Don’t Rely on a Lie
Resumes are an applicant’s foot in the door, their first opportunity to make a good impression, and a platform to promote themselves to potential employers. In an effort to beat out their competition, more and more candidates are making an unfortunate choice and providing false information rather than promoting their actual experience, education and skills. In fact, a poll conducted by the staffing firm, OfficeTeam, found that 46 percent of those polled admitted knowing someone who included inaccurate information on their resume. This stat is up by 25 percent since 2011, and managers are catching on. 38 percent of managers polled reported that an applicant had been removed from their candidate pool because of inaccuracies on their resume.
The bottom line? Don’t rely on a lie to get your foot in the door. Here are some ways to promote yourself (your real self), in the areas that are most commonly misinterpreted.
Job Experience: It’s no surprise that 76% of information that is commonly misrepresented on resumes falls into the “Job Experience” category. After all, it’s tempting to give your previous job experience an elaborate twist to get a leg up on the competition. It is possible to promote your job experience without embellishing or adding experience that doesn’t exist. One way to do that is to include applicable and recent job experience rather than every position you have held since your summer flipping burgers or delivering pizza. Instead of titling your high school cashier gig as “Financial Manager” while applying for a job at an accounting firm, leave it off in favor of more recent and relevant experience.
Job Duties: Job duties are the second most commonly misrepresented area on an applicant’s resume at 55 percent. Make sure that you are experienced with the duties, responsibilities and skills that you describe on your resume. If your previous job required minimal time working with Excel, do not lead potential employers to believe that you have extensive experience with it (especially if it’s a job requirement). Promote yourself by highlighting the areas that you excel in that are also applicable to the job that you are applying for.
Education: An obvious lie would be to include an Ivy League education on your resume when you actually attended classes at your local community college; however, that is not the only lie about education that employers come across. Did you attend classes at a university but did not graduate with your degree? The distinction between attending classes and actually graduating should be made to avoid misrepresenting your level of education. Promote yourself and your education by listing the education that you completed whether it was continuing education for your career or your college degree.
Employment Dates: Shifting dates around on a resume may be enticing if you have an employment gap but can be detrimental if a hiring manager does some quick fact checking. Instead of hiding gaps in employment, explain them in your cover letter and describe how the break was the right choice at the time but that you are ready to reenter the workforce.