We all know that “honesty is the best policy,” but when it comes to something as big as a person’s career, it can be tempting to stretch the truth in the name of snagging your dream job. Of course you want to paint yourself in the best light possible, but an honest assessment of your strengths as a candidate is the best route to go. That extra padding hurts more than helps. Here’s why!
Employers perform background checks for a reason.
Hiring managers have accepted that resumes are essentially the highlight reels of an individual’s professional career, and they are well-versed at filling in the gaps and finding out what type of candidate you really are. With Google just at their fingertips and a world wide web full of online profiles and information, it can be relatively simple to figure out if you actually held that position you put on your resume. Also, employers ask for references for a reason; of course you think you are a great candidate, but do others? If you lied about your skills and experience on your resume, it is bound to come out in a discussion with past supervisors.
If it’s not apparent in the interview, it will be on the job.
Interviews are opportunities for hiring managers to dig into the details on your resume, so expect them to do just that. What you write on your resume, they are likely going to want to know more about. Did you say that you were bilingual and studied in Spain when you did not? What happens when the manager asks you a question in Spanish? If somehow you did manage to make it through the interview process, white lies will still surface on the job. Did you say you were proficient in a system you know nothing about? What happens when your manager is over your shoulder watching you fumble through it? It is far better to be open and honest about your skills than to be caught red-handed in a lie.
You won’t be giving yourself the best chance of success.
Lying about things you can’t do diminishes the effect of what you CAN do. Don’t belittle and tarnish the expertise and skills you have worked hard to earn by lying; instead, highlight your strengths and your willingness to learn anything you don’t have experience in yet. Not being truthful on your resume also prevents you from being put in the right seat for success. Lying to get a position you’re not qualified for prevents you from being considered for a position more in line with your strengths, and prevents you from getting the right training and tools for success if you had been honest up front.
When the stakes are high, don’t gamble with little white lies on your resume. Have confidence in what you have to offer, demonstrate your willingness to grow and you will undoubtedly see much more success in your job search and career!