Applying for jobs is a delicate dance. You want to the employer to be wowed by your accomplishments, but in many cases your accomplishments are slim. No two jobs require you to do the same type of work, yet you need to convince the employer that you are going to fit like a glove.
To accomplish this, most people simply bend the truth. “I spent one day creating a PowerPoint project for my boss” becomes “Proficient in Microsoft PowerPoint.” “I once had to bold text on a webpage” becomes “Experience with HTML coding and website management.” It’s risky, because if you are asked to perform these tasks it is expected that you will address them easily, but as long as you are at least somewhat knowledgeable in the topics you can get away with bending the truth.
The Alternative Approach
Some candidates decide to use a different approach – they lie. They lie a lot. They put achievements and experiences in their resume that simply never occurred, or they alter facts dramatically in order to impress employers.
Sometimes these lies can lead to incredible success. This was addressed in a recent Wall Street Journal article:
According to the 2009 Screening Index released by ADP, a human-resources and payroll provider, 46% of employment, education or credential reference checks conducted in 2008 revealed discrepancies. That’s up from 41% in 2006.
The problem is that lying on your resume is a bad, bad idea. The world is too small. The likelihood that your lie is caught is high, and the effects of finding out you lied on your resume are such that you will likely be laid off immediately, with possible long term repercussions.
- If you don’t know something you claimed you knew on your resume, you will be caught.
- You never know who your coworkers know. If they know someone at your previous company, you will be caught.
- If you don’t show proficiency in something you claimed you knew well, your previous employer may be called, and you will be caught.
If you already lied on your resume, the article suggests that you clarify your lie up front, shrugging it off like an error. “I noticed that my resume said that I lead a team of 5 on that project, but that was in error, as I actually worked with a team of 5 and simply took on a leadership role within the group.”
This is not bad advice, but it may still affect your job chances. You are going to need to maintain an amazing interview if you hope to salvage your job chances. Your best bet is not to lie from the beginning. Lying on your resume may get you a job, but it will also get you fired from one and may make it harder to find another job to replace it.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Don’t lie on your resume.
- If you lied on your resume, bring it up as an “accident” during your job interview.