Scott Thompson resigned from his role as CEO of Yahoo after four months on the job. Marilee Jones resigned from her ten-year role as Dean of Admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ex-CEO David Edmondson departed from RadioShack after one year.
What ended it for all of these big names?
Résumé fraud is when you falsify information on your résumé to appear as a more qualified or desirable candidate. This includes embellishments, as well as omissions. When you are desperate to find a job or to leave your current one, you may feel tempted to write in an extra credential or to say you are currently employed when you are not and have not been for a period of time, i.e. more than 30-90 days. However, any amount of résumé fraud can have terrible consequences for your application and even your career.
Committing résumé fraud shows hiring managers that you are not trustworthy and are potentially unfit for the job. If you are willing to lie on your résumé, what else are you willing to lie about? If your professional background is not what you claim it to be, then are you truly able to perform the tasks in the job description? If your résumé fraud is discovered, it can result in rejection, termination, and loss of professional connections. Such damage to your professional brand can severely deter your career aspirations and opportunities.
In today’s world of quick information, spotting résumé fraud is easier than ever. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 3 in 4 Human Resources Managers report having caught a lie on a résumé. You should expect that the organization you are applying to will verify your references, certifications, licenses, and your attendance of educational institutions, in addition to conducting civil and criminal background checks and/or skill aptitude tests. Even if your résumé fraud is not caught during pre-employment screening, you still risk being caught and fired months or years after you have been hired. If your lack of qualifications leads you to underperform, you risk being caught even sooner.
When writing a résumé, honesty is the best policy. Here are the 3 most common types of résumé fraud and how to avoid them.
What it is: By using vague language or inaccurate terms to describe your skills, you sell yourself as being more qualified than you are.
How to avoid it: Use specifics to describe your proficiency in a language, software, process, or other learned skill. For example, if you excel at conversational Spanish inside a classroom, but sometimes struggle to carry a conversation with strangers, state your level of proficiency as “beginner conversational Spanish.”
If you have never taken a course in HTML, but learned and used it extensively as part of an internship, state your level of proficiency as “working knowledge with HTML.”
HIDING EMPLOYMENT GAPS
What it is: Extending employment dates to cover gaps in employment or lying about current employment status.
How to avoid it: Correctly list employment dates and explain any employment gaps in the interview process. You might want to consult with a career coach or HR Professional that can give you advice on how to discuss this in an interview. The point of this explanation is to show the hiring manager that you are honest about your employment history and that any gaps in your employment do not reflect negatively on your ability to perform the job. Be sure to highlight any new certifications or skills you attained during your time of unemployment. Explain how any obstacles you overcame have made you better prepared for a new position. You may include some personal details, but avoid crossing the line of professionalism.
What it is: Listing a school that you did not attend or a degree that you did not earn.
How to avoid it: Use accurate phrasing and dates when listing educational achievements and institutions.
For example, coursework completed toward a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance should be listed as: “Completed college coursework toward a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.”
If you have completed this degree, you should list it as: “Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.”
If you have taken courses outside of a degree for professional development, you should list each course separately under the subheading “PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT” or a similar title.
While your résumé is only one piece of the application process, it is the first stepping stone to potential job opportunities. Therefore, it is essential that your résumé leave a good impression and provide an accurate representation of your background and skills. Don’t put your career or reputation at risk!
Do you need help taking your résumé and career to the next level?
We offer Professional Résumé Writing services for existing résumés or résumés that need to be developed from scratch. Whether you are in transition or ready to make a change, let us partner with you to take the next step in your career!
Anand, Priya. September 20, 2014. MARKETWATCH. 5 big-shots who lied on their resumes. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-big-shots-who-lied-on-their-resumes-2014-09-18
Bourne, Marc. February 22, 2017. BUSINESS.COM. Who Are You Hiring? The Shocking Cost of Résumé Fraud. https://www.business.com/articles/the-shocking-cost-of-resume-fraud/
INDEED. 2018. How to List Education on a Resume. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/how-to-list-education-on-a-resume
Miller, Bridget. April 6, 2018. HR DAILY ADVISOR. What is Résumé Fraud?. https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/04/06/what-is-resume-fraud/
Nikravan Hayes, Ladan. September 14, 2017. CAREERBUILDER. Is it OK to lie on a resume?
Salpeter, Miriam. MONSTER. The biggest resume lies to avoid. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/the-truth-about-resume-lies-hot-jobs