Hiring managers see a lot of resumes so it can be maddening trying to figure out how to set yours apart from the pile. But if you’re thinking about creatively padding (aka, lying) on your resume, think again. Seasoned hiring managers are good at separating fact from fiction, so don’t think your four years spent as a ‘sanitation engineer’ will fool them.
According to CareerBuilder, more than 2,500 hiring managers reported that nearly 60 percent of candidates have been caught lying on their resume. At the top of the fib list is embellishing skills and/or capabilities. Candidates also appear to take liberties when it comes to GPA, job titles (see above), and academic degrees they’ve earned. And the job candidates that seem to stretch the truth more than others? Those in the IT field. Luckily, there are ways you can stand out, without having to resort to lying.
3 Ways to Keep Your Resume Honest
3 – List What You’ve Finished
Whether you’re a week, month, or a year from completing your degree, if you’re not finished with it, do not list it as an earned degree on your resume. Instead, list what you have completed such as coursework in a particular major or concentration.
2 – Quantify Your Accomplishments
Never be vague when talking about your achievements. Instead, be as specific (and truthful) as you can. Actual numbers and percentages add credibility to your resume. For example, saying you helped increase productivity in the department by five percent carries more weight than phrasing it as the department saw an uptick in productivity during your time there.
And the best way to stand out is…
1 – Use the Right Keywords
By now you should be familiar with ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems. This program looks for relevant keywords to help companies whittle through their massive resume piles. Using the right industry keywords shows hiring managers that you have done your due diligence and effectively communicate where your expertise lies. Taking this route will probably give you the biggest advantage over candidates who don’t research and are trying to beat the ATS by loading their resumes with keywords.
Address the Gaps
There may be times in your career where you experience an employment gap. Even as you’re trying to land that first job out of school, you may find yourself waiting longer than you’d like. Instead of ignoring your gap, or worse, fudging it, address the lapse head on. You can do this briefly in your cover letter and in a little more detail on your resume. Let’s say you find yourself out of work and decide to use that unexpected free time to enhance your professional credentials by taking a certificate course. Or perhaps you pick up a couple of classes to further complement your educational background. List these stints on your resume rather than ignoring your period of unemployment completely. Remember, hiring managers will spot the gaps, so better to have information there for the sake of chronological clarity than to leave it blank.