So much for service: Tragic endings to resume fluff

I was appalled that one of the “tragedies” that I have had to hear about in my university career involved a student who was bitter about having to attend a conference for the organization in which she was an e-board member. She was devastated that she would miss the football game because she admitted only joining the organization as a resume filler. However, this was not my first encounter with resume fraud.

Last semester one of my closest friends pleaded that I help her with a volunteering project in which only two out of the 10 e-board members had shown up. I was not even a member of the organization but decided to cover up for the students who apparently were busy filling out the line in their resume for great service to their community. It is bad enough that students actually pursue filler for grad school applications and coveted jobs, but it perhaps more senseless as some employers, admissions offices and even scholarship committees are dazzled by so-and-so’s visit to the homeless shelter every other month to pass out food items.

Woe to the student who actually must participate in the extracurricular activities they have used on their resumes! What mindless effort to write a few lines than to put forth the actual work it takes to be a part of an e-board!

I marvel at my two or three lines I have dedicated to my extracurricular activities.

I don’t intend to belittle service or involvement because it is a vital part of community building. And I am not overlooking the fully dedicated students that do balance service, academics and other activities. But I am calling out those who have disgraced the world with their fraudulent resumes and end up hurting those they supposedly served.

When I told a coworker of mine that I would be taking a year off before going to grad school to volunteer in the inner city for a year, he was excited for me and commented on what a great idea it was-it would look great on my grad school application! I tried to convince him that I was one of few students that didn’t even consider putting it on a resume or application as an incentive to go through with it. He didn’t grasp the concept and wondered why I didn’t do more prestigious programs like “Teach for America” or go for the other pay incentives. Sadly, he has become a victim of resume fluff.

The real tragedy comes in the students that do service or activities to beef up their resumes and completely forget about the people they served five years down the line when they’re thinking of salaries and whether or not to buy that new sports car. But all the blame can’t be placed on students-after all, they are only products of society. So much for service and leadership.

Marquita Bell can be contacted