them all the examples I'd included in my notes, the woman leading the interview said to me, “You’ve done a lot of things for someone so young.”

I ended up working in that enormous office building for ten years: first, in the job I'd applied for; then as a manager for the call center; and finally as a project manager on a variety of international and high-stakes assignments. My experience as a student at Alpine Valley School prepared me uniquely for each of these roles. The ability to manage difficult conversations in Judicial Committee transferred readily to difficult conversations over an employee’s performance. Keeping things organized requires very similar skills whether it's a talent show at school or a multi-million-dollar call center upgrade.

These days my life has come full circle. I’m back at Alpine Valley School, now as a staff member. Recently a student approached me and asked for help with her own resume. She was applying for her first job and wanted help communicating the value of her experiences. Together we sat down and looked through all the jobs she's held within School Meeting, along with her outside experiences (babysitting, pet sitting, etc.), turning them into a document sure to impress any recruiter under the sun. After all, like all our students, she's "done a lot of things for someone so young."

Marc Gallivan