Resumes Are Legal Documents; Don’t Pad Your Information

It’s becoming harder and harder for job seekers to stand out among other job applicants when applying for jobs. With hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes being sent to companies for one particular job, you’ve got to make your resume stand out above the rest. Unfortunately, many job applicants are doing this by lying on their resumes. That’s a no-no and can cost you the job.

You MUST keep in mind two things when writing your resume: A resume is a legal document and companies can (and usually do) verify your information.

Resumes are legal documents which means that all the information on your resume should be factual and true. If something is found on your resume to be not true or misleading, the company who hired you can fire you.

Secondly, companies will verify your information. If employment dates, position titles, certifications, degrees, and other information are found to be false, you may be terminated.

So, why are job applicants lying on their resumes? It’s obviously to impress the hiring manager and to get the job. However, at any point in time, if the company finds out you falsified information on your resume or job application, you can be terminated. The most common areas where job applicants falsify information is:

Education: Padding information about a degree that you did not receive or even a high school diploma is one of the top misleading areas on a resume. Inflating your GPA is also cause for termination.

Certifications: Likewise, if you claim a certification that you don’t have, it’s a lie. You should only list a certification if you’ve taken the course and passed the exam. If you did not pass the exam, you are not certified.

Proficiencies and Skills: Maybe you learned Spanish in the 8th grade and can speak it a little bit. But are you proficient at it? Can you help a company be interpreting what a Spanish-speaking client is saying? If not, don’t list it because you are not proficient at it. The same is true for a software program. If the company is looking for someone with experience in Excel to create spreadsheets, don’t list this skill unless you are proficient at it. If you lie about your proficiency levels, it is just-cause for termination.

Employment Dates: This is a simple item to easily verify. One call to your former employer is all it takes. If your employment dates are exaggerated to cover up a gap in your resume or to increase longevity with a company, you’ll be found out quickly and out the door.

Job Responsibilities: Whatever your previous job was, don’t elevate your resume by exaggerating your job responsibilities and adding higher level tasks such as supervisory experience, managing 12 people instead of three (3), or staff training when you actually provided some guidance to co-workers. All of your duties can be verified by speaking with your previous boss.

Quantitative Results: Hiring managers like to see quantitative results on resumes and it’s the quickest way to impress a hiring manager. However, all your information can be verified by your former employer. If you inflate your results, it sends a red flag to a hiring manager who may not hire you.

It’s always best to write a resume truthfully and in good faith for the position you are applying to. Think about your skills, knowledge, and accomplishments that will be relevant for the position you’re interested in and list that information. A true resume makes you look good and is what hiring mangers want to see.

professional resumes, business resumes, targeted resumes

Do You Really Need a Professional Resume?

professional resumes, business resumes, targeted resumesYes.

There are two main reasons why you should have a professional resume. First, a neat, attractive, resume is the first impression that you will give a hiring manager or recruiter. Secondly, there’s the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which your resume will need to pass in order to get an interview. Let’s look at these two reasons more closely:

1. First Impressions always count whether it’s in person or on paper. A resume is how you market yourself for every job that you apply to, so it’s important to be attractive on paper. Unfortunately, many resumes that are poorly written and not appealing to read are put aside and may never be looked at again even though the candidate may be qualified for the position. You always want to present yourself at your best by submitting a professional resume.

You also have to keep in mind that most hiring managers and recruiters will only scan your resume for an average of 8 – 15 seconds. So, if your resume is not properly formatted or has typos, chances are your resume will be put aside.  A professional resume will have  a consistent format, be grammatically correct, and list your key skills, accomplishments, and abilities right upfront where a hiring manager can easily find them. If a hiring manager has to search your resume to find your skills and accomplishments, chances are they don’t have the time to do that and your resume may not get a second look.  And that leads us to the second reason you need a professional resume:

2. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was created to help hiring managers scan resumes for qualified candidates. There are numerous systems on the market and none of them are standard. It’s estimated that more than 70% of American companies now have an ATS system to find qualified candidates.

The ATS system works by scanning resumes into a machine similar to a copy machine, and scanning the resume for key words and phrases. The company will tell the system what key words and phrases to look for and if they’re not on your resume, you’ll be rejected. This system saves companies time and money in finding qualified candidates. However, the system is not perfect and resume writers have to create a resume that will pass these systems.

Some of the issues that ATS systems have is that they will jumble up resumes that have fancy fonts, colors, tables, sidebars, graphics, and other formatting features. Once a resume is jumbled up, it gets rejected. The best resumes to pass these systems are simple yet attractive resumes.

The bottom line is that since you don’t know if a human will actually read your resume or if it will be scanned by an ATS system, you will need a resume that works for both.

At Upper Crust, our professional resume writers will create a resume that will give a great first impression as well as being accepted by humans or machines.


woman writing, woman writing a cover letter, cover letter writing,

4 Reasons Why Cover Letters are Necessary

woman writing, woman writing a cover letter, cover letter writing,Are you debating whether or not to send a cover letter with your resume? Many job seekers find it difficult to create a cover letter and don’t want to be bothered writing one. The truth is that cover letters are still essential with your resume when applying for a job. Here are the reasons why:

1. It Can Impress the Hiring Manager: This is obviously the main reason why you want to create a cover letter. It’s your chance to add something that is not on the resume or emphasize something that is on the resume to impress the hiring manager. For instance if you’ve been out of the workforce for several years due to raising a family or medically caring for a family member, it’s your chance to simply explain that. You can also indicate that you’ve been enrolled in training courses to keep up-to-date on your skills or you did volunteer work relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’re a college graduate, you can emphasize a project that you accomplished indicating your skills and results. You can also reference that you’ll be enrolling in an upcoming degree program or certification.

2. It’s Less Formal than a Resume:  Cover letters are written in first-person where you can connect with the hiring manager in a friendly tone. A cover letter serves as an introduction of yourself to the hiring manager and allows you to tell a story about yourself to gain interest. You can tell the hiring manager what it is you are passionate about in your career as long as it relates to the prospective position. For instance, if you enjoy leading projects because of the challenge and variety of assignments, you can mention this, cite a specific project,  and explain how your leadership skills will contribute to the overall success of the business.

3. Write a Targeted Cover Letter:  A well-written cover letter will specifically emphasize skills and accomplishments that relate to the position you’re applying to. If the hiring company is looking for someone with leadership skills then you can specifically indicate these skills or a situation where you successfully utilized those skills. Creating a targeted cover letter as well as a targeted resume will earn you points.

4. Most Hiring Managers Expect a Cover Letter:  Even if the job ad that you’re applying to doesn’t require a cover letter, it’s best to send one. Hiring mangers will read a cover letter to get a sense of who you are. Job applicants who do not send a cover letter are many times considered to be less motivated for the job. An applicant who sends a cover letter expressing interest in the position and states why they are qualified for the position are more likely to get an interview.

For these reasons, taking the time to write a professional cover letter is recommended. The only time a cover letter is not needed is if you’re applying to a job ad online and there’s no place to attach or write a cover letter.