When you apply for a job of any kind, you want to put yourself in the best possible light on your resume. You may be competing against hundreds of other candidates who are just as qualified as you are, and standing out from the crowd is key to landing your dream job.
Given that pressure and competition, it’s easy to bend the truth in order to make yourself seem more impressive. Particularly on your resume, it’s tempting to add information about your skill set, your professional past or your educational history that may not be quite true.
But doing so could be fatal, not just for your chances of getting the job, but also for potential future opportunities. It remains one of the oldest resume tips in the book, and will remain true regardless of the year or topic: never fudge credentials on your resume. Always go with honesty instead, and you will help yourself more than you think.
If you’ve ever been tempted to exaggerate on your resume, here are three things that could happen which could negatively affect your job search and credibility.
Being Found Out
It’s the most obvious downfall of not being honest, and also the most damaging. When looking at potential candidates, especially for a competitive position, employers and hiring managers look beyond the resume. They research your credentials online, call your references, and visit your LinkedIn profile.
If any of these or other sources show that you have not been honest about your credentials, your candidacy is dead in its tracks. Hiring and HR managers don’t have the time to engage with candidates who are not honest, which reflects badly on you and kills your chances of getting the job.
Even if the employer does not notice these discrepancies, you risk lowering your chances of getting a desirable job. The reason is psychological: cognitive dissonance.
A well-known concept in social psychology, cognitive dissonance describes the feeling of uncertainty and discomfort someone gets when individual message points don’t seem to add up. We innately strive to make sense of and connect everything around us, and when that does not happen, our brains react negatively.
When you’re dishonest on your resume, it’s impossible to keep all your details straight. If your resume is impressive enough to get you invited for an interview, you will be asked details about your professional and education past, and you may answer differently from your stated experience on your resume. Even if your interviewers don’t notice or call you out on it, the details not matching up will give them an uncomfortable feeling about your statements, reducing your chances of getting hired.
Losing Future Opportunities
Finally, you may think that lying on a long-shot application won’t hurt you, even if you are found out. In fact, that’s not the case. Professional networking matters just as much among hiring managers as it does for your position, and a bad reputation spreads faster than you can imagine.
As a result, fudging your credentials does not just impact the individual job for which you’re applying. It also lowers your chances at any future jobs at the company, and can even impact your job search in the same industry beyond that single employer.
It’s tempting to go one step beyond putting yourself in the best light, and artificially enhancing your qualifications. But is risking the future of your career is really worth fudging your credentials? The answer is a clear no. Honesty is always best, and that is particularly true when looking for a job and building your resume. For more resume tips and tricks that can help you enhance your resume while remaining completely honest, contact us.