[02.12.10]
45 great comments!

Can You Justify It . . . Fudging Anything On Your Resume?

A note came in last week via LinkedIn.  From a new friend who was struggling with a question that I’ll bet a number of you have pondered.  Is there ever a situation where you can fudge something on your resume?  What if it’s just a little thing?  A two week shift in a date to make it look like you had been at your job an extra year?

Will anyone really ever know?

Here’s the question.  And I appreciate my friend agreeing to let me share it:

Q: About 3 weeks ago I was offered (and accepted) a job (yay) but unfortunately I was not able to negotiate them up on salary or bonus or really anything. It wasn’t a terrible offer and the company looks very exciting (it’s a start up so there’s lots of opportunity to progress), however I need to think about #1 and salary is still important… My question is, I am still keeping my eyes peeled for employment opportunities, so as I update my resume I wonder if I should even bother including my newly accepted role… it would literally say January 2010 to present… uhhh… and to be honest I think they’re still sussing out exactly what my title and responsibilities will be (at this point I am the entire marketing department), so I’m not even sure what I would write… Your thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated.

A: This is always a tough question. It is always better to look for a job when you already have one. And it is nice to show a current company – says you were “wanted” in a tough job market. But the fear of including such a short stay drives people to consider other options.  Ways to “clear up possible confusion”.

So what are those options that one might consider?

1. Leave The Current Job Off Of Your Resume

Inaccurate, however I have seen a number of people do this.  Of course you have to ask yourself: is there any chance someone at the new company will know you (or knows someone who does) and may say “Hey, didn’t you already find something?”  Risky.

2. Include It As An Interim Contract Job or Consulting Role

Not honest but there is a way (based on the still muddy role) to characterize it a bit differently.  Less risky but still inaccurate.

3. Include It Accurately As Your Current Job

As long as you don’t have any other really short stays on your resume, this may not be an issue for people. After all, most understand that sometimes things don’t work out. And your recognizing that quickly says that you have a conscience.  Risk?  People may see you as having made a bad decision.  You are deemed impulsive.

So, here’s my take.  I always steer people toward being authentic and honest in their materials and, after reviewing your options, can only suggest #3.  Honesty.  The right hiring manager/company will understand.  There are always other ways to go, but as a great recruiter friend told me recently: “Don’t lie on your resume, even if its a small one.  You will forever be explaining that decision.”

How would you have answered that question?  Any differently?


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Cover Letters And Resumes

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