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Padding the Résumé: No Harm, No Foul?
Given today’s competitive job market, it
might be tempting to puff up your résumé. You certainly wouldn’t be alone in
telling fibs or outright whoppers. A recent CareerBuilder survey of 2,532
hiring and human resources managers revealed that 56 percent have caught a lie
on a résumé.
Candidates may embellish their skills or
background information to qualify for a position, but it’s a risky game.
Background checks are much easier now with the Internet and professionals who
specialize in sniffing out untruths. What’s more, puffing up your
qualifications may be unnecessary. The same CareerBuilder survey revealed that
42 percent of employers would consider a candidate who met only three out of five
key qualifications for a job.
After they have been hired, candidates may
think they are safe—but organizations often continue the checking process. If
hiring officials find a discrepancy in a GPA or prior experience and the error
is an honest mistake, they meet with the new-hire to hear an explanation. If
the discrepancy wasn’t a mistake, they will likely fire the person immediately.
No job seeker wants to be in the unhappy
position of explaining résumé errors or defending misrepresentation. Avoiding the
following actions can keep you off the hot seat:
· Enhancing education, grades, or
honors. Some job candidates claim degrees from colleges or universities when in
fact they merely attended classes. Others increase their grade point averages
or claim fictitious honors. Any such dishonest reporting is grounds for
dismissal when discovered. In some states (e.g., Texas, New Jersey, and
Kentucky), it’s illegal to falsify or embellish one’s degree or its origin.
Criminal charges may result from résumé fraud.*
· Inflating job titles and
salaries. Wishing to elevate their status, some applicants misrepresent their
titles or increase their past salaries. For example, one technician called
himself a programmer when he had actually programmed only one project for his boss.
A mail clerk who assumed added responsibilities conferred upon herself the
title of supervisor.
CAREER APPLICATION: Delaney finally got an interview for the perfect job. The big
problem, however, is that she padded her résumé a little by making the gaps in
her job history a bit smaller. Oh, yes, and she increased her last job title
from administrative assistant to project manager. After all, she was really
doing a lot of his work. Now she’s worried about the upcoming interview. She’s
considering coming clean and telling the truth. On the other hand, she wonders
whether it is too late to submit an updated résumé and tell the interviewer
that she noticed some errors. Of course, she could do nothing. A final
possibility is withdrawing her application.
Discuss Delaney’s options. What would you advise her to do? Why?
In a maximum 20-slide presentation, explore the job-search ethics issue of
résumé padding and the ethical guidelines based on the four bulled points