Excerpted from a Monster.com Blog by Dawn Papandrea
Finding a job is challenging enough, but when your competition is cheating with résumé lies, it can make standing out even tougher. But lies on a résumé won’t get you anywhere—except maybe in hot water.
According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, 66% of employers agreed that candidates exaggerate skills and competencies on their résumés. And in a survey of 400 applicants and 400 hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters, Checkster found a whopping 78% of applicants stretch the truth about themselves:
- 60% said they had mastery in skills they had basic knowledge of;
- 50% said they worked at some jobs longer in order to omit an employer;
- 45% gave a false reason for leaving a job;
- 42% made up relevant experiences;
- 41% used a director title when the actual title was a manager;
- 39% claimed they had a degree from a prestigious university instead of their own.
Whether you’re telling a little white lie or a blatant fabrication, getting caught could amount to career sabotage—especially since today’s technology and social media environments make it easier to get caught.
3 Most Common Lies
1. Education embellishments. People try to make more of a course or two they took than they should.
2. Date deception. Another common deceit is to cover up employment gaps by stretching dates for one or two jobs to cover a time gap.
3. Skill stretching. Many job candidates offer up a laundry list of technical proficiencies, but just because you used a program a few times doesn’t make you an expert. The same goes if you claim to be fluent in a language just because you took a year of it in high school.
How You Get Caught
It’s probably true that many job seekers do get away with a slight exaggeration here, an omission there, but eventually, misrepresentations can come back to bite you. Here are a few ways that lies on your résumé will get you red-flagged:
Skills assessments. Especially if you’re applying for a skilled position that involves writing, coding or designing, expect that an employer will test you before hiring you.
Social media research. If you have a social media profile and a website, you’d better make sure that dates and basic facts match up to the résumé. And, of course, there’s Google, so if there is some version of your résumé or work history online, make sure it’s in sync with what you hand a prospective employer.
Background checks. It’s very easy for a hiring manager to contact your former employers and educational institutions to verify what’s on your résumé. And even if employers somehow miss false information before an applicant is hired, the job seeker isn’t really off the hook. For instance, say your company goes through a merger and you have to go through a vetting process—those lies can end up haunting you.
Truth of the Matter
No job candidate is perfect, and if your résumé portrays perfection, that in and of itself might put an employer on high alert. Plus, employers don’t expect perfection. What they do expect is your résumé to represent the real you.
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