Resume Lies and Damn Lies
"Resume Lies and Damn Lies
I hate to ask you this, but does the Education section of your resume include a degree from the University of You? When writing your resume, did you confer upon yourself the title of Manager when the only thing you actually managed was to keep your job? Have you kind of maybe fudged on the dates of your employment a smidgen to cover up that short-term job from hell that you tolerated for only three months before dropping it like a nasty habit?
You might feel guilty if you did any of these things, but don’t feel lonely. Embellishments, exaggeration, even outright lying are commonplace practices among jobseekers. As many as 30% of jobseekers exaggerate their accomplishments, and about ten percent "seriously misrepresent" their background, according to Edward C. Adler, a "resume detective" and author of The Complete Reference Checking Handbook. In sales, the percentile is even higher. (Imagine that.)
I once did some recruiting for a medium-size technology corporation, searching intensively for hard-to-find software developers. The company’s president decided, for whatever reasons, to commence the pre-employment practice of phoning colleges to verify the degrees of all putative graduates. When bogus sheepskins, one after the other, started turning up, exacerbating the company’s already severe recruiting problems, the president dourly reversed the verification policy. "There are things," he admitted, "I don’t want to know." This anecdote reveals not so much about the laws of supply and demand as about corporate vanity. Be it noted, he couldn’t stand the idea of eliminating the degree requirement, to begin with. Have you ever noticed that many executives’ minds work funny?
You don’t have to be a resume detective to unmask some of the moronic mendacity. Bachelor of Arts degree in electrical engineering? My good man, I think not. And, by the way, where on the Internet did you purchase that handsome, embossed "degree"?
Because of slander and libel legalisms, most companies, when responding to reference checks, will provide only job titles and dates of employment. You would think that leaves many blanks for you to fill in, so you might be tempted to color yourself extra-wonderful. Do resist that temptation! It isn’t difficult, in the Information Age, to find out a lot about you. Most sizable organizations conduct credit and criminal record background checks. Even so, there is no master file accessible to prospective employers that reports your complete and verified employment history. For that information, companies usually depend on reference checks, your application form, and resume.
I encourages honesty in job seeking, and offers as counsel the words of Oscar Wilde, "If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out."
- Richard Tanski"
<Note from JobFairy.com: I wouldn't claim a degree I didn't have. I would, however, put the field name (i.e. Psychology, Computer Science, etc.) and then "Studies", as in "Electrical Engineering Studies". No date. If recruiters assume you have a degree, don't correct them. But if you're filling out a job application, which you must sign and date, thereby making it a legal document, I would leave the field blank. If you follow the directions on how to fill out the application form (under Money Matters, then Salary, Negotiating and Interviews), your HR people will probably just contact your hand-picked references and leave it at that.>