Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don’t Lie on your Resume

-Written by Dylan Mark, Internship Program Intern at CU Career Services

It’s that time of year. You’re filling out cover letters and sharpening your resume for summer and post-college jobs. It may be tempting to exaggerate the truth or throw in a couple of lies to make your resume stand out, but be wary of the consequences.  Here are three things you may be tempted to lie about, but shouldn’t, and a few alternatives to enhance your resume.

1)     Position Title
Changing the title of previous positions can make it look like you are more qualified for a job.  However, if your potential employer checks your references and finds a discrepancy in what you’ve listed, your job application is likely to be removed from consideration. Instead of changing the job title, make sure the job duties/responsibilities you share are as clear and encompassing as possible. For example, if your title was “Administrative Assistant” but you also helped significantly on a project for a company, make sure to include it as a sub-bullet of your job title, rather than changing the title to “Administrative Assistant/Project Coordinator.

2)     References
References are the easiest way to get caught in a lie on your job resume.  There aren’t any good workarounds for references and lying about them is a red flag to companies.  This means that you need to work ahead of time at acquiring references.  They can come from a variety of places depending on the position you’re applying for: academic advisors, professors, employers, colleagues, and extracurricular program directors are good sources for references.

3)     Certificates, Awards, and/or Trainings
In today’s technological age, lying about your achievements on your resume is a risky move.  Background checks and calling references can easily indicate a lie about a certificate, award, or training you’ve reported.  If you don’t have a catalogue of achievements, think of the alternative experiences you’ve participated in such as extracurricular clubs/organizations, study abroad, boards, committees, conferences, and leadership positions.

Remember, lying on your resume is too risky a move when applying for jobs.  Be honest in your application and find other ways to make your resume stand out!