Why You Should Never Lie On Your Resume – Part Two
Last time, we looked at why it’s important to never lie on your resume. Here, we’ll give some compelling reasons and some specific instances where it’s never a good idea, and why honesty really is the best policy.
Seriously, if nothing else, the sheer embarrassment of being found should be enough to deter people from lying on a resume. As we said last time, if an employer discovered a lie on your resume, it’s pretty much an instant black mark. But if you managed to get hired and then found out, you will likely be fired – and with the kind of references that could stop you from getting another role. People are rarely forgiving about lies on resumes – as Thomas O’Riordan found out in 2013 when the 51-year-old barrister was exposed for having invented a glittering resume, none of which was real. He was forced to quit in disgrace. Even if your boss gives you another chance, are they going to trust you in the future? Chances are, they never will.
Lying on a resume isn’t just about the big stuff. Some people think a little exaggeration here and there won’t hurt. A recent survey found 54 per cent of employers have seen candidates lie about responsibilities they’ve had in previous positions. It may be tempting to change your job description to say you managed a project you just helped out with but don’t. During your interview, employers will ask questions that will require you to talk about your role and experience. How you answer will reveal whether or not you really know what you’re talking about, or you fabricated a few things. By all means, emphasise the responsibility you did have, like how you supported the team or ensured deadlines were met. Tell a story about a time when you were challenged to make a quick decision and what the outcome was.
Another of the reasons applicants are tempted to lie on their resume is to falsely match their skills to those required of the position they are applying for. Though you might not have all the skills the position calls for, this is not an area you want to embellish. It’s easy to think, ‘I’ll pick it up as I go,’ but if employers find out you don’t have the capabilities you say you do; you’ll flag red as dishonest. Just be honest about your skills and the areas in which you still need to grow. An employer would much sooner hire a candidate who knows him or herself realistically. In fact, most employers would still consider candidates who only fit three of five key qualifications for a job.
Rather than lie on your resume, you could do some work to create a resume that both accurately reflects your true professional self, and still positions you positively for the role you are targeting. Take the time to thoroughly research the company, by looking at their website, reading through the job description and finding out more about the employees that already work there.
Use this information to figure out the most relevant skills or qualifications you possess, and emphasise these as much as possible in your resume. Make sure that you position relevant expertise at the top of your application, to catch the attention of the employer and boost your chances of being invited to an interview.
Also – and only if relevant – bring your hobbies and interests into the mix. Find ways to relate them to the company culture in order to show you are an ideal fit for the business. Make sure these come immediately after your qualifications and experience on your resume, and also include them in your cover letter, so the employer can see how your interests are relevant to the role.
Ultimately, it’s not just your title, qualifications and skills that win the interview. It’s the persuasive argument that you – and only you – can carry out the responsibilities of the position. Essentially, there is absolutely no valid reason to lie on your resume. Select Resumes have successfully helped hundreds of candidates through to their interview, simply by creating powerful, convincing documents that highlight you in ways you have never imagined – and we reflect you truthfully and honestly.