Posted by Robert Half on Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 06:00 | Follow me
As a savvy job seeker, you may know the importance of effective resume writing, but do you know when it’s OK to fudge the truth a bit? The simple answer: Never.
Your resume is like a first handshake with a prospective employer. If you bend the truth, you can forget being asked in for an interview. If your embellishment slips by and you get hired, the foundation of your new career is based on a lie. Odds are you will be found out.
Here are four fibs to avoid along with some advice for honest, effective resume writing:
1. Lying about why you left a previous job
Getting fired may be a royal embarrassment, but don’t lie about it. Employers know that people are sometimes let go for reasons other than performance, such as not meshing with the corporate culture or having a boss that just didn’t like you. However, if you lie about it and your new boss discovers your deception, he or she may begin to question your honesty and integrity. It could lead to speculation about what led to your termination from your previous firm, and open a Pandora’s box.
2. Exaggerating your skills
Some job applicants try to catch a hiring manager’s eye by padding their resumes with skills that look impressive, but could never pass muster at work. Say you’re applying for a firm that uses Microsoft Dynamics, and you list proficiency in that, but just to make yourself look better you add Oracle expertise. Who’ll ever know? Everyone will, in the event the office transitions to Oracle and you’re asked to help with the training initiative. When your manager discovers you adorned your software skills, it will make him or her question the rest of your purported skills.
3. Taking credit you didn’t earn
Claiming you spearheaded successful projects in past jobs is another way to get into hot water. You may think no one will find out, until you’re asked to lead a major initiative and it’s clear you know little about project management. Then, you not only appear dishonest, but your boss realizes that you have a penchant for taking credit belonging to others.
4. Providing a false address
It can be tempting to invent a local address to increase your odds of getting called in for an interview for a job in a distant city. But if an employer wants to schedule a meeting on short notice, you’ll be hard-pressed to get there. Your resume is going to be full of clues about where you reside, including your current employer’s location. The bottom line: the truth is bound to come out, and when your boss finds out you pulled the wool over his or her eyes, the situation will be awkward. At the very least, you can probably forget about being considered for leadership roles or promotions, as integrity is considered a key leadership trait.
If you’re keen on writing fiction, take a creative writing course! But when it comes to providing a summary of your work history and professional accomplishments, you don’t want a prospective employer to doubt your character, or, if he hires you, to turn around and fire you because you embellished your resume. Avoid having these errors in judgment come back to haunt you, or prevent you from getting the job in the first place, by practicing honest and effective resume writing.
Do you have tips for effective resume writing? Share them in the comments section.