Why You Should Keep Your Resume Honest

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What you say on your resume matters. It's important to be honest, accurate, and to not exaggerate your qualifications or experience. Why does that matter?

First of all, if you don't tell the truth it could come back to haunt you - either before you get a job offer or in the future. There have been plenty of people fired years after the fact because they lied on their resume to get a job.

Secondly, many, if not most, employers check at least basic references and if your employment history doesn't jive with the information discovered during a background check you're definitely not going to get hired.

Get the Facts Straight

Even if you take a leap and decide it's worth fudging the truth and taking a chance on whether you'll get caught, be sure you know what you put on your resume. I've interviewed candidates who either had a really bad memory when it came to their employment history or who had fudged more than a few details. Unfortunately, for them, it only took a quick reference check to confirm that their resume wasn't honest and they didn't get the facts straight.

It's also important to get the facts straight. When you list results - goals you've met, sales numbers you've made, anything quantifiable, be sure what you tell the interviewer matches what's on your resume. Again, if you're not honest, it's going to be an issue for potential employers.

Here are tips on how to keeping your resume facts straight from David Adams, Vice President of Learning and Development of Adecco Group North America:

Tips for Keeping Your Resume Honest

Be honest. When it comes to resumes potential employers are on the lookout for exaggerated skills or results. Grossly overstating your accomplishments can send up a red flag that may come back to haunt you during an interview - or eliminate your chances of securing an interview in the first place.

So, be honest; even if your embellishments make it past a recruiter or potential employer, you're setting yourself up for failure by misrepresenting yourself and your abilities.

Quantify your results. Wherever possible, include dollar amounts. If you managed a sizeable budget or inked a big deal, be sure to mention this - employers want to see what you've done and numbers are a great way to show them.

Know the numbers. Likewise, if the amount of people you managed or programs you've developed was significant, focus on that information. Showing that you've made good use of your time at another job helps employers visualize what you can do for them.

Don't bury the "lead." With hundreds of resumes to go through, hiring managers spend a limited amount of time skimming each one. You need to get your message across right away and convince them your skills and experience are what they're seeking. Make sure that key information is either listed first or presented in a manner that makes it stand out.

Mention "off-the-job" experience. Be sure to highlight any skills, education, community/volunteer work and additional schooling that pertains to your particular job area or that a potential employer might view as an asset.

Include any notable professional awards, recognitions or accomplishments you have earned.

Professionalism is key. Including photographs, hobbies unrelated to the job, or personal information is unnecessary.

Suggested Reading: How to Create a Professional Resume