Ideally, a job seeker’s resume should be a comprehensive, accurate account of that person’s skills, education, and work experience. However, it appears people are increasingly being tempted to fudge key resume details or concoct outright fabrications to embellish their personal stories. Some experts put the instance of inaccuracies on executive’s resumes at upwards of 20%, while the FBI is on record stating that approximately 500,000 Americans claim college degrees they have not earned. A recent high-profile technology company CEO was abruptly terminated for the transgression of lying on his resume. Here are some examples of resume falsehoods that are under increasing scrutiny from employers:
Job seekers often lie about the level of education they have attained, perhaps stretching a Bachelor’s degree into a Master’s, or even claiming a college degree where none exists. While it is possible a prospective employer will not verify the accuracy of educational achievements, it is extremely risky to make that assumption. Another common example of educational truth stretching is dressing up one’s grade point average, or claiming honors (Dean’s List, etc.) that the individual didn’t achieve.
There is often a fine line between putting oneself in the most favorable light and fudging past achievements. Certainly, the job seeker should be willing to market themselves aggressively via their resume, but falsifying skills and experience levels can come back to haunt an individual if they wind up getting hired and can’t deliver against the job requirements. The unethical job seeker may win in the short term by getting hired, but ultimately their long-term employment marketability will be diminished if they’re terminated quickly for poor performance.
Lying about compensation at previous jobs is also common among job seekers. People are tempted to embellish previous salaries in the hope that the inflated numbers will provide them with leverage when negotiating pay levels with their prospective employers. However, an increasing number of employers are now requiring that job seekers back up their salary history claims by providing W-2 copies.
Duties and Achievements
Don’t write about your duties, mention achievements. Achievements are individual accomplishments that stand out and tell your future employer about your skills. Duties, on the other hand, merely rehash day-to-day minutiae; all the low-level activities that every person holding a similar job title deals with every day. To give an example: If you are a sales professional with a $5,000 per month quota, reaching that quota is your duty. Reaching $10,000 a month is an achievement and represents the kind of information that makes a difference.
Some unscrupulous job seekers try and claim professional licenses they have not attained, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), nursing board certification, and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). There are also a myriad of certifications for special skills within disciplines that are erroneously claimed by unethical job seekers. The bad news for these dishonest applicants is it’s relatively easy for employers to check with the accrediting agencies to ensure the veracity of their claims.
Your value lies not in status or title, but in the roots of your character and depth of your compassion.”
Avoiding the temptation to take liberties with a professional resume is clearly in the best long-term interests of the job seeker. Today’s employers are doing much more due diligence on applicants by verifying resume information data. Taking the high road and maintaining your personal integrity is more important than attempting to exploit a short-term employment opportunity.
A well-written resume is important for any job seeker. Too many people think that for example senior citizens are not able to contribute to the economy just as much as anyone else. The truth of the matter is that there are now more seniors on the job hunt than there ever has been. Considering this, those who do fall in this age group are going to want to learn how to write a resume for the modern economy jobs they seek.