Yes, the job market is competitive – highly competitive! On average, hiring managers receive 250 applications per open position. Unfortunately that means that candidates of all ages and backgrounds seem to feel the need to exaggerate, embellish, or even lie on their résumés. It’s a losing proposition so if you are thinking about it, forget it! And if you have “little white lies” on your résumé or LinkedIn profile, delete them right now.
Why is lying or embellishing riskier now than it has been in the past?
- It’s easier for recruiters, human resources (HR), or hiring managers to find out! Companies have access to more information about you and more databases with which to compare the data you are providing. My son, Chad, just got a job offer and after the offer was made, the company asked for copies of his W-2 forms for the last 6 years.
- Contradictions between your LinkedIn profile and your résumé raise red flags. They WILL be noticed.
- There are so many candidates applying to each job that recruiters and companies are looking for reasons NOT to hire as much as reasons to hire.
What bad things can happen?
- You can be black-listed within a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) or candidate data-base.
- HR managers and hiring leaders compare notes within a local community. Recently, I overheard two HR managers, Cindy and Tom, talking about their challenges in finding a sales manager for their respective companies. Tom mentioned that he was considering an applicant from Cindy’s company, Ryan. “Wow, I didn’t know Ryan landed the GE account for you last year and that he had a team of 20 on his sales force.” Tom said. Cindy was shocked and replied, “He didn’t.” You know the rest of the story.
- Your offer can be repealed. There are many stories of companies pulling back offers after they have done their due diligence, which often follows the offer stage. The slightest exaggeration or embellishment will trigger the repeal. There is zero tolerance for errors, even if it is accidental. Dates of employment, titles, everything is exposed. A recent “mistake” a job-seeker, Susan, told me about. Susan applied to a medium-sized business in Seattle. She lost the offer because she put “Microsoft” as the employer on her résumé. Susan was not an employee; she was a contractor to Microsoft. Busted!
There ARE ways to tailor a résumé to cover gaps
- If you have gaps in employment, did you volunteer? If so, put that down as if it was a job, drawing out the skills that are relevant to the job you are seeking.
- If you have been a stay-at-home parent, put that down, too. You can give yourself a title such as “Head of Household” or “CEO of the Miller Household” and be sure to highlight the amazing skills you have, too.
- Add more metrics within the jobs you have done, showing that you set targets, meet goals, and understand the importance of accountability.
Exaggeration, embellishment, or outright lying will not help your chances to “win” a job in today’s competitive world.
My father taught me “if you cheat, you are cheating yourself.” There are only bad things that can happen. It’s not worth it!
What ideas have you seen or used to enhance a resume? I’d like to hear from you! Comment below.