Many of us have heard stories about individuals who were able to lie on their resumes without being caught. They built up their experience, added education they never pursued, and even manufactured certifications. As a result, they walked away with a great job. You could do something like that, couldn't you?
Or maybe you've heard that turning in a completely honest resume is for people who don't really want to work. You've altered your resume so many times that sometimes, you're not even sure what it says. You've only exaggerated a little here, fudged the truth a little there, and made yourself look more attractive to a potential employer. You can always pick up those extra skills on the job, right?
The reality, however, is that you should be as honest as possible on your job application and resume. You don't necessarily have to disclose everything unless you're asked, but keep in mind that if you make it past the application stage, potential employers are going to ask about the details, that big gap or those overlapping dates in your employment and educational history. Being honest up front is the best way to handle the situation.
Your Application is a Legal Document
Employers use your job application as the basis for a background check. Anything in your past that you don't want your employer to know about is likely to come up once the background check is performed--and most of today's employers will conduct the background check. From your arrest record to your driving record, it's all out there.
Lying Can Disqualify You from Employment
There are plenty of things that you'd rather not mention to a prospective employer. You might have worked at a job that you don't want to include on your resume. Perhaps it was very different from the field you're currently pursuing, it wasn't with a reputable firm, or you ended up with a bad reputation there that was nothing like your reputation with previous jobs, for example. You may have left your previous job under very bad circumstances. Blatantly lying about your history, however, will send up more red flags than simply being honest. An employer who is willing to work with someone who has learned from their past mistakes will be less willing to forgive dishonesty. After all, if you'll lie on your job application, what will you lie about once you're in the position?
Be Real About Your Experience
You know not to completely exaggerate your resume, which could quickly send up red flags that would disqualify you from the recruitment process. If you've been fudging the numbers a little, however, there are several ways this could come back to haunt you later.
- Employers may bring up those questions during your interview. If you've changed your resume several times or haven't looked at it in a while, you might not be able to remember the changes--and the lies will ultimately disqualify you from the job you want.
- Employers do fact check! This is particularly true about things like college degrees and certifications, which are very easy to check.
- You don't want to end up in over your head. If you spend your application and interview talking about how you've previously managed a project crew of 100, your new employer won't hesitate to give you the same responsibility now--when 100 is really very different from the 50-member crew you’ve actually managed. Be honest with your employer about your past experiences so that they will be able to support you in your transition to the new job.
Be Honest About Salary
No, you haven't been making what you're worth at your most current job--or the one before it. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that you should lie about your past salary to increase the amount you think you'll be offered at your new job.
When asked for the compensation you'd like or that you expect, be honest about what you need--and be prepared to break it down! Be honest about the salary that you're willing to accept, too. Please don't put out a low number just to get hired, only to leave a company as soon as someone else makes you a better offer.
The saying goes that honesty is always the best policy--and despite the prevalence of stories to the contrary, that remains true for your resume and job application, as well. If you need help creating the ideal resume or finding the right job for you, contact Brannon Professionals to learn how we can help.