Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Truth about Lying on your Resume

Whether you are currently looking for a job or not, unless you live under a rock you know the economy has taken its toll on the job market. It is very tough out there and very competitive. With the unemployment rate still above 9%, many job seekers are taking the approach that desperate times call for desperate measures.

A recent survey conducted by TalentWise, a background screening firm, asked 2,026 adults if they thought it was acceptable to embellish or lie on a resume. Of the adults they spoke to 45% of the adults aged 18-34 years old said it was okay, 27% of people 55 and older said they would embellish the truth on a resume and 34% of respondents overall said they found it okay to lie on a resume.

Truth be told, these numbers are probably lower than the actual facts. Several years ago, more than 60% of hiring managers told the Society for Human Resource Management they found untruths on applicant resumes. The most popular methods of embellishment are dates of employment, job titles and responsibilities, accomplishments and level of education.

Desperate job seekers may decide to do whatever it takes to get their resume noticed and get a job interview. However, before you consider stretching the truth – or even outright lying – on your resume, stop and consider the consequences. Here are some of the potential outcomes of this dishonest approach to job hunting:

• You may be discovered in the pre-screening phase. There are new tools being marketed to companies that enable them to do a preliminary background check of resumes submitted. You would then be “blacklisted” in their company hiring database.

• Your lie may not hold up under the pressure of the interview. Remember, the resume is just step one. Once your resume gets you noticed, you then have to go into the interview and support the resume with details. It is much easier to lie on paper than to someone’s face.

• You may be hired, only to be fired after it is discovered that you lied on your resume. This recently happened to a colleague of mine. They started a new job and inherited a problem employee. It was discovered that this employee left a job off their application and was let go for lying. Problem solved!

• You may not be discovered at all. However, do you really want to build a relationship based on a foundation of lies? Can you live with the knowledge that you got that job, not on your true qualifications, but based on a fantasy version of yourself?

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