The Dangers of Lying on Your Resume

Almost everyone admits to it – adding that little white lie to your resume to make your case for that job just that little bit stronger. We tell ourselves it’s not lying – just embellishing. No-one will ever know. Think again!

In today’s market, technology affords employer’s greater access to your career information than ever before, and the threat and costs associated with bad hiring decisions are pushing employers to scrutinize candidates more closely than ever. In fact with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse claiming “approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of job applications and résumés include some false or inflated facts”, employers are now going to greater extremes than ever to catch candidates out. Career Directors International latest Career Sector Megatrends Report 2007 stated that employers are now using Google, FaceBook and other internet forums to dig up digital dirt on candidates. They also highlight credit checks, reference checks and even handwriting checks as common techniques to assess potential candidates. From this it’s clear that candidates today need to do more to ensure their career and online identity is squeaky clean. 

As a resume writer, I work to coach my clients that resume integrity is critical. Whilst a good resume will portray you in your best light, it’s never a good idea under any circumstances to lie. Not ever.A lie on a resume may get you to interview. But at what price? Today’s interviews are based on sophisticated behavioural interviewing techniques that demand a depth of detail not easily fudged. Nothing is more telling of a resume lie than a blank look as someone stumbles to put together feasible responses to what they wrote. Even if you manage to get through the interview – what then? Many employers now use professional pre-screening companies that are experts in hounding out resume lies and inaccuracies. As the internet has grown with sites offering access to a wealth of opportunities to buy mock degrees and fraudulent documentation, now we are seeing the backlash to this, as legal history is being made with individuals seeing the consequences both legally and financially for these actions.And of course, what if you do get the job? You’ve painted yourself as an expert in your field and now you are expected to deliver. Its highly likely that you’ll struggle to deliver performance at the levels they will expect and instead of having this great new job, you will have a failure leaving you rocked with poor morale and a terrible hole in your resume that you will now be again enticed to lie about to cover what happened. It’s a vicious circle and a place you don’t want to be.Instead consider the alternatives:

  •  Build yourself a resume that really sells you on your merits. A good resume writer will be able to structure your background to show achievements on any level.
  • Use your cover letter to address any gaps in experience you may have for the job through highlighting your transferable skills, and your capacity to adapt these skills to differing environments.
  •  Build passion into your resume for why you want the role, as employers will often be swayed by an individual’s energy and determination. More often than not, employers recognise that it is harder to find a person with the right qualities, than it is to teach job skills.

Finally build a career based on integrity. Let your achievements speak for themselves and have confidence in yourself. You’ll do brilliantly. I know it!

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