Why You Shouldn’t Take A Job That Will Look Good On Your Resume

Should we take a job just because it 'looks good'? Or should we value the experience more (even if it doesn't appear as good on paper)?
There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you:

Say you’ve just received two job offers.

One with an extremely reputable company that you know will look amazing on your resume (and you’re pretty sure it will lead you onto greater things at some point in the future). And one that won’t look ‘as good’ on your resume (still not horrible though) but you think you will get better experience there than you would at the other potential job.

Which would you choose? And if you’ve ever faced this dilemma before – which did you choose?

Making big decisions

I had to answer this question myself a couple of months ago when I was making the decision between a few internship offers and it was such a struggle (a good problem to have, I know, but still a struggle).

Should we spend our precious time on something just because it’ll make our resume ‘look good’?

I’m not talking about a job you would kill for and it will look great on your resume too. Of course you should take that one.

I’m talking about the one where the only reason you’re taking it is to make yourself look better on paper. Is it worth it? Is having a good looking resume really the best tactic to get where we want to go?

And should you take the job that everyone says is the better offer? Or the one that you have a really good gut feeling about? (in an ideal world these offers would be one and the same but from experience I know that isn’t always the case).

What do you think?

I would LOVE to hear if you’ve had to make this decision before – what did you decide to do? And are you happy with the decision you made?

Just leave a comment below and let me know, I’d really appreciate hearing what you think!

Sam xx


Author: Sam Brown

  • I have tried going into a job just for the resume. Man was I not happy, only full of stress. In the end I quit and got nothing positive out of it, because I had this subconscious negative feeling to it, so I refused to see even the positive parts that I could have taken advantage of.

    There have also been times when I applied for a job or got an offer from a reputable company (Coca Cola, Home Decor, the most well known local magazine, to mention a few) and I turned the offers down listening to my gut. I don’t know if I have made the mistake of my life (several times), but after the first odd feelings, I was eventually in peace with myself because my gut was too.

    Of course there was a time I applied for a dream job, got into the final phase competition and the only other candidate got the job.
    Was I feeling bad? Yes. Was it meant to not be? Totally. I believe everything happens for a reason.

    The advice I’d give someone is to choose according to their future goals. If your goal is to gain acknowledge in your field and get a high position after some years, definitely go for the big names, where you and your career can develop/get trained/get payed/get recognized the most.
    On the other hand, if having a great work ambient surrounded by motivating people, gaining one to one collaboration is a priority to you, I’d say go with your gut. Dreading the feeling of getting up in the morning to go somewhere you don’t feel good in will negatively affect all areas in your life.

    • Lisa! Thanks so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment 🙂 I really appreciate it! You have such great advice!

      I totally agree on listening to your gut – I think that’s what it really comes down to. Do you have a good feeling about it or a bad feeling. I’ve found that a lot of the decisions I’ve made that I’ve ended up regretting have been when I didn’t really listen to my gut and just did what I thought I was supposed to do.

      Love it! Thanks Lisa!

      Sam xx

    • Hi Laura,

      So true – time should not be wasted on being unhappy! Thanks for your comment!

      Sam xx

  • I’ve never been there yet, mostly because I’m still a student and I only did some internship yet. But I think I would probably chose the job where I can have more personal development, even if it doesn’t look as good as the other in my resume.

    • Hi Ellie,

      Thanks for adding your thoughts! I’m kind of the same as I’m a student and in terms of having jobs as part of my ‘career’ I haven’t really done much at all yet. I feel exactly the same way though and that is what I used to make my decision. Thanks for your comment!

      Sam xx

    • I totally agree – we shouldn’t just do things to do things! I’ve kind of realised lately that I’m kind of on a path of just ‘ticking the boxes’ and if I’m not careful it will be easy to just follow down that path without even thinking about it.

      Love it! 🙂

      Sam xx

  • I’d choose a job that would allow more growth and development (which I have done). Ultimately, I believe personal growth and knowing yourself will lead to far better opportunities and choices that are well thought out in the future. In my field I see so many patients for work stress who have great jobs on paper, but in the end, would much rather prefer a job they enjoy.

    BUT, if u feel confident enough that the resume-perfect job will get u where u want to be AND u can tolerate anything that gets thrown at u…then go for it! 🙂

    Vania (http://freudandfashion.com/)

    • Hi Vania,

      This is such good advice! Looking good on paper really doesn’t mean much when you’re not happy.

      Plus when does the whole stepping stone thing end? We’ll probably spend more time in ‘stepping stone’ positions than in the final position/job that we want so why spend the majority of our time doing something we don’t even like just for a relatively few years of doing something we think will make us happy (but we don’t even know that for sure). A really thought-provoking comment thank you!

      Sam xx

  • I think a future employer would be more impressed by you if you have experience doing something that you are passionate about and can really get behind. Ultimately the things you have learned are more important than having a big name on your resume. It will give you more to discuss in an interview and will make you more compelling as a candidate. Maybe the big name would be more likely to get your foot in the door, but it certainly won’t seal the deal.

    • Hi Martina 🙂

      I totally agree! I think it is more impressive that you do things because you are passionate, not just to tick the boxes. But looking good on paper does help you get in the door.

      Having said that, there are lots of other ways to get your foot in the door besides looking good on paper (like networking) so I think doing something you really love doing is a way better use of time!

      Thanks so much for your comment

      Sam xx

  • Sam this is such a great question! It is so hard, I suppose it depends on the details and your situation. At this point in my life I would always pick the one that would look better on my resume. But I hope one day I will be in a position where I can choose based on feeling and what I really love. Great post 🙂
    – C
    Claudine Converses

    • Hi Claudine,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! It does really depend what situation you’re in!

      Sam xx

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