Job Search Tip of the Week #38 (2017)


You know that your résumé is usually the first impression you make on a potential employer, so you have to make it great. But what lengths are you willing to go to do so?

According to the annual survey about résumés from employment website CareerBuilder, more than half of hiring managers and HR professionals (56%) have caught a lie on a résumé, with most job seekers fibbing about:

  • Skill sets: 62%
  • Responsibilities: 54%
  • Employment dates: 39%
  • Job titles: 31%
  • Academic degrees: 28%

And among the other résumé blunders that employers have seen, some are so outlandish that they had to be shared with CareerBuilder:

  • Applicant claimed to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying.
  • Applicant claimed to be fluent in two languages – one of which was pig Latin.
  • Applicant wrote “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse” when listing work history.
  • Applicant’s personal website linked to a porn site.
  • Applicant introduced himself [in the cover letter] by saying “Hey you.”
  • Applicant vying for a customer service position gave “didn’t like dealing with angry customers” as the reason for leaving her last job.
  • User name of applicant’s email address was “2poopy4mypants.”
  • Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner.
  • Applicant claimed to have worked in a jail when they were really in there serving time.
  • Applicant who claimed to be HVAC certified later asked the hiring manager what “HVAC” meant.
  • Applicant said to have gotten fired “on accident.”
  • Applicant claimed to have attended a college that didn’t exist.
  • Applicant for a driver position claimed to have 10 years of experience but had only had a driver’s license for four years.
  • Applicant listed as a reference an employer from whom they had embezzled money and had an arrest warrant out for the applicant.
  • Applicant’s stated job history had him in three different companies and three different cities simultaneously.

…unforgettable, but unemployable.

The truth about lying on your résumé

We really can’t stress enough how important it is for your health, happiness, and career to find the right cultural and functional fit. In fact, research has shown that being honest with yourself and others about what you’re looking for in an employer and what you can offer them in return leads you to find and produce more satisfying work. So if it bites them in the long run, why do some people exaggerate or lie on their résumés?

“Perhaps it is the desire to stand out that compels some job seekers to include some unnecessary, inappropriate, or downright untrue information on their résumés,” CareerBuilder speculated in the survey’s press release. “Job seekers may also be beefing up their résumés to compensate for not meeting all of the requirements listed in the job posting.”

And yet, the term “requirements” in job descriptions has become somewhat of a misnomer: 42% of the employers surveyed reported that they would consider a candidate who met only 60% of a job’s “must haves.” So instead of embellishing your qualifications to fit those of the ideal candidate – which can backfire – highlight accomplishments that demonstrate “an ability to learn, enthusiasm, and cultural fit,” suggested CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer Rosemary Haefner.

Other ways you can stand out, honestly? Hiring managers and recruiters reported that a résumé:

  • Customized to the open position (61%)
  • Accompanied with a cover letter (49%)
  • Addressed to them by name (26%)
  • Which includes links to an online portfolio, blog, or website (21%)

…grabs their attention in a good way.

Be memorable – and hireable

You want to take advantage of every second an employer has their eyeballs on your résumé, especially since the majority (70%) take less than five minutes to review an application, with nearly half (48%) spending less than two minutes.

Put the focus on what counts with these top five résumé writing and revising tips:

  1. Format your résumé properly. This is how it’s done!
  2. Choose a readable font. These fonts are the best ones to use on your résumé.
  3. Talk specific, quantifiable accomplishments, not day-to-day responsibilities. Try using these words and phrases.
  4. Think beyond the one (maybe two) page résumé. A cover letter, video résumé, and even your social media profiles can help supplement your application and sell your candidacy – if done correctly!
  5. Review for typographical and grammatical errors. These are the top five non-content mistakes we’ve seen on technical résumés!

Need additional help getting your résumé noticed? Ask a trusted IT recruiter like those at Chase Technology Consultants (CTC)! CTC knows what technical hiring managers look for and can introduce you directly to potential employers.

Sound Off: Would you ever overexaggerate or outright lie on your résumé if you knew you wouldn’t get caught?

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Image Credit: Action Potential