A graduate of Yale Law School who is now a law professor asked me to post the following observations (sent under the title, above):
As the next faculty recruitment season begins in "quiet search" mode, I have come across a CV from yet another candidate who lists on his or her resume a "scholarship" from one of a handful of non-profits based in New Haven, Connecticut. Lots of people who went to Yale (like me) and others recognize these trust associations as the formal names of Yale's undergraduate secret societies. So what are these candidates thinking in listing these "scholarships" on their CVs?
Listen up, Yalies: The days of the secret handshake are over. Noone is going to give you an academic job (let alone an interview) just because you were in a secret society. These "scholarships" aren't necessarily competitive or academic (I know, because I had a few myself), so putting them on the CV smacks of resume padding. Also, your membership in a secret society may be seen (fairly or unfairly) as elitist, which doesn't play well at most law schools. Including on a CV your "scholarship" from the Kingsley Trust Associaton, Russell Trust Association, Stone Trust Corporation, Colony Foundation, Wrexham Trust, Elihu Club, Inc. or the Anthony Trust Association tells the appointments committee nothing other than you got picked for one of the "right" undergraduate clubs and that you still think it is important enough to share this with the world. Do yourself a favor and take the fakescholarships off your CV. Boola, boola.
One of the things that struck me when I was a visiting professor at Yale Law School during 1998-1999 was how many prizes the school awarded for student writing. This isn't resume padding quite as egregious as that noted by my correspondent, but these days a YLS graduate who hasn't won some kind of "prize" for his or her writing is probably a slacker!
What other kinds of resume padding should hiring committees watch out for? No anonymous postings, unless you want to e-mail me first so I can verify the particulars of your experience and educational background.