According to Inc.com, as many as 85% of job applicants are not totally truthful on their resume. As tempting as it may be to adjust a few details here and there on your resume to make yourself look better and improve your chances to get a call back and an interview, the risks of doing so are not worth it. You could end up losing a job offer, damage your reputation or get fired if found out.
We recently had a candidate get asked about specific experience in a job interview. Luckily, he had the experience the employer was looking for. But, unfortunately, he hadn’t included it on his resume. In an effort to not come across as a job hopper he had left out a few jobs that he only held for a short amount of time, and adjusted the work dates for his previous jobs to make it appear that there were no gaps. When discussing with the employer his previous work experience, it quickly became apparent that he had not been honest on his resume, and as a result he was not offered the job.
During a routine background check, employers will easily discover discrepancies on your resume such as college degrees, certifications and professional licenses. You can plan on getting caught if you are not honest about this kind of information. Most employers watch for information that’s not truthful and know how to spot the signs.
Many employers will call your references if they are serious about hiring you. They will quickly expose any embellishments you’ve made to your resume such as job titles, incorrect dates, job responsibilities etc. Some employers, if they’re suspicious, will also reach out to other mutual connections or former bosses, so even if you have references who are willing to back you up and cover for you, don’t expect the employer to stop there.
You’re never safe
Even if your items go unnoticed during the interview process and you’re hired, it doesn’t mean that the employer won’t discover them in the future. When it becomes obvious that you don’t have all of the skills you told the employer about and you’re not able to do the job, it can be used as grounds to let you go. It can also destroy your professional reputation if word gets around that you were not truthful on your resume.
Another common resume non-truth is making up working for a company that never existed, or that’s gone out of business. Employers may check into the company if they haven’t heard of it before to see if there’s a website, if it’s registered anywhere or any other signs that it’s real. During the interview process you may be asked to provide some additional documentation or information about the company. Trying to make up work history that doesn’t exist, and especially a company that never existed is nothing short of foolish and a waste of your time as it is bound to get found out.
During the interview process, the employer may put your skills to the test by asking questions about the software skills you claim to have, asking you a question in the language you claim to know, or even asking you to take a more formal skills test such as a Microsoft Office skills test. If you fail to answer or pass such a test, it will tell the employer you’ve not been honest about your skillset. Employers will not expect candidates to have every single skill they’re looking for. Let them know if there’s a skill you don’t have and give examples of how you’ve been able to learn similar skills in the past. Many employers will be willing to pay for training to fill any skill gaps. But, be honest about it up front.
You may get references and others to go along with your resume discrepancies, but Google will give you away. If it turns out that the college you attended is actually selling degrees and certificates for a fee, or that the company you claimed to have worked for actually went out of business long before you worked there, a quick Google search by the employer will reveal the truth. In addition to a standard background check, a little bit of detective work on search engines will disclose quite a bit of information about you, so make sure it matches up with what you’re telling the employer.
Not being truthful on your resume is never worth it. Consider the long-term consequences if you’re found out. Not only could you lose your job, the embarrassment when co-workers and other people in your life find out why, ruin your professional reputation, but you could also find yourself in legal trouble depending on the situation. Be honest on your resume and you’ll find that most employers are more forgiving and accommodating than you might think. Just make sure before sending in your application that it’s a job you’re qualified for.
If you have work history gaps, skill gaps or other situations with your resume, working with a recruiter is a great way to help overcome them, and present yourself the right way to an employer. Click the banner below to connect with one of our recruiters for opportunities in IT, Accounting/Finance and Engineering.