The Boy Scouts have been known for their great achievements and great service to society. Originally launched as a way to teaching outdoors skills to city children, the Scouts have grown into a broad program focused on good citizenship and community service. They’ve also build a strong network of Scouting alumni who are often more than happy to help a fellow scout get started.
Yes, you should list Eagle Scout rank on your resume. First, there’s always a chance you are talking to a fellow scout or scout parent. Most of them will be inclined to help an eagle scout, at least in terms of giving them the benefit of the doubt. Second, it sends a strong signal to employers about your level of capability and commitment.
Pitching The Eagle Scout Project
It wasn’t until my own son started working on the badge that I fully appreciated the development experience that completing an eagle scout project offers a candidate. If you’re still early in your career, this is worth bringing to a recruiter’s attention.
First, stress the fact that you were in a planning and management capacity for the project vs. actually doing the work. It’s one thing to mention that you rebuilt the landscaping around your local park or community center. That’s a nice testament to your character and public spirit. But a far more powerful message is sent when you stress the degree of organization involved in the eagle scout service project.
- You planned the service project
- You raised money
- You recruited volunteers
- You supervised and managed the work
- You ensured appropriate recognition
This is a solid first course in management, accompanied by a tangible certification (your eagle scout award) and practical leadership skills. Far beyond the experience of a typical teenager.
Other Relevant Boy Scout Experience
Eagle Scout rank isn’t the only thing you should be sure to mention on your resume, especially early in your career. There are many other very useful experiences you can get as a Boy Scout.
Since most of the troops are boy led, be sure to mention any significant leadership position that you held. Don’t mention everything, just the highest rank as a troop leader and any summer camp positions. There’s a lot you can learn as a senior patrol leader that is applicable in the business world. This applies even if you didn’t finish an eagle project and earn eagle rank – most scouts at the life scout level have held relevant leadership roles within the troop or a cub scout pack.
Merit badges are another opportunity. While I wouldn’t mention merit badges on a resume, the intent of the merit badge program was to give a young man exposure to potential career paths. As part of earning eagle rank, you completed 21 merit badges plus a few electives. These were generally taught by people working in the field. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them for some additional guidance and career help. Most will be more than willing to point a fellow scout in the right direction. This is also a great conversation starter: “Why did you get interested in X…” “Oh, I completed a merit badge in Boy Scouts…’
Experience as an adult leader is also worth mentioning. This includes senior role such as scout master (unit leader) and assisting as a merit badge counselor. Adult scout leader experience is generally regarded similar to community service; it builds out a employer’s view of your character. Don’t spend too much time detailing the specific accomplishments, focus on your regular jobs (as an adult leader).