We know it’s hard to beat hundreds if not thousands of other job seekers battling for the same job. Not to mention creating a convincing resume, managing your online presence and acing the interview; the whole process is anything but a joyride, even for those who are well prepared. No wonder some people get fed up with being constantly brushed off for the nth time, and turn to the dark side and start exaggerating in their resumes, thinking that a little padding won’t hurt.
But it does…
Lying Never Pays Off
As tempting as it might seem, being flexible with the truth or adding complete lies to your CV is like a nasty virus that lurks in your body and strikes when you least expect it. We are not exaggerating – pun not intended – when we say that even the most lackluster truth is better than getting caught in a lie.
Before you say that fudging your CV a bit is the only way to at least get invited for an interview, let us remind you that recruiters and employers always act in good faith when they give the opportunity to a candidate to prove what they are capable of. And it’s usually at this point where resume padding turns into an own goal: the interview is about defending everything you wrote in your resume and cover letter, and professionals can immediately spot liars, especially after doing a thorough background check during which the smallest untruth will be noted. But by far the absolute worst scenario is when the candidate convinces the interviewers, gets the job and is proven to be unskilled for the tasks that they are assigned with: not only the company loses money, but the employee is immediately fired or, in extreme cases, charged with misdemeanor or even felony – something that will accompany the liar for the rest of his/her probably unemployed life.
How to Avoid Resume Fudging
The only way to avoid being called a liar and destroying your career in the process is to be honest. Even if you somehow ended up being seduced by the dark side – which we do not recommend under any circumstances – you may find redemption if you withdraw your application early on, revise the resume after it was handed in (but before the interviews) or, if you are employed already, tell the truth and hope for the best.
However, honesty is still the right path of determined job seekers. Granted, it won’t be easy, but so long as you find the golden middle between providing underwhelming truths and exaggeration. The best way to achieve that is to search for the right words to describe what your job was and what skills you have: look up CVs in your chosen field, apply trigger words the right way and phrase your resume in such a way that is compelling but true.
And remember that if you don’t have enough space to elaborate on something you deem important, you can do it instead in a short yet strong cover letter, a professional site or a complete LinkedIn profile.