Can you name an event in your life, career or education that you could hide and remain undiscovered if someone looked hard enough? Chances are you can’t or if you think you can, you’re just kidding yourself. There’s always a paper trail, a time-line, an Internet search, or someone who was with you that can pull the curtain back. So why do some people fabricate information on their resume? Several reasons:
- They believe they’re smarter than everyone else
- They think that companies or bosses are lazy and won’t dig too deep
- They believe they can finesse answers around any issue during an interview
You need to remember: The higher you go in an organization, or the more sensitive the information you would be handling, the greater the scrutiny of your background, references, associates, friends and family. A lot of politicians and executives have been brought down by “hidden” revelations they tried to hide.
Can you put on your resume that you graduated from Gladstone University in 2002, when it was really 1999? No. Can you fudge on your major? No. It’s all too easily checked. Can you put the same information on your resume without the date of graduation? Yes. But be prepared for the question of why it was left off. Just don’t put that you graduated if you didn’t.
What about the time you didn’t have a job? Can that hurt your resume? It all depends on the reason why. Anything that is reasonable and can easily be understood by the hiring organization is likely to be acceptable. Here are some OK reasons:
- Your company was merged into another. You were given the option of staying or given a severance for 6 months. You decided to leave for a better opportunity.
- You were a contractor on a big project. The project ended and you’re looking for full-time work.
- A close family member was critically ill. There was no one else to take care of them. Now that you are free to pursue your career, you want to move back into the workforce.
Some not-OK reasons:
- You spent 6 months getting unemployment benefits due to the downturn. On your resume you cover up the 6 moths of unemployment as if you were still employed.
- You quit because the company was about to terminate you due to your performance. The resume says you quit because of “unethical practices” on the part of the company.
- You fudge information about your education, experience, title, military service, missing employment history, current or past compensation levels, or a host of other misinformation.
Most situations can be worked around or explained without fabricating information that is untrue. It’s just a matter of finding the right words and rationale. For situations where you have to lie, I can’t help you.
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