There are little white lies that can cause embarrassment when uncovered, and there are whoppers that can get you fired. My view? Never lie! Always tell the truth. However, there usually are 3 or 4 different ways to convey the same information from a different perspective, all of which is the truth. Figure out how to tell the truth in the most positive way, while neutralizing the downside.
There are flat out dumb lies and other more subtle misinformation. A dumb lie is one that is easily disproved, like bloated salary/incentive information, false dates of employment, unearned college degrees, or hiding a criminal record. These lies are easily found out by a phone call or a request for verification. The worst-case scenario is to be hired based on your false information, which is subsequently found out, and your employment is terminated “for cause”. The “for cause” label means you receive no separation pay and you’re out the door within the hour, usually under escort. Bosses don’t like to be lied to. Would you consciously hire a dishonest employee if your results are dependent upon their performance and veracity?
Subtle misinformation is less clear. You might fudge about your major in college, so instead of accounting being your major, it’s a minor. Your major might have been history. Another fudge is a gap in employment dates where you previously took another job for 3 months, it didn’t work out, but you glossed over the time-line on your resume. These kinds of errors can be overlooked by some employers, while others can forgive these missteps if you come clean early in the hiring/employment process. But not all bosses are tolerant.
Some interesting information from a 2018 survey from Career Builders & GoBankingRates:
- 5 times as many Millennials are more likely to lie than boomers
- 75% of hiring managers have caught outright lies on resumes
- The most liars by function? Financial-services employees (73%), leisure and hospitality employees (71%), and information technology and health care (63%).
- Older employees are the least likely to lie on their resumes
- One audit of resumes from current employees found 50 people who lied about their educational degrees, including a vice-president. All were fired.
- Proof read your resume at least 3 times to make sure its accurate and powerful
- Have an experienced third party proofread your resume, with feedback
- Let your results speak for themselves. Your value is partly measured in performance, loyalty and honesty. Demonstrate that you fit the model.
- If you over-inflate your resume and get a job for which you are not ready, if will show up very quickly, and not in your favor
Honesty and integrity have to be earned. If you don’t know the difference between what’s the right or wrong thing to do, eventually your past will catch up with you.
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