When the job market is tougher than a One Direction bodyguard, bluffing’s fine if it gets you the gig, right? Not if you’re former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson: he was fired last May after four months in the job when he was caught out including a bogus computer science degree on his CV.
Careers counsellor Tessa Marshall says fudging your résumé is bad practice. “With Google, LinkedIn and other social media, it’s easy to get caught. Assumeeverythingyou say will be checked.”
But how exactly do you sell yourself without a little bit of embellishment? Here’s the lowdown on what kind of thingyou can get away with.
Hobbies and interests
“Don’t put anything on your résumé that might reduce your chances of getting an interview,” advises Marshall. So keep the more way-out hobbies, such as exotic belly dancing, to yourself. But you can totes throw a few casual interests in there to make yourself look well-rounded.
Also, sounds obvious, but if you list a hobby, make sure you really are into it, or you run the risk of blurting out “Opals” when asked what footy team you barrack for.
“Don’t include strengths or skills you simply don’t have,” says Marshall. For example, if your computer skills are limited, it’s best to leave them off your résumé altogether. Alternatively, “go online for some free one- or two-hour training courses to boost up your IT skills,” says résumé expert Roland Coombes.
Embarrassed about previous roles? Leave them off your CV, or keep the description brief. “Summarise ‘unrelated experience’ as a section in the employment history,” suggests Coombes. “But be prepared to elaborate: recruiters like to ask about unusual activity.”
“Many people lie about gaps in their résumé or short stints in a job,” says Marshall. It’s a no-no, according to Coombes. “Employers pay attention to dates as they denote stability and loyalty.” Only in a job for a short time? Just explain that it wasn’t the right fit.
Reasons for leaving a job
You don’t need to list this info on your résumé, says Coombes. So if you were made redundant or fired, you can leave it off. But never remove the job. If questioned about it, remain positive, as it’s unlikely anyone will dwell on the subject.
While you shouldn’t upgrade your job title, you can adjust it if it sounds weird. “Add the market equivalent in brackets afterwards,” says Coombes, eg “new category consultant (sales consultant)”.
This information is simple to verify, so never lie about your qualifications, education or course results, Marshall warns. “If you don’t have the qualifications, list education at the end of your résumé, so more emphasis can be placed on your skills,” says Coombes.