Should I lie on my resume?

Today I learned about a new website which for a fee, will fabricate job history, degrees, and references for a résumé. Their justification? “A résumé is not a legal document.” They even provide an answering service if a potential employer wants to follow up with a phone call. I was astonished that any company would be so brazen to attempt this outright illegal activity, and even more astonished that people are actually buying it!

Everyone has something in their past they wish had not happened. Very few people possess a spotless work history. Besides the obvious “What if I get caught?” concern, deep down you would know if you got a job under false pretenses. You would know the truth.

I have a friend in the insurance business. Early in his career, he made an error that resulted in a large premium increase for one of his customers. Instead of trying to hide his mistake, he made an appointment with the customer, admitted his error and humbly waited to accept the consequences. Instead, the customer admired his honesty, and told his employer he only wanted this man to work on his accounts, because he knew he could trust him.

Are trust, honesty, and integrity no longer valued in corporate America? I don’t think so, and if you are tempted to lie you may get short-term rewards, but long-term disappointment.

So what to do if you are currently struggling to find a job, and worry that your less-than-stellar work history may be to blame? This is not an easy question to answer in one posting, but consider these suggestions:

  1. Ensure your résumé is targeted to a specific job, and include relevant reasons why you should be selected.
  2. Don’t rely on one job search method. Instead employ a multi-faceted approach.
  3. Make the most of your personal and professional network, and expand it as much and as often as possible.
  4. If trying to change careers, consider volunteering or shadowing someone you admire in the field.
  5. Update your professional education to increase your knowledge and employability.

But never, never lie on your résumé, no matter how tempting it may seem. It is never worth it!

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