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The Resume-builder Must Die!

I move that we kill the "resume-builder."

Or, if that motion doesn’t pass, I move that we start a treatment program for those people sick enough to put themselves through chronic sleep-deprivation, stress that causes them to verbally abuse their friends and family, and horrific unhappiness in the name of thinking the description of that experience will "look good" on a piece of white or cream, 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.

And if that doesn’t work, I move that we punish those people for lying. Because they actually want to description of their experience in sending themselves to hell to "read well," not "look good." Surely this is our best hope, to nab them on a technicality.

However we do it, we must kill the resume-builder. It’s destroying lives. We hear the warning signs all the time.

"I think I’ll do a double major (even though I hate school and don’t like either major, but hey, I’m special because I come from a two-parent household, so I should study both things they studied), because..."

"I think I’ll add a minor (because I hate my major so much that I’m obviously not going to do significant work related to that or, heaven forbid, spend my extra time doing something unrelated to school that I and a potential employer might actually give a rat’s ass about), because..."

"I think I’ll concentrate on this OR get this extra certificate (even though if I gave it any thought at all I’d know that people who didn’t go to my college won’t have any idea what it is and that people who do know also know it’s meaningless anyway), because..."

"...because it will look good on my resume." (with a valley girl accent, of course, ohmygod! OR if it’s a guy, with a voice that trails off to nonexistence because maybe just maybe if no one hears what I say it really didn’t happen because if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it then maybe it didn’t make noise.)

Look, I’m not trying to say that certain brand names, perhaps of top schools or elite awards, on a resume don’t open certain doors. I know they do. I've even been fortunate that they do. I'm talking about the petty stuff, the stuff that doesn’t really matter in the good ways we think it will, the same stuff that really, really matters in the bad ways that we blindly discount into oblivion.

Last year I heard more than a few undergraduate and graduate students trying to rationalizing their decisions to take just one more class or do just one more practicum by violently listing (even counting on the fingers!) ELEVEN or more reasons why it would make their lives hell because they knew full well their schedules were already at their tipping points.

If I do this extra thing,...
1. I’ll have less time.
2. I’ll have more homework.
3. I probably won’t spend more time than I do now on homework, so I’ll be putting in less effort and time into each class.
4. I’ll be more stressed out.
5. I’ll cook less and eat more junk food.
6. I’ll get fatter.
7. I won’t fit into my clothes, and that will make me feel worse.
8. I won’t go to the gym because I won’t have time and I won’t want anyone to see me.
9. I’ll have to pull a few more all-nighters.
10. I’ll struggle to keep my GPA as high as it has been.
11. I might have to cut out an extra-curricular activity that I enjoy.

And then ONE reason why it minimally beneficial
1. But, it will probably look good on my resume.

Do I need to get out that cheesy scale from Celebrity Fit Club to show everyone that 11 is bigger than 1. Can’t you see it’s TWICE AS BIG (or more?)!

I move that we kill the “resume-builder.” Anyone second?

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 31 July 2005


If you hate doing it as a resume-builder, you'll probably hate working for anybody who'd be impressed by seeing it on a resume.

FWIW, I did lots of "resume-building" stuff...very little of it ever actually ended up on my resume, but I did it because I _wanted_ to do it. "It'll build my resume" was just the excuse I used to get people to back off and let me have a little fun, instead of focusing 24/7 on their idea of what my plan should be.

It took me most of my 20s to recover from bad decisions related to college...but the bad decisions I was recovering from weren't the fun ones.

Posted by: Matt at August 2, 2005 03:28 AM