To lie or not to lie, what do you do when you’ve found your dream job and you don’t quite have ‘the right’ experience? Including a little white lie on your resume may get your foot in the door, but it won’t keep it there. More employers are performing searches on social media to establish trust in a candidate’s background, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping some job seekers from altering information or just plain lying when applying for a job.
According to a survey of more than 1,000 workers and 300 senior managers conducted by the staffing firm OfficeTeam (2017), 46% of survey participants said they knew someone who falsified information on a resume and 38% of managers reported removal of a candidate from the hiring process due to catching the lie on the document.
If you’re thinking of stretching the truth on your resume, I advise against it. Employers are checking for even the smallest misrepresentations and removing applicants from further consideration by conducting thorough interviews, searching online for digital proof, and performing reference / background checks.
In surveys, human resources report that they’ve found the 3 most common pieces of information misrepresented or exaggerated on a resume are …
Don’t beef up your resume by inflating your experience. Honesty really is the best policy, so rather than exaggerating, review the employer’s job post, company website, press releases, etc. and find common ground. What are the employer’s needs? How do your existing skills and experience meet those needs? You don’t have to be a 100% match, but you do need to find a common denominator and then highlight your knowledge and how you can be of value in overcoming the challenges the company is facing.
Date deception is another common area of deceit. Job seekers try to cover up gaps in employment by fabricating dates or falsifying interim jobs, titles, duties. Rather than distorting the facts, use volunteer experience to cover the gap or a different format to help the dates blend in.
Fifty-five percent of survey participants found job candidates had stretched their areas of expertise / technical proficiencies. Whatever skills you’ve included on your resume you should be prepared to prove you have – from basic accounting to conversational languages.
Keep your academic credentials truthful. Claiming to be an Ivy League graduate when you only have a degree from an online university is a no-no. Some employers will take your word for it and others will go all in and check with your alma mater to confirm you graduated by calling the school directly or using a background checking service.
Little white lies may come back to haunt you. Companies are doing more comprehensive screenings and are even digging into an employee’s past when their on-the-job performance doesn’t match with their stated skills or the candidate is up for a higher-level promotion. If a discrepancy in education or experience is found it is often grounds for termination and perhaps even legal action.
To answer the “to lie or not to lie” question … the answer is don’t lie on your resume. Rather than taking the chance, the more sensible approach is seeking help from a certified professional resume writer who has the experience and knowledge needed to help you craft a compelling value proposition and articulate your contributions, accomplishments, and other differentiators –aligning your experience with the needs of your next employer and helping you overcome a myriad of obstacles in your job search.