If you’re tempted to fib on your resume to get ahead of the candidate pool, think again! According to CareerBuilder, more than half of hiring managers have discovered a lie on a resume. All it takes is one question to call out a lie. And you don’t have to tell a whopper—like winning a Nobel Prize or attending a college that doesn’t exist—to ruin your reputation.
The five most common resume lies:
- Skills. If you don’t have a required job skill your resume said you did, your employer is going to find out really quickly, and they’ll label you as untrustworthy. Being up front about what you know and what you need to work on shows employers that you’re in tune with yourself and with reality.
- Responsibilities. Don’t say you managed a project or team when you didn’t; instead share great examples of the responsibilities you did have, including how you supported other projects and teams.
- Employment dates. This is a quantifiable fact that most past employers will verify regardless of their reference policy. (Translation: It’s super easy to get caught lying about employment dates.) You can always explain work gaps on a resume, and a resume with work gaps will fly better than a resume full of lies.
- Job titles. This is another point that most past employers will verify, so why risk a lie? Your work worth isn’t defined by your job title, it’s defined by your performance and achievements, especially because job titles vary across organizations.
- Education. Instead of making up or embellishing your degree, be honest and make a case for why your education and experience match the position you’re applying for. If you’re still in school, list the degree you’re pursuing and your expected graduation date.
Despite the obvious, there are plenty of reasons not to lie on your resume; chiefly, you don’t have to lie to get the job you want. If you’re not an exact match on paper, you can use your cover letter (and then hopefully your interview) to explain why you’ll be a good fit. Most hiring managers will consider solid candidates who don’t hit every skill mark. Plus, soft skills, including passion and motivation, will transfer across all fields, and they speak better of your character than some trumped-up bullet points. You want to be hired for the uniquely wonderful worker that is YOU!