In this day and age, who in their right mind would even consider lying on their resume?Â And this would include embellishing or exaggerating what you have done or accomplished?
This society, this work environment is more transparent than ever before.Â You cannot lie about degrees, schools, job titles, accomplishments and whatever else.Â You will be found out.Â And if hired based those lies, you will also lose your job and your reputation.
Some of the lies I have seen or read on the internet of late:
- During an interview, an applicant touted a book she wrote, only to have the interviewer pull out the original manuscript.Â The interviewer was the true author â€“ thatâ€™s awkward.Â She did not get the job.
- An applicant claimed to speak fluent Spanish, and so the interview was conducted in Spanish.Â It was a short interview.Â On personal note, an upcoming, hard charger wanted to work in China and claimed he was fluent in Mandarin Chinese.Â My boss, who ran Asia, was a Malaysian Chinese who was also fluent in Mandarin Chinese.Â Again, that interview did not last long.Â Â More to the point, that young man damaged his reputation in the International Division.
- An individual claimed to have generate $1,000,000 in sales except he never worked in sales.
- An applicant claimed her last company paid per an annual salary of $400,000.Â She made much, much less.Â When confronted, she claimed most was paid under the table.
- And then there are the countless examples of phony dates, job titles, degrees, etc.
I am not career guru, nor a former VP of Human Resources with 99 years of experience.Â I am just Joe Schmuck thinking none of this necessary.Â You would think that it is commonsense not to lie on a resume.Â Â But evidently it is not for some people.
More than outright lies, I think most are probably more susceptible to embellishing a little here to make sound a touch better or fudge here to make it sound not so bad.Â But I have learned that bad news or uncomfortable circumstances are not like fine wines, they do not improve with age.Â Fudging now to get hired or get an interview will not make it any easier once you accomplish that task.
Some suggestions for awkward circumstances:
- Long gaps in employment:Â Good grief, please do not use a chronological resume.Â Being truthful on a resume does not mean shooting yourself in the foot.Â Use a resume format that highlights your skills and accomplishments.Â List the major positions you have held, not every single job title.
- Accomplishments not impressive:Â With regard to what?Â Not everybody can generate $1,000,000 in sales, but what is the big deal if that big number came with a gross profit margin of 12%.Â After all the operating expenses, the resultant EBITDA could be pathetic.Â So, you generated $100,000 sales with real revenue of $25,000.Â Most employers understand relativity (not Einsteinâ€™s but to what you were doing).Â Be factual, be specific and you will be fine.
- No college degree:Â It is what it is.Â Do not graduate yourself from the favorite school you wish you had gone to.Â Just do not!Â Again, use a resume format that plays to your strengths â€“ your life experience and the skills you have developed.
- Fired:Â What is the biggie here?Â There is no reason to include this little nugget of information anywhere on your resume or cover letter.Â So, there is no need to embellish anything.
- Past Earnings:Â I have no idea why people would want to exaggerate past earnings.Â If you make $4.23/hour shoveling horse manure in Kentucky, that is what you made.Â You falsely claim you made $250,000 in sales commission and they hire you base on that â€“ guess what â€“ they will expect the same.Â Then what are you going to do?
There are other awkward situations.Â My point was not to give my two cents on every possible scenario.Â I just would not want anyone to jeopardize a great chance of landing a job by thinking, â€œno oneâ€™s going know if I do thisâ€¦â€Â Yes they will know.Â Do not do it.