My mom always taught me that lies propagate. Tell one and you’ll find yourself fabricating more to support or cover the first. It is a good life lesson, but even more important when you’re looking for a new job. Many believe it is commonplace – Some recruiters encourage it – However, I have always believed it a grievous offense. It is just bad form to lie (no matter how small) on your resume.
Maybe you lost your job, or you just feel it is time for a change so you do your diligence and research the positions available. The next step is to consider the market need and build a resume that best sells your skills and experience to satisfy the market. But what if you never managed a crisis program or developed a social media strategy, but you have participated and know you can do the work? Is there harm in embellishing your role? Well, lying on your resume can set into motion a daisy chain of lies that you may never live down.
As an example, let’s say you gave yourself that promotion you really deserve and changed your title on your resume from Account Executive to Senior Account Executive. What happens when a prospective employer reaches out to your reference who happens to be a coworker? Now, you either have to ask that person to lie on your behalf or formulate an explanation to cover your white lie when the prospective employer is confused by the information that does not line up. Not to mention, the misinformation will likely deter the employer. You can see how this simple embellishment can kick off a vicious cycle.
The constant concern and stress of maintaining the story is one thing, but losing an opportunity and being revealed as a charlatan have broader reaching effects and can impact your personal and professional reputation for years to come.
For your own peace of mind, keep everything above board. Impress prospective employers with your knowledge, charm and preparation. Save the creative writing for your blog or email to mom about that fishing trip.
Rob Manfredo is a Director at Beckerman PR. Rob has over a decade of diverse experience in media relations, crisis communications, brand development, events marketing, Web site development, demand generation and new media programs. You can find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.