Insight News

Feb 13th

How real is your resume?

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your-resume-is-really-you-on-papermake-it-stellar-rt101-photo2Job seeker "Joe" told me his resume is an "approximation" of his background. "You mean, you lied on your resume?" "Just a little," he replied, adding, "Nobody cares." Well, I do. And I'm guessing other hiring managers might care, too. Just a little.

Joe might think he has to lie because he has a gap between jobs. He'll list Independent Consultant as a job title and the dates will neatly fit in between his other positions. When I see this, I'm going to ask Joe who his clients were, where the companies were located and whether they have endorsed him on LinkedIn. If Joe really had been an independent consultant, he would have a more specific, descriptive title and (a little hint here) many successful consultants list dates that overlap other jobs because they did that work on the side until it started to pay off.

Instead, Joe could be more creative. He could leave the gap (I'm going to find out anyway) or he could account for time off by listing information about whatever he did during that span. Did he volunteer with a professional association? Did he write a book or blog to set himself apart as an expert? Did he take a class? Managers are used to seeing gaps, especially with the recession just behind us. The question is, What did Joe do when he wasn't going to work?

People like Joe sometimes list big titles that don't make sense in the context of their careers. If Joe's first job out of high school was CEO, I am going to have a few questions about that. Instead, he could be realistic. If Joe really is the next Tiger Woods or Bill Gates and got his start early in life, without paying his dues in the same way everyone else does, then he has a great story to tell and I'm all ears.

If not, then Joe might want to include some kind of explanation on his resume, such as, "Inherited family business" or "Small Company, four employees." Some people really do start out at the top; but it has to make sense for me. Showing a logical progression up the ladder is a good way to avoid this red flag.

Joe might think he'll have an easier time getting hired if he lists every conceivable technology on his resume. Instead, he might as well be honest. People expect people to know what they claim that they know. This "approximation" is easy see through and it's guaranteed to backfire the day Joe starts the new job.

The biggest obstacle between Joe and a great new position is his "fake it 'til you make it" attitude. Word of advice? Don't.

Julie Desmond is IT & Software Engineering Recruiting Manager with George Konik Associates, Inc. Write to Julie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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