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Resume Untruths that Could Get You Caught, and the Alternatives that You Should Choose

Drafting your resume, you may wonder if it is at all acceptable to round it out with a few harmless lies and exaggerations for a better effect overall. The truth is, however, that embellishments are not hard to fact-check. If an employer does decide to check out your claims, and finds out that they are not truthful, it could forever ruin your relationship with the company.

What follows are examples of the riskiest untruths that job applicants include in their resumes, and tips on what you can do instead.

Exaggerating your grades

Maybe you had bad luck with the questions in an exam, or maybe you don’t test very well. Whatever the reason may be, fudging your grades isn’t a safe bet to make. Employers do randomly ask employees or job applicants for proof of test scores. If it comes to light that you haven’t been truthful, your application will be rejected outright. The farther along in the hiring process this happens, the greater the embarrassment will be that you experience.

It’s important to realize that test scores and grades aren’t as important to demonstrating fitness for a job as experience is. Relevant skills and experience, all properly described in your resume, rather than an impressive GPA or SAT score, is really all you need. If the opening that you’re applying for requires academic achievements that you don’t have, it would be a far better idea to retake the tests you would like to do better at.

Making up a job experience history

If a position requires applicants to have management experience, and if you have no team leadership in your past, you might be tempted to make a fictional claim about having had such experience at some point. The problem with this claim is that you may find yourself handed bigger responsibilities than you’re able to handle, and struggle with them. The truth is that employers don’t consider every requirement that they specify as completely essential. Some requirements are optional, with employers being willing to train employees who don’t have what they need.

Rather than invent experience that you don’t have, it can help to focus on how the experience you do have is relevant to the job. You could describe it in detail. If the experience that your resume lacks is truly crucial, it could help to simply sign up for new courses or to volunteer for new kinds of job experience. You could then describe in your resume the initiative that you’ve taken; initiative is a valuable quality in any applicant.

Getting creative with the dates on your resume

When you have inconvenient gaps in your resume, you might consider moving the dates around to make the gaps disappear. Sometimes, you might consider manipulating dates to make it look like a short employment stint at a company was much longer.

It’s important to remember that hiring managers can easily check to make sure that your dates are accurate, and they often do. If you had to take to time off from your career for personal reasons of any kind, it would be a better idea to simply come clean about them. Employers don’t really mind gaps in resumes if they come with reasonable explanations.

Manipulating your job titles or descriptions

Just as with dates, grades, and qualifications, employers know that job titles can be manipulated, and often check. Sometimes, employers verify job title claims on resumes after they hire people. It’s important to resist the temptation to overstate the kind of experience that you’ve had. Instead, it would make sense to apply for jobs that are more in line with the level of experience that you have.

Sometimes, job applicants switching careers worry about appearing overqualified for a job, and fudge their resume to make their past appear less impressive than it really is. They may leave out some high-level experience to appear better suited to a job in a new field. While neglecting to put down all your experience on a resume isn’t as risky as putting in more than what you actually have, it’s important to make sure that your efforts at editing your experience out don’t leave your resume looking curiously thin.

If you make things up on your resume, keeping your story straight through multiple rounds of interviews, and on the job, can be particularly challenging. Living in perpetual fear of getting caught is no way to go through life. It’s a far better idea to simply own what you have, make the best of it, and take your time climbing the career ladder.

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