Stretching the Truth: How Far Is Too Far?

Published Thursday, November 18, 2010 2:40 PM

We all know honesty is the best policy so how come white lies and fibs keep popping up on resumes? Lately, the papers are full of stories about individuals ranging from Congressional candidates to medical researchers to the Notre Dame football coach who have lied about (or distorted) their credentials. What gives?

In a tough job market, people may be tempted to embellish their resumes to improve their chances of getting hired. But HR departments are on to this phenomenon. A survey found that nearly half of hiring managers surveyed reported catching candidates lying on their resumes. That's a lot of resumes hitting the trash can.

Ever been tempted to embellish your resume? You are clearly not alone.

Check out the top most common fibs popping up on resumes. They include:

  • Lying about a degree, education
  • Playing with dates to hide gaps in work or to appear younger/older
  • Exaggerating numbers (i.e. inflating sales figures, etc.)
  • Lying about salary
  • Inflating titles
  • Lying about technical ability (claiming versatility in certain software, etc.)
  • Lying about language fluency
  • Fake addresses
  • Padding GPAs

Catching a job candidate in a resume lie or exaggeration is a red-flag for hiring managers. Outright lies and even distortions can sabotage not only your chances of getting the job to which you are currently applying but other jobs down the road. If headhunters find out you're untrustworthy, they won't come knocking on your door again. Professional circles can be small; don't tarnish your reputation.

Honesty is always the best policy.

Have you ever seen a white lie or a whopper on a resume you've been given? How does your company conduct background checks on prospective employees? Post your thoughts here or at the Beyond Folders Facebook page.

by Candie Harris


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# AdminLori said on Thursday, November 18, 2010 9:42 PM

I am pleased to say my resume is 100% true. I have had people encourage me to embellish skills or experience, but I like being able to tell potential employers that it is all true - every word. As an Executive Assistant, the people I work with have to be able to trust me. It doesn't say a whole lot about my character if I can't even be honest on my resume.

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