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.