It should come as no surprise that success requires preparation. Every contestant who shows up on the stage to compete in a pageant has completed all the requirements just to get there. You have selected your wardrobe, chosen a talent, sent in a headshot and submitted paperwork. It is no small effort.
Before a contestant has even walked into the interview room, they have set an expectation of what the judges might expect. The first thing I notice as a judge is the contestant's attention to details, such as the ability to follow the format, has paperwork with no spelling/grammatical errors, and signed the platform statement. I'll scan quickly through the paperwork looking for something I want to ask about. If you have great interesting facts, I already have a good start. Your accomplishments should also stand out.
Years ago, I judged a local where the current Miss America, Cara Mund, was competing. When I saw her resume, I was instantly sold on her as she had not only great accomplishments, but it was presented in a way that featured her work very clearly. It was enough for me to easily write 5 to 10 questions just from her first page. Before I even met her, she won that pageant. Of course, she lived up to her paperwork in every phase of competition.
So if you are just starting out, you may be challenged to come up with interesting facts about yourself or Miss America worthy accomplishments. Start with what you have that is obvious, if you don't have a lot of accomplishments (yet), then list what you have and think of things you can do to build upon that. Do your platform work already: volunteer for an established organization, advocate for a cause you feel is worthwhile, see someone in need and help them.
If you don't have a lot to put into the accomplishments section of your resume, focus on interesting facts. Think about things that people ask you about when you meet them. Do you have a special interest or skill that people often ask you questions about? Make them varied enough that it gives the judges a good amount of topics to draw upon.
On the platform, I often am looking for what makes the platform personal for that contestant. Has it affected your family? Why do you have a passion for the topic? Then the next thing I want to know is what have you done already. If you are just starting out, it may be very simple, like starting to do the research. As you have devoted more time to your platform, you will be able to touch on personal connections that you have made as you improved the lives of others. The last part that I want to see is what plans you hope to accomplish in the next year for your platform. Be specific about these plans, such as organizing a fundraiser or speaking at schools. Think about how you might set that up.
The final point about all the paperwork is that you won't necessarily tell everything in your resume and platform: after all, it is only 2 pages. However, it should give the judges a springboard for everything you want them to know before you arrive at interview. Be sure to have something that gives you an opportunity to talk about points that are important to you.
As a post script, here a some common errors that I see as a director that makes me ask you to send me an update:
--Your resume or platform go to a 2nd page. Solution: Send as a pdf so you know that variations between computers don't change the page formatting
--You competed in a prior pageant and you have text saying "As Miss Prior Pageant, I will..." Solution: Don't embed a local title into the body of your platform. Instead, say "As a titleholder in the Miss America system..." if you think you might compete in multiple pageants. Or, be sure to read through your whole platform statement one last time before you send it in.
--You didn't sign your platform statement. Solution: Use pdf signature and apply it to your document electronically. Or, print, sign and scan to send electronically. Or, mail a signed platform.
--The formatting or section headers don't match other contestant applications. Solution: Refer to the paperwork guidelines and compare your documents to the example on the last page. Update anything that doesn't align.
--Your paperwork has spelling or grammatical errors. Solution: Run a spellcheck and have someone else read through it to give you feedback before you turn it in.
I want everyone to put their best foot forward so that the judges see the awesome young women you are. Believe me, the judges notice when things don't look right. I've heard comments from them about all of the things noted above. I will try to catch things as I'm compiling the books for the judges, but if someone turns paperwork in late, it will go in as I get it. I've heard directors say that they have seen paperwork come in that goes beyond the 1 page guideline and the judges only get the 1st page with the paperwork ending mid sentence. Believe me, that leaves an impression. So to be sure you are telling the judges what you want them to know about you, read your paperwork aloud before you send it.