Lying on Your Resume Can Get You Fired

by Vainrub, Claudine Tuesday, May 15, 2007
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The recent case on MIT's Dean of Admissions resignation due to alleged "misrepresented" information on her résumé - 28 years ago - is confirmation once again of how important it is to portray accurate data in person and in writing. Companies can now verify your professional background, even if it is International. Learn how to safeguard your documents.

Can you honestly say that all information on your resume is 100% accurate? If not, which data is questionable and how questionable is it? As a professional résumé writer, this is part of our daily business. Reminding our customers the importance of making sure all said and written is sustainable and as close to the truth as possible.

With background checks being more frequent, the availability of public records on the internet and the immediateness of information, nowadays it’s very easy to identify inaccurate data. If you are misrepresenting yourself on your résumé, it is wise to come clean, admit your mistake and revise the data before someone uses this against you. And sooner or later, they will…

It is not the first time we hear on the news about key business leaders resigning or getting fired for misrepresenting themselves on their résumés. However, this seems more prone to happening now than 10 years ago, when our lives were not as immerse with technology.

Companies are increasingly enhancing international background checks. What once seemed very hard to achieve is now readily available on the Internet: international criminal records from third world countries, affordable international pre-screenings readily available for $60.00 per inquiry, and this is only the beginning…

As we brand ourselves and grow within our companies, we need to ensure that our résumés will be used to enhance and not to hurt our careers. How do we achieve this?

Following are some steps to safeguard your documents from false statements:

  1. Revise all dates for any work or education achieved, making sure they are correct. If you do not recall a month, it is better only to list the year than to guess the month. Complete month information when you have the accurate data.

  2. Information on education must be 100% accurate. Ensure degree, name of the institution, years if attendance and date of graduation are correct. This is very easy to verify, institutions internationally will offer this information to recruiters as public records. If you have incorrect information in this section of your resume, fix it in each and every document that represents you. This will be less painful than the alternative of losing a job for not admitting your mistake.

  3. Beware of creating false positions in your work history. This is also public records, a piece of information that companies are able to disclose freely. If your position was different from what a company states it was, you will not appear truthful on paper. There are certain instances when your official position does not match your title. When this happens, achieve an agreement with the company to change your title officially to represent you as you deserve before changing it on paper.

  4. Do not overstate your knowledge of languages or computer software. Be prepared to talk fluently and write in Mandarin if you are stating you have good Mandarin skills. Same goes with computer languages, you can easily get tested – your real skills are easily visible.

  5. Numbers, numbers, numbers… If you want to say that you achieved excellent sales results, better say that you achieved 100% sales goal (if it is true) than to use a qualitative term. Make sure always to use the right percentages and dollar amounts. If you are not sure of the exact number, approximate to the lesser amount and state that you surpassed this amount. Be accountable for the numbers you choose to use.
Although in some stages of our career we might believe that a title, a special degree or one unique achievement will take us places, no one event in our lives makes that difference on its own. Companies judge professionals in their capacity to achieve respect of others. Having excellent work ethic and pursuing tasks with integrity are worth a million titles for any CEO recruiting.

As we stand out as professionals by being accountable and having the character to do what’s right, the sky is the limit!