Why You Should Be Honest On Your Resume

We have all been on the job hunt at one point or another. Frankly, it’s usually not much fun. Between hours spent browsing job ads and submitting applications and the nervous anticipation of waiting for that phone call, trying to land your dream gig can be exhausting. And if you’ve been searching for a while, it can certainly be tempting to embellish your resume to get your foot in the door. While we can all empathize with the impulse to make ourselves look better on paper, it’s never a good idea to misrepresent your skills or experience in your resume.

At Engaged HR, we look at a lot of resumes, and like to think we can spot a CV fib from a mile away (or at least once the candidate comes in for an interview). But it’s actually in your best interests to keep your resume up-to-date, accurate, and truthful for a few reasons:

It makes for stress-free interviews.

Ultimately, the goal of sending in your resume is to be shortlisted for an interview. Even if your resume is good enough to land you an in-person meeting, you’ll still need to shine during that interview. If you’ve told the truth on your resume, then there’s nothing to keep straight and you’ll be able to stand out as a rock star. If you’re not truthful about the details of your work history, education, or dates, you’ll have a lot more to remember! As a result, the chances are good you won’t be able to show up as your best self. A good interviewer will be able to detect dishonesty in an interview, so avoid wasting your time and theirs by sticking to the facts in your resume.  

Background checks can come back to haunt you.

Even if by some miracle you manage to get through the interview stage, and the hiring manager or recruiter thinks you’re up for the job, most positions will require some form of background check. Whether employment history verification, reference check, or education verification, these checks are there so the hiring manager can fact-check your resume against reality.  

You’ll actually be able to do the work you’re hired for.

This seems like a no-brainer, but struggling to perform at work doesn’t feel great. And if you land a job you’re not qualified for, odds are good that you’re setting yourself up to fail. It’s certainly tempting to stretch the truth when you see your dream job up for grabs. After all, you’re a quick study and can figure it out on the fly, right? Nope. There’s a reason those pesky qualifications are listed – they’re what’s required to be able to do the job effectively. Fast forward to your first weeks on the job, when you actually have to do the work… a new gig is stressful enough without adding in the panic of realizing you actually can’t “fake it til you make it”. The end result is more than likely to be stressful, embarrassing, and ultimately end you right back where you started – on the job hunt.

You’ll stay out of jail. Okay, okay, this is an unlikely eventuality, but it is a possibility! Recently, an Australian woman ended up in jail over lies on her resume. This extreme example involved pretty extensive deception tactics that were used to land a government job with access to private information, but we say it’s always better to be honest than land yourself in the slammer! Especially for safety-sensitive jobs, or positions that require specialized or technical skills, lying on your resume can land other people in dangerous or compromised situations.

Starts the relationship off on the right foot. The best working relationships are built on a solid foundation of trust, honesty and mutual respect. By submitting a resume that stretches the truth, you’re starting the employment relationship off with a lack of trust. Not the best job karma to kick things off!

The good news is that you don’t have to lie to get a job! Even if you have gaps on your resume, a shaky employment history, or don’t have much experience, there are simple, honest ways to paint yourself in the best light on your resume, and surefire ways to rock your interview.

Your Engaged Assignment: Applying for jobs this year? Take an objective look at your resume and double check that you’ve stuck to the facts – the right employer is out there! Then cruise on over to our job board and see if there’s a fit for you, we work with some fantastic clients, and new jobs are added all the time!