When it comes to building a solid resume, it all comes down to selling yourself to the hiring team. This has to be done in an honest way, otherwise you’ll find yourself without a job and perhaps irreparable damage when it comes to future job openings. Resume fraud has serious implications.
The website CareerBuilder conducted a survey of 2,500 hiring managers and 56 percent said they caught a job candidate in a lie when the employment background check was disclosed. The most common lie is a candidate enhancing their skills. Others fibbed about the scope of their duties at a previous job and one quarter of respondents said they never worked for the company they listed on their resume.
CareerBuilder spokeswoman Mary Lorenz said, “One of the reasons candidates may feel okay embellishing their resumes is that they don’t realize hiring managers are actually following up to verify the claims they make on their resumes.” Most companies do follow up and if discrepancies are found, the candidate does not get the job.
Lying isn’t just about what’s on your resume. Discrepancies and important data left off of your resume can also be taken as dishonest. One example from Monster included a woman who listed her education on her resume, including the name of the school that she attended. The hiring manager found the applicant did indeed attend the school, but never earned a degree. Her response, “You never explicitly asked if I earned the degree.” That candidate was dismissed.
At MBI Worldwide, we conducted our own survey utilizing our social media sites, Twitter and Facebook. Our results were different and more encouraging than the national findings. But of course, even anonymously who is going to admit to a background check company that they did, in fact, lie on their resume?
Only six percent of our respondents admitted to lying on their resume. Most of those lies, a staggering 62 percent, were about their skill level. Education and prior job experience tied for second and previous salaries were embellished the least. Ten percent of the respondents admitted they actually landed the job based on the lie they told.
In our same survey, 38 percent of hiring managers said they hired someone who they later found out lied about their skills. Fifty-eight percent of the employees were fired as a result of the lie.
If you’re tempted to tell tall tales on your resume, think twice. Honesty is the best policy and if you didn’t earn a degree, don’t imply that you did. Professional experience may trump education in the eyes of the hiring manager. Have a list of solid references who can honestly vouch for you. Lastly, use social media to show off your skills. Create a website and regularly update your resume online. Write a blog. Connect with current and former colleagues on careeer-focussed sites (ie. LinkedIn) and update your information consistently.
Remember lying and falsifying information on your resume isn’t worth the risk. Employers want honest and loyal employees on their team. If your first step in the hiring game is to lie, your next step will most likely be down the ladder of success.