This is really important: Don’t fudge that résuméJan 23rd, 2006 | By Bill | Category: Employment News
With all the ruckus about James Frey’s memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” and how much of it is fact or fiction, it got me wondering if anyone was nervous about being caught red-handed with a résumé they had embellished and turned out to be part fact, part fiction.
Yes, fabricated facts on résumés happen – way too often. And too many creative résumé writers don’t seem to care that someone will find out they don’t have that degree or that they didn’t manage a department of 200 people.
If you just look at executives, 10.73 percent of executives lied on their résumé early last year, according to the Liars Index. The Index is a calculation of the percentage of lying executives created by Jude M. Werra of the executive search firm Jude M. Werra & Associates in Brookfield, Wis., says HR Magazine.
Apparently, readers don’t seem to care much that some best-selling memoirs have turned out to be partly fabricated. One person posting a message on Oprah Winfrey’s Web site said, “Every author embellishes a story, call it what you want,” according to an article in The New York Times.
Some workers tell me the same thing about lying on their résumé – that “everybody does it” – and hence, the reason they do it. “It’s the only way to compete with other people,” one worker told me.
They also don’t expect to get caught, saying that too many companies don’t check out an applicant’s background. But when a company does, your goose is cooked.
Werra tells about a man who claimed to have an executive MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But MIT said it had no such record. When he asked the man about it, the man faxed a copy of the diploma – that showed he had completed a program lasting a few weeks. But it wasn’t an MBA.
The man’s response? “Picky, picky.”
Your career may not be as juicy as you’d like. And you may not meet every qualification for a particular job. But making up accomplishments to fit the requirements or gain notice in your field isn’t the answer, either.
So first, go after jobs you’re qualified for. If you meet most requirements of a position but don’t fit the bill perfectly, focus on stating information in your résumé, letters and conversations that elaborates on what you do have and more than makes up for whatever you lack.
Highlight areas in which you’ve had noticeable results that carry weight and demonstrate your value. If it’s education you’re lacking, play up continued education classes that are applicable, even if they didn’t result in a degree.
When you’re telling your story, take the high road and believe in it with all your heart.
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