In the last month, I have edited 22 resumes and platform statements for contestants preparing for Miss America state pageants. I've looked at preteens, teens, and Miss contestants, and I found a trend.
Accomplished Women, But Something Is Missing...
Most pageant contestants are smart with wonderful accomplishments. Many of you are striving for advanced degrees or have received commendations for your talents. Many of you have great answers about your legacy and marketing plan. What's missing, however, is the personality shared in the "interesting facts" section. This post also goes for girls outside of Miss America, because judges in all systems love the interview question "Tell me something unique about yourself." Having been a contestant and judge, I firmly believe that interesting facts are the most important section of your paperwork.
In a long line of contestants, a judge will almost always look at your interesting facts. In a local I recently judged, one girl had written her resume so well that every single judge wanted to ask her the same questions from her interesting facts section- we were all tripping over one another to see who could ask them first! This is not to say that if your paperwork is boring, you'll lose the pageant. That's not true. If you walk in with a great personality, preparation, and stage presence, you have a wonderful shot at the crown. No, pageant paperwork is far more important for one reason: it can put you in control of the interview.
Take Charge of Your Interview
When you share personality on paper, judges want to talk to you about it. They want to hear your stories and they want to laugh at your jokes. I had the same interesting facts on my resume for the two years I competed in the MAO- and I was asked about at least one in every single interview I had. (By the way, the most common question regarded my interesting fact "I met Condoleeza Rice shoe shopping.")
Let your paperwork set you up for the crown!
Don't Make Excuses
Some girls say "But I have nothing else interesting about me." Wrong. When I help girls with paperwork, I ask them to send me anything they can think of. Your mom is also a great resource for remembering unique things you did as a child. I don't care how silly it is or how stupid you think it is- we can run with something as simple as, "I don't believe in aliens," because judges want to know why.
It is a great opportunity for you to share your opinion, speak intelligently and have something memorable that will carry over to the stage. Imagine the judge watching you in swimsuit and saying, "that's the alien girl!" If you spoke intelligently or were funny, they will remember you! When I have judged girls who put little thought into their paperwork, we judges control the interview. We might get bored and even worse, you might not stand out.
If you had the opportunity to direct the conversation, wouldn't you take it? Do some thinking about interesting facts before your next pageant to succeed with paperwork and interview.
Tip: "Have confidence in yourself, you weren't made to be anyone else."Learn More