04 Feb Ask Dana: Is fibbing on my résumé okay?
Question: Is fibbing on my resume okay?
I’m in a job search support group, and some members are sharing how they “pad” their résumés by embellishing their job experiences, lying about their age, inventing scholarships and awards, and other examples. Is a certain level of this deemed acceptable in today’s employment market?
Answer from Dana:
Lying on or embellishing a résumé occurs in every industry, with candidates from entry level to senior executive. I believe there is an increase in “fibbing” on résumés because the job market is so highly competitive. On average, hiring managers receive 250 applications for every open position.
Ironically, it is now easier for companies to investigate and identify falsehoods and exaggerations due to the abundance of information available via the web and through access to third-party databases.
Let me be clear: Any misrepresentation can be grounds for repeal of an offer or termination of employment at a later point in time. I am NOT condoning “padding” a résumé.
However, there are ways to design your résumé so it does not readily disclose information up front, such as age and gaps in employment.
You only need to show about 10-15 years of work experience on your résumé, depending on how relevant the work was to the position you are applying to. Additionally, you do not need to put the dates of your education degrees.
Gaps in employment
What did you do during the gap time? Were you volunteering, even part time? Then add it as job experience rather than tuck it under “community work.” Did you raise children? Then put “head of household” and highlight the many skills you have that will be relevant to the position you are applying for, such as juggling multiple priorities, organizing projects, managing finances, etc.