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I am a junior year in college and my current resume is honestly not strong. In a week, I am going to have an interview for a research I am interested in, and I feel confident that I am going to get it because they need more people. The thing is I want to get my resume ready for a career fair that is coming up in just a few days. Am I allowed to write this research position down on my resume? If so, how should I write it?

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If a recruiter says "tell me more about this research position" you'll find yourself in an awkward position of responding with "Welllll.... I don't actually have it yet but I'm probably gonna get it". Unless you lie. Which is much worse. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Feb 13 at 15:42
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I'm not sure what degree program you're enrolled in, but it sounds like it could benefit from a section on ethical professional behaviors within the field. This would not be classified as an ethical behavior. –  Joel Etherton Feb 13 at 15:48
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Why stop there? Perhaps you should mention all the jobs that in your imagination you're going to have in the future. –  Eric Lippert Feb 13 at 16:54
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I am a junior year in college and my current resume is honestly not strong -> note that in many cases this is expected for people who are still in college. –  Adam V Feb 13 at 17:01
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"Has a Stack Overflow reputation of 213,000 in 2019. Solved world hunger with advanced technology in 2030. Solved the Unix 2038 problem in 2037 using a time machine (which is why we, today, perceive it as not really a big problem. You're welcome!) Created Middle East Peace with no loss of life in 2047. Completed production ready version of portable, tiny, safe nuclear reactors that fit in phones, watch, and other portable electronic devices effectively powering them for the duration of their practical life." –  Adam Davis Feb 13 at 17:03

4 Answers 4

up vote 27 down vote accepted

You're allowed to - the resume police won't come and arrest you. However, you shouldn't. A resume is supposed to indicate the experience that you have, not experience that you may have.

Although you maybe confident, there's no guarantee that you'll get the job. In the event that you don't get the job, you'll have to explain that to potential employers. I'm not sure that's a position that you want to be in. Also, at a career fair (as someone who has recruited at them before), I tend to ask questions about work experience. Without a lot of time to look at a resume in detail, if I were to ask you about an experience that you haven't had yet, that could lead to awkwardness.

I would recommend not only having accepted the position, but waiting a couple of weeks before updating your resume (and any online versions as well). That way, you'll actually be able to talk about the experience and won't be giving anyone any false impressions.

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I am a junior year in college and my current resume is honestly not strong.

And your plan is to make it stronger by making it less honest?

No one expects a junior in college to have a strong work history. When I am looking at resumes for college students applying for internships or entry level jobs I'm looking for smart, trainable, understands the basics and gets stuff done, not for has years of experience in the industry.

In a week, I am going to have an interview for a research I am interested in, and I feel confident that I am going to get it because they need more people.

I fail to see how either of these two facts - the feeling of confidence you have in your mind, and their need for staff - are correlated in any way to the probability that you'll be hired.

Am I allowed to write this research position down on my resume?

You give your resume to XYZ Corp saying that you have a position on Foo Team at Blah College, and XYZ Corp calls the admin staff of Foo Team to verify your employment history.

What do you suppose the admin is going to say?

How do you imagine that is going to affect your chances of getting either the Foo Team job or the XYZ Corp job?

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A résumé is a brief summary of one's education, qualifications, and previous experience.

It is not meant to include, and shouldn't include guesses or wishes for future expectations. You might as well add, "Won the Nobel Science Prize - 2022" You may fully expect that to occur, but until it actually has occurred, it does not belong on a résumé.

The only time I've seen this done and it not hurt the applicant is when a student has added "Expected to graduate Cum Laude" and when asked about it their response suggested that they understood their school's honor process, this was their last semester, and they would have to completely fail at least two of their courses to not receive that honor, and in reality they were likely to attain magna cum laude.

In every other case where someone has lied or used wishful thinking to pad out their résumé, it has hurt them more than helped them at some point in their application process*.

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* those that were caught, anyway... –  Adam Davis Feb 13 at 16:54

There is no rule or law dictating what is on your resume, but as an interviewer and hiring manager, I would strongly suggest that you do not include it. I look to see the most recent work done by a candidate as a starting point for discussion. I like to hear candidates explain the project and their role in it. Since you are in school this is one of likely few applicable jobs on your resume, if not the only one. If you can not give me some details on that, I would immediately be done with your time.

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