Why You Shouldn't Stretch the Truth on Your Resume

Nancy Anderson
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Are you tempted to beef up a puny resume with false information? Resume lies can have lasting consequences that derail your career when you least expect it. Even if you get away with dishonesty, you could spend the rest of your career covering up lies or trying to compensate for skills you don't really have. Learn why lying on your resume isn't worth it and how to make a great impression without embellishing the truth.

The Downside of Dishonesty

Resume lies and half-truths may seem harmless, but you can earn a reputation for poor integrity. Networking is a core aspect of recruiting, and hiring professionals often go beyond your resume to get the facts. Recruiters can easily conduct a background check or reach out to personal contacts to find out if you exaggerated your employment history.

Landing a job could become more challenging if recruiters spread the word about you to other hiring managers. Since job candidates rarely get any feedback about why they weren't hired, it's nearly possible to know if you've been blacklisted.

But getting caught isn't the only concern. You have to prove to interviewers that you're qualified and knowledgeable enough to handle a variety of workplace scenarios. When you depend on resume lies to get hired, you have to work hard to keep your story straight and provide evidence of your successes. Small resume lies quickly become big ones when you start creating fake stories, and you run the risk of forgetting which lies you told to each employer.

Tips to Strengthen Your Candidacy

Misrepresenting yourself is a fast way to get your application thrown out, so why destroy your prospects with resume lies? Be honest and professional, emphasizing details that paint you in the best light. Make sure your resume answers these crucial questions:

1. What is your strongest selling point as a candidate?

Right away, your summary statement should offer a few compelling reasons why your skills and experience make you a great candidate. Give hiring managers a strong incentive to keep reading.

2. What makes you prepared for the job?

Employers want someone with sufficient experience to solve problems and make productive decisions with minimal training. Don't just list your employment history with bland descriptions. Provide context for your achievements and measurable results that recruiters can confirm by speaking with past employers. Include "off-the-job" experiences that helped you build valuable skills, such as internships, volunteering or community involvement.

3. How did you use your time effectively?

Show hiring managers that you make productive career choices. Did you pursue supplementary education or certifications to improve your skills? Did you seek out a mentor or apprenticeship? Did you get offered more responsibilities without an official title bump? Small distinctions can set you apart from candidates who don't show as much initiative.

Resumes aren't the only deciding factor in getting hired, so don't feel pressured to make things up. Your personality and hustle can help you network your way to a great job. Instead of using resume lies to get ahead, ask for introductions and informational interviews to find out what employers want from a candidate. Build relationships with hiring managers, so you can ditch the lies and promote your skills in person.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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