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More About Lying
(May 22, 2007) The latest poll from Monster suggests that nearly 60% of people who have composed a resume admit to having stretched the truth or lied outright. Google shows 13,700 results for "lying on resume". (There are even a few good stories about "how to lie on your resume".)

A quick scan of a range of "How to Write a Resume" articles provides the following inducements to modify the truth:

  • If you aren't particularly qualified for the job, then use an Objective to convey why you should get the job - your desire, work ethic or other intangibles. (How to write a
  • If you've had many job changes or short stints at jobs, be sure to explain why, such as it was a contract job, relocation or whatever the reason.  Never blame the job or previous employer as you could be seen as someone who is difficult to please, even if your arguments are legitimate. (How to write a
  • When a prospective employer finishes reading your resume, you want them to immediately reach for the phone to invite you in to interview. The resumes you have written in the past have probably been a gallant effort to inform the reader. You don't want them informed. You want them interested and excited. (A Great Resume Has Two Sections)
  • Select and include only your most relevant experiences: Based upon your career goals and the qualifications desired by the company, you will likely find that certain experiences are less relevant. For example, if you are applying for civil engineering positions, your part-time work at a fast-food restaurant may not interest your resume's readers. (Purdue)

As you might guess, it's pretty easy to read articles about résumé writing and discover encouragement for shading the truth. That's simply because the truth will not fit on a single page of paper. The creation of a resume involves editing and marketing decisions. The very best you could ever hope for is that a resume is accurate about dates and places. The rest is pretty subjective.

The problem here is not the resume writers. If 60% are admitting that the feel like they've been less than honest, you can be sure that its the system that's at fault. Even in the current labo shortage, job hunters are made to feel like the competition is overwhelming.

"You are one of 200 resumes that will be received for the job. The reviewer will give you 20 seconds or less. You'd better find a way to stand out."

That's the advice that all resume coaches give their students.

Anyone who is surprised that resumes read like marketing brochures and not fiduciary due diligence simply isn't paying attention. The problem is really inadequate staffing in Recruiting Departments, not endemic dishonesty.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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