Stretching the Truth....How Far Is Too Far?

Many people “embellish” their resumes, but some make an art of it

It's tempting, all too tempting. We're talking about those little white lies that everyone seems to tell in creating a resume. In reality, the Society for Human Resource Management reports that more than 50% of HR professionals find inconsistencies in the information that is stated in resumes.

Sure, some of it could just be typos or oversights. For instance, you might say in one place in the resume that you spent five years with a particular company...yet, the dates that you list for employment with that company only cover four years. Hmmm.

The most common embellishments that appear on resumes are:

Job titles that have been over-exaggerated.

Dates of employment that have been fudged in order to hide gaps in employment or the appearance of moving from one job to another too often.

Educational degrees listed as completed but are actually not.

Salaries that have been listed in the resume as higher than they actually are.

Pumped-up accomplishments with regard to current or previous jobs.

Now lets take a closer at each of the above and explore what might be considered acceptable and what is not:

You could add an adjective or two to your job title, especially when you consider that different companies have different titles, often for the same job. Example: your company might call you an Advertising Specialist when you're actually performing the work of Advertising Coordinator.

You cannot change dates. They are what they are, and previous employers keep records of them.

The same holds true for educational degrees. Your prospective employer will check them out with the academic institutions listed, and if your statements are not accurate there will be a problem. Inflating a salary is an easy trap to fall into because one of the main reasons for seeking a new job is to receive more money. Problem is, previous employers also keep careful records of salaries.

And that leaves us with accomplishments. Here, you do have significant room to be somewhat creative. Naturally, you don't want to outright make up a feat of heroic on-the-job, proportions however it is important to quantify your accomplishments,& such as quadrupling the companys profits all by yourself. But, you could say that you were instrumental in enhancing the companys growth fourfold.