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Padding Resumes or Biographies Wasteful to All
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 • Posted February 16, 2011

In high school and college, we start to build up the list of our accomplishments that will help us to make an impression later in life. Growing up in a small town made that much easier than if I had lived in an urban area. I remember talking to friends in the dorm and they were taken aback to find out that I had been on the football team, was the editor of the yearbook, was in one act play, and also participated in UIL Persuasive Speaking.

I hadn't realized that kids in big high schools had to choose one or two things they were good at, and that was all that they would participate in while in high school. In Mason, we were invited and encouraged to try everything, and the natural selection process would determine if we pursued that avenue later.

In college, I narrowed focus and only participated in a few things. But, there were others that seemed to be in everything. At first, I was impressed by their ability to juggle so many activities, and wondered how they did it. Only a bit later did I finally discover their secret.

Joining does not always mean participating; and, participating does not always mean contributing.

I realized that many of the folks that were in every club and serving in every organization often did so in name only. They were "padding their resume'" for the future. That meant that, when they graduated, they would be able to list a long string of those many clubs on their resume, hopefully impressing potential employers.

I remember worrying that I didn't have enough extra activities listed on my own resume. I thought that potential employers would think I had not applied myself enough or that I hadn't cared about any causes enough to have gotten involved.

And then I moved into the "real world."

I began to learn that potential employers were going to ask questions about all those activities and they were more interested in quality than quantity. They didn't care that there were only a handful of clubs listed, as they were more impressed that I had spent my time judiciously with those activities, while also working full time. I realized that resume padding might be good for impressing people; but, it was just smoke and mirrors when it came time to make final hiring decisions. And, I thought that was where the padding ended.

As an adult, I've been fortunate enough to have volunteered my time and energy to a handful of causes and endeavors that I really care about. I've also served with people over the years who, though college is long past and new job interviews are not happening, continue to pad their resumes.

We all know them. They are on every committee, in every club, and still looking for more. Oddly enough, they don't often make meetings because they're busy with something else. They're unable to help with work projects because they have other obligations. They always show up if photos are being taken; but, have to run before the work begins.

Resume padders are an amusement in college; but, in real life, they are just annoying. They will volunteer to head up every project, then expect everyone else to do the work so that they can move on to their other obligations.

All of us have served with them. On occasion, we may have even been them. But, those with practical streaks and an attentiveness to reality have finally stood up and stated, "I don't have time to give this the attention it deserves. I will give you my full support and offer any financial help that I can; but, in fairness to the others who are serving, I think it best that I step away and offer up my seat to someone who has the time and focus to do a better job."

And then there are the ones who will rush to take those seats, knowing full well they don't have the time to fulfill the obligations. But, they are able to add one more line to their accomplishments, however hollow that might be. Don't fool yourself - those who are doing the work and putting in the hours know who you are. We're not impressed, and we're not fooled. We would respect you more if you only focused on the things you do have time for, and let us find someone who will do the job.

But, thanks for applying!!!!

It’s all just my opinion.

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