What’s up with resume padding?

I, a tired high school student, have a few things to say about it.

It isn’t shocking to search for someone you know on LinkedIn and see them unexpectedly stacked with an impressive list of important executive positions. I was so naive to think that they truly did everything they listed in the way that it was so eloquently described. In fact, my initial reaction to the first time I found a classmate on LinkedIn was probably something like, “Since when?” Since when did Bob start getting so involved in advocating for action against animal cruelty? Since when was Lisa the Vice President of the Mathematics club? (Wait a second: Our school has a MATHEMATICS CLUB?) But then I remembered that there are dishonest people in the world. Oops. Haha. Almost forgot about that for a short moment.

Well, maybe they aren’t exactly dishonest per se. It’s more like twisting a bit of the truth for their own benefit. We’ve all been there at one point, even if we pride ourselves in being people who really intend to do good and be transparent in our actions. It just so happens that Bob and Lisa are contorting their accomplishments and responsibilities on a personal profile purposed for making connections and expanding their network. Moreover, they most likely tend to do the same kind of thing on resumes handed to organizations for a shot at securing an oh-so prestigious and life-changing internship. Here’s a quirky tip: If they can do it, so can you!

Just kidding. Please do NOT do that. That’d be outright resume padding. Additionally, I think it’s unhealthy to act in envy. (I speak from experience.) Always keep in mind that what’s popular is not always right. It might work extremely well in your favour, but it’s not right, you know what I mean? Clearly, I’m not really a fan of resume padding and unfortunately, it makes me skeptical of everything else Bob or Lisa claims they have done. I’m all for taking full responsibility for what you do and proudly sharing achievements. It’s fantastic to see how someone has progressed and hear about their great experiences. However, it sucks to see someone exaggerate their role while knowing they were actually a slacker in their duties. What’s worse is seeing others fall for the meticulous facade.

Welp. This behaviour definitely can’t be changed overnight. Is there anything we can do to stop resume padding? Sure, interviews exist to get a better sense of who an individual really is like off of paper or the digital realm, but those are flawed because people think quickly on their feet (which is an important, helpful skill that requires practice) and lie (not so much of an amicable skill). So, no. There is no way to stop anyone from adding fluff into their resume. You can change your perspective though.

Applications are opportunities. Instead of it being a test of one’s ability to take on a role, how about looking at it as a chance to try something new? Bob and Lisa may have added their spin on the truth, yet they wouldn’t completely lie about holding a position in an organization. (Or at least I hope not. Otherwise, that’s just not right. Not cool.) They must have undergone some sort of process to at the very least appear more qualified and successfully attain whatever they applied for. I strongly believe that taking the chance to pursue a goal is something to admire. Although it might seem daunting to put yourself out there with such a lack of humility like Bob and Lisa, and you’re paranoid of somehow accidentally padding your resume, have a firm grip on your intentions and be sincere. Resume padding gets you one pinkie toe deep into an ocean of opportunities, and an amazing learning experience can emerge from what you make of the lucky catches.

TL;DR: Resume padding isn’t all that bad. It may motivate you to try things out. After all, it’s the experience that matters most. Know what you value and keep yourself grounded.