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Lying on Resume may lead to trouble

By Michelle Reese
January 18, 2006
(abridged version)

A former recruiter recently published a guide that attempts to convince job seekers that they can easily inflate credentials on their resumes; seemingly without consequences.

The author suggests that job seekers lie about job titles, educational background, and position responsibilities to get interviews, and eventually employment job offers, for which they are not qualified. On his Web site he is quoted as saying: "Once you realize the extent that people go to in fabricating their resumes you start to realize that those that don't lie on their resumes stand to lose jobs to those that do."

But local career experts tell clients not to go down that path.

Kathy Sweeney, Certified Professional Resume Writer and Credentialed Career Master of East Valley, said there are many consequences to taking this route, from losing credibility to losing a job after you're hired and the truth is discovered.

"If a company finds out you lied on your application (which reflects dates and degrees on your resume), they can fire you. The author of the fake resume Web site forgot to mention the eventual consequences to the job seekers," Sweeney said. "Further, if a candidate is dishonest, and actually does land a job with a company that does not conduct background checks, it will eventually catch up to them during their tenure with the company. They could end up in a position where they will fail to meet the expectations of their new employer and eventually be fired for incompetence."

This practice not only hurts the lying applicant, but those who do tell the truth. It may also hurt the company and other employees in the long run, Sweeney said.

"A person who does have the actual experience to meet the job requirements may not be selected because he or she appears to have less experience than the person who lied," Sweeney said. "Further, if a company hires an individual who lied on his resume, and then eventually has to terminate him, it hurts everyone in the long run because the costs to hire another individual are astronomical and could result in lower salaries."

Job seekers may have the skills and experience for a job, and not know it. Look at your activities outside of work: Do you plan events for a youth program? Volunteer in a nursing home? Write your community newsletter? All these require skills that can be transferred to a new job. Applicants should seek out other ways to add to their experience, and not pad their resumes.

Volunteer: Gain experience through a community or nonprofit group. o Seek out company opportunities: It may be in another department where a job seeker wants to work.

Attend conferences and join associations: Even if you don't work currently in your desired position, you can attend a conference that interests you to gain more knowledge and contacts. By joining an association, you'll also gain a circle of people to network with once you're ready to make a leap into the new area.

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