Can you Fudge the Truth on a Resume?

Can you Fudge the Truth on a Resume?

20 May, 2015

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
– Groucho Marx

The desire to stretch the truth on your resume is understandable. The job market can be tough, and embellishing something can be such an easy way to get a leg up. What’s the worst that could happen?

Ask former Wal-Mart chief spokesperson David Tovar, who was terminated in 2014 after 8 years with the company, after lying about having obtained a university degree.

In Tovar’s case, lying cost him his career. However, nearly everyone would agree that outright lying about your qualifications on your resume is a terrible idea. But what about fudging things just a little bit? Is that different from outright lying? To what degree can you hide the truth on a resume?

Unfortunately for those hoping for a loophole, fudging facts on a resume is lying, plain and simple. Honesty goes to the very heart of the employer/employee relationship. Embellishing details on a resume breaches that covenant. Even if you get away with it initially, the foundation of the relationship will be tainted, and you risk catastrophic consequences when you are found out, even years later as Mr. Tovar learned.

More likely than being fired/disciplined/embarrassed, though, you just won’t get the job in the first place, because human resources will find out during the application stage. Then, you will go on applying for other jobs, not getting them either. HR today is a sophisticated field, and employers are more vigilant than ever about conducting background checks. What’s more, resume details are usually easy to verify. Inflating your previous salary, fudging job dates, or misstating your last job title are exactly the sorts of things that HR is used to checking up on. Chances are that you will get caught.

A successful resume highlights your qualifications in the best possible light, but doesn’t misrepresent them. While having a template is good, you should tailor your resume to the position being applied to. Don’t be afraid to borrow good ideas from other people’s resumes, and to emulate the style of the employer you are applying to. Take advantage of the great advice that is available online on how to draft an attention-grabbing resume. Another smart tip to optimize your resume is to speak with a professional, like a ZSA recruitment consultant.

When you consider the serious damage to your relationship and your reputation that misleading your employer can do, the stress of living a lie, and the high likelihood of being caught, trying to fudge the truth on your resume is just not worth it. You will be much better off being honest, optimizing your resume for the jobs you are applying to, improving your qualifications, and framing everything in the most desirable way.

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