No matter how long you've been looking for a job, it can be pretty easy to get discouraged. Maybe you haven't been able to land an interview, while if you have, you've been matched up against fierce competition who may have been more experienced or educated than you. This isn't an excuse or a reason to begin embellishing those bullet points on your resume. While it might seem like a way to even the playing field with your competitors, a better strategy when job seeking would be to remain truthful, showing respect to potential employers and allowing others to make avoidable mistakes.
A surprising amount of people do lie on their job applications. When AOL interviewed workers about their honesty, 78 percent admitted to including misleading information on their resumes, according to the Chicago Tribune. But when even CEOs, including Scott Thompson of Yahoo, can be fired if their lies are found out, it's clear honesty should be the best policy when you're trying to find a job.
Exaggerating your abilities from former positions might not seem like the worst idea in the world. There's no way your next employer will know you weren't actually responsible for million-dollar transactions while you were a junior salesman, right? Wrong. While telling tall tales about your time in past jobs may get your foot in the door, one call to your former employers can send your house of cards tumbling down. If that's not enough, any lack of experience will show during an interview. Instead, emphasize the skills you've earned over time that apply to the position on your resume. You'll show your capabilities without having to stretch the truth.
Tell the truth about previous jobs
If you left your last job because you hated the experience, or were fired, it might seem smart to do whatever you can to convince prospective employers otherwise, avoiding the awkwardness of explaining yourself. There's no guarantee your next position won't end up like your last one if you're not honest, though. Being truthful about where you're coming from and what you expect from your next job will go a long way in convincing your employer you're prepared and ready to take on the next opportunity. Plus, if they call a reference who says you were laid off, that won't immediately end any chance of your being hired.
If it's been a while since you've worked, be direct about your history. Conveniently leaving out a year or two of your experience by using a functional resume might make it seem harder to notice, but hiring managers are trained to see warning signs like that from the start. Skipping small details is fine, but the bigger picture needs to be intact. Approaching the problem honestly will also give you a sense of maturity in an interview.
Don't inflate your past
Sure, fudging the numbers to give yourself an added boost might pay off, helping you climb to a more prestigious job title while giving you bigger paychecks. But if the lie falls apart, you're back at square one with a few extra burned bridges at your back. Tell the truth, while allowing yourself time to negotiate, to prevent a hard fall after a large rise.
Additionally, don't include former jobs that aren't relevant to what you're trying to find. If you're looking for a sales position, mentioning your writing experience only matters if you managed to sell your work. Your resume should be customized to the positions you're looking to attain, and little white lies, no matter their size, will ring false from miles away, according to Business News Daily. Keeping your resume and social media information lined up will also help, as a Google search with discrepancies between your paper resume and LinkedIn won't be a good sign.