I was in a radio interview with the Local Job Network team this week discussing the perfect balance of a resume—and not overselling or understating yourself. And this question came up: It’s often perceived that embellishing one’s skills or experience is a part of the “game” of getting a job. What do you say?
I would say that the real issue is that most job seekers do not know how to effectively market themselves and show their “fit” for the position. Consequently, embellishing doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem as underselling. I think the origin of that belief that embellishing is just “part of the game” probably stems from people who are uncomfortable talking or writing about themselves and their successes. I have job seekers tell me every day they don’t like writing about themselves—or it’s hard to write about themselves because they feel like they’re bragging or being boastful.
What they fail to realize, though, is that being able to communicate those accomplishments and successes is a critical part of an effective resume. If someone does “overstate”—and again, I emphasize that most clients will undersell themselves rather than overstate—but if they do overstate, it’s probably because they’re insecure about their qualifications and being qualified for the job, or they’re unsure of how to position themselves effectively. And so they think that by overstating their qualifications they’re more likely to be considered for the job. I can tell you that employers fact check—and if you lie, it will catch up with you eventually. It may not be before the job offer—or before you start working—but rest assured, if and when they find it, they will fire you for falsifying information on your job application.
So, no matter how appealing it may seem to embellish your resume, it’s really not part of the job search game, and I strongly advise against it. Besides that, you’re one uniquely talented individual—and no other human on the planet possesses your unique set of skills, experiences, successes, and talents. That alone is reason enough to write a truly remarkable resume that will show the employer the value and ROI (return on investment) you offer them.
THE TAKE AWAY
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