I watch as he scans my resume, his eyes moving up and down the paper version of my life. His eyes stop moving. A quick, understated smile, followed by a mild look of concern. I start to feel a little anxious. He leans forward, still looking curiously at that one spot on my resume. “…tell me about Zombie Club.”
This is the part of every interview where I question – just for a second – my decision to list my time among the undead as a potential selling point for an employment position. I can imagine the discussion in the final hiring meeting: he had some good experience, but are we seriously gonna hire the zombie kid? There are two things I consider before printing off my resume for potential employers. First, I want to stand out. And, more importantly, I want to make sure I stand out in a good way.
Though I don’t have the data to back it up, my estimates usually lead me to believe that I’m the only “zombie kid” in any given candidate pool. Stand out: check. But, like telling a joke to get the attention of a crowded room, I better have something good to follow it up with. I like when employers ask me about zombie club. Really, it’s my favorite part of an interview.
It started as a joke, sure, but a joke with a purpose: to offer students a break from the rigors of academia; to counter all the seriousness that pervades noble soul-searching and career-hunting with something bizarre and momentarily distracting. And, of course, to prepare its members for the imminent zombie apocalypse. At the beginning, we would watch horror films, brainstorm effective attack and escape strategies, train for combat through laser tag or video games, and occasionally creep through the corridors of Mason Hall as a sprawling mass of infected students (simply to raise awareness).
Things took a more purposeful turn when we began to be recruited by other student organizations to help with fundraising events. It’s easy for even the most well-intentioned students to ignore opportunities to participate in good causes… The campus is saturated with these types of events, which is a great thing, although many get overlooked and ignored. Zombie Club had a new job to do: zombify the act of giving.
Assisting with blood drives and raising money for brain research are a couple things on the zombie menu. This year, we’ll haunt the streets of downtown Ann Arbor in our second annual Walk of the Dead, which raises food, money, and general awareness for Food Gatherers – an Ypsilanti-based non-profit. Our primary focus remains to prepare for the Apocalypse. But, should the world of humans endure, we’ve found our footing in the land of the living.
Zombie Club is a great example of the potential and versatility of student organizations at U of M. My main point in writing this is to communicate the idea that your experiences are what you make them. The reason I devote coveted resume real estate to Zombie Club is because I’ve made that experience into something meaningful. Event planning, leadership, philanthropy, marketing and general creativity are just a few things that linger in employers’ minds after I explain my role in the club.
When formulating their story to present to employers, many job-seekers tend to place more importance on “official” internships or experiences they were paid for. Yeah, these are important. But most employers are smart enough to examine a person’s core abilities, stripped of whatever medium these abilities were demonstrated through. The nature of student organizations allows for the unrestrained expression of whatever abilities you’re most interested in exploring. Think about what kind of career you want to have, and what skills you’ll need to be successful. Rather than waiting for the perfect part-time job or internship posting to pop up on your computer screen, take a quick look at something more immediate. Envision what your role could be, then go out and make it. At the very least, it’ll make for a great story.
Mobile Phone: (555)-EAT-MEAT
Current Address: Where you least expect…
To eat and infect as many students as a Peer Advisor, while bringing about the inevitable occurrence of the zombie apocalypse
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Expected graduation: During Zombie Apocalypse
B.S. in Human Anatomy, Eating of. Minor in Neurobiology
Relevant Coursework: Intro to Biology, Intro to French Literature, Intro to Human Anatomy, Art History, Psychology of Human Behavior, Astrobiology: Search for Life in the Universe, Human Dissection, Small Business Management, Voice Acting (Moaning)
Fairfax Township High School, Virginia Beach VA
Expelled for eating principal
President of Zombie Club, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Fall 2009-Present
• Principal founder and devourer of human recruits
• Actively recruiting other undead citizens to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse
• Train other undead members through moaning lessons and calisthenics
Guinness Book of World Records. September 2007-Present
• Current record holder for longest time holding arms outstretched
• Current record holder for loudest deathly moan
International Red Cross, Ann Arbor, MI. Winter 2008-Fall 2009
• Volunteered at monthly blood drives, collecting and promptly disposing of human blood
University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI. April 2010-August 2010
• Unofficial volunteer surgeon
• Manually performed brain transplants and removals with minimal equipment
• Oversaw patients’ organ removal on a daily basis, which advanced leadership skills
• Independently led hospital-wide campaign to reduce repeat hospital visits
Hollywood Talent Agency, Hollywood, CA. April 2008-August 2008 & April 2009- August 2008
• Part-time Keith Richards/Courtney Love impersonator
• Movie extra: Played myself in Sean of the Dead, Zombieland, Land of the Days, 28 Days Later, Lost in Translation
Babysitter, Virginia Beach, VA. 2005-August 2007
• Cared for local children in the neighborhood by fattening them up with fast food
• Aforementioned children had 40% survival rate
Language: Fluent in both written and oral Moan-darin. Currently studying Bantu
Technical: Proficient in use of FinalCut Pro and Microsoft Office
Athletic: Brown Belt in Human Flesh Tearing, former track athlete specializing in the 100-Meter Stumble
Other: Can smell human fear from a distance of 2000 meters, can hold breath forever, impervious to pain
• Eating Humans
• Apocalypse Films (Especially Delicatessen, The Road, The Book of Eli, and The Lord of the Flies)
• Existential Philosophy