The competition is fierce out there for jobs. Even if you find a position you believe you’re qualified for, you may still end up at the bottom of the pile.
Interviewing for a position is easily one of the most stressful events in our lives. You want to give them the old razzle dazzle and really shine, but you know they have a stack of other equally qualified candidates waiting to be seen. What makes you more special than them? It wouldn’t be surprising if you decided to fib a little on your resume. It’s only an embellishment, right? You’re not alone. Hloom has discussed this common practice and states that 58% of hiring managers have spotted lies on resumes. They polled 2,000 people in the U.S. to share their thoughts on the topic. They measured severity on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being not at all and 5 being extremely serious. Here is their first image, showing us what people view as a small lie compared to a big, bold lie.
Which lies are harmless and which are harmful? It’s hard to tell. Communication skills aren’t that big of a deal, right? Your college major is way more important than that. It’s all a matter of opinion. So what is the main reason people lie on their resumes? Would it be embarrassment? Or maybe we just want to look better on paper? Check out this graph from the study:
I’m not going to lie. I have found myself in a position to fudge some of the facts on my resume in the past. My main reason was to hide a huge, glaring employment gap. The reason I was unemployed for such a large chunk of time was because I was dealing with a lot of medical issues and found myself laid up on the couch for 3 whole years. Once I was ready to get back out onto the job market, I was honest…at first.
I explained to employers that I was ill but I had received the go ahead to work again. The looks on their faces was obvious. They didn’t want to risk hiring someone who was sick for so long before. What if I became ill again? That would surely be a pain for them. After failing out of numerous interviews and potential jobs, I decided to lie.
What I did was expand my years worked at two previous companies to cover the gap and also to avoid prospective employers calling to confirm. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? About a month after I wrote the lie on my resume, I found a job. That doesn’t make it right, but it is the truth. Hloom’s study found a lot of surprising insights into how people feel about lying on these matters.
“People find lies about education fairly serious, while fabrications about specific skills are deemed more harmless. The top reason for lying on a resume is to appear better suited to a desired position. Which demographics are likeliest to lie? Unemployed people, applicants aged 55 to 64, and people with no high school diploma. Men are more likely to lie than women.”
Not only that, but they have resources for you. Are you in the market for a new job? No need to lie on your resume, just use one of their 800 free resume templates. Did we mention they do this for free? You’re going to do what’s right for you, and if embellishing some facts gives you more confidence, then that’s what you will end up doing. But think about how good it would feel to get that position on your own merits and not little lies.