Many job seekers may be tempted to misrepresent information on their resume or job application, but the truth is, this only hurts your chances of employment. Hiring managers will not be fooled, and do not take kindly to being tricked, even on April Fool’s Day. Read below to learn more about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to honesty and your job search.
You’ve probably heard the advice that you should customize your resume and cover letter for each unique position you apply for, but what does this mean exactly? Candidates should not alter their work history to match an open employment opportunity, but it is okay to highlight specific skills and leave off certain positions that might not be relevant to where you’re applying. Be sure that you don’t adjust dates of employment to cover employment gaps. Instead, be honest if you were between jobs for a while, but indicate what you did during this time—did you volunteer, gain a certification, etc.? Keep in mind that it’s easy for employers to verify how truthful your application is through reference checks, employment verification, and even social media sites.
Skills and Education
It’s probably no surprise that you should be honest when talking about your educational background as well, but maybe you’ve attended some college courses but don’t quite have enough hours to get your degree or certification. Can you still list that college on your resume or application? The short answer is no. You’re welcome to list specific courses you’ve completed from a school if it’s particularly relevant to the position, but listing just the school could be misleading. Similarly, if you list specific skills, you should be prepared to use those skills on the job. An employer will learn quickly if you lied about your capabilities simply by observing your job performance. If you feel that you’re lacking some skills, you can sign up for training. Many businesses will train on the job or help pay for classes. Often, having good soft skills (honesty, good work ethic, etc.) is more important—other things you can learn as you go.
This topic is probably the one that applicants are most frequently tempted to skirt the truth, but it’s also an area where honesty is critical. While many job seekers are concerned that mentioning criminal history will hurt their chances of being hired, the worst thing you can do is mislead a potential employer. Many businesses are willing to work with individuals who have a criminal history, but are not willing to work with people who are dishonest about it. It’s best to list any and all of your convictions prior to the employer running the background check, as they’re going to learn the truth eventually. Explain the situation upfront during your interview; emphasize if it took place a long time ago, any counseling you’ve had, and ways you’ve matured and can demonstrate reliability and a good ethic.
As you apply for positions, make sure the information that you put on your job application is consistent with what you have on your resume. Employers will notice discrepancies. Businesses value integrity in employees, and will be grateful for your honesty during the application process.