It’s tough to stay competitive as a job seeker. It seems everyone has the same qualifications as you, if not better. Maybe you’ve considered stretching the truth on your resume just to have employers give you a chance.
Don’t, because there’s a good chance you’ll be caught.
In fact, 56 percent of hiring managers have found lies on candidates' resumes, a new CareerBuilder survey of 2,000 HR and hiring managers, conducted last May through June, found.
Here are some of the most common things employers have caught job seekers lying about on resumes:
Sixty-two percent of employers have seen embellished skill sets on resumes, CareerBuilder found.
Though you might not have all the skills the position calls for, this is not an area you want to embellish. It’s easy to think, “I’ll pick it up as I go,” but if employers find out you don’t have the capabilities you say you do, you’ll flag red as dishonest.
Be honest about your skills and the areas in which you still need to grow. An employer would much sooner hire a candidate who knows him or herself realistically. In fact, employers in the CareerBuilder survey said they would still consider candidates who only fit three of five key qualifications for a job.
CareerBuilder’s survey also found 54 percent of employers have seen candidates lie about responsibilities they’ve had in previous positions.
It may be tempting to change your job description to say you managed a project you just helped out with, but don’t. During your interview, employers will ask questions that will require you to talk about your role and experience. How you answer will reveal whether or not you really know what you’re talking about, or you fabricated a few things.
Emphasize the responsibility you did have, like how you supported the team or ensured deadlines were met. Tell a story about a time when you were challenged to make a quick decision and what the outcome was.
3. Dates of employment
Frequent job changes or long periods of unemployment don’t look good on a resume, so there’s no wonder why 39 percent of employers in the survey have seen false dates of employment.
What’s worse than a spotty resume? Being caught in a lie. You may pass the interview, but when employers call previous employers to verify dates of employment and find you only worked a few weeks at a place where you said you worked a year, they’ll question the validity of everything else you said, too.
Always tailor your resume for the position at hand, so if you have a lot of experience in different areas, include only the most relevant experience for that specific position. If employers point out holes in employment, explain you worked in another industry during that time frame. Decide which experience is most important to highlight for each job and cut the rest.
4. Job titles
Thirty-one percent of employers have seen fabricated job titles on resumes, CareerBuilder found.
Saying you were a manager when you weren’t isn’t a good idea. Again, if the employer doesn’t catch you lying in the interview, he or she will find out the truth upon calling a reference or your previous employers.
Realize titles aren’t everything. It’s what you do and your capabilities that matter most. As mundane as your real title might seem, highlight all that your role encompasses, especially the unique tasks that played a significant part in your growth.
5. Academic degrees
A false college degree might seem like something you can get away with -- they don’t really check anyway, right? Wrong. In the survey, 28 percent of employers found phony academic degrees on resumes.
No matter where you’re at in school, put down your highest level of degree completed and when you expect to graduate. If you’re taking a break from school, prepare a good explanation why (e.g., to save money, family issues, etc.). When the employer asks about school, talk about your course work, what you’ve learned, and how that influences your professional goals.
In general, lying about anything on a resume or during an interview is a bad practice. Employers want candidates they know they can trust working for them. You don’t want to be hired for someone you’re not. It will be a stressful experience as you try to keep up with the lies, and you’ll likely get caught eventually.
What are some lies you’ve seen on resumes? Share in the comments below!