Lying On Your Resume? 15 Ways They Can Tell

January 28, 2015  |  
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Inflating the details on your resume is no big deal. But applicants who inflate their resumes with these fibs run the risk of getting caught lying on their resumes. Here are the biggest lies employers find on resumes and how they can tell.

Vague Language

Weak phrases like “responsible for” make you sound like you only have a vague idea of what the position entailed.

Stronger, more specific words like “managed a team,” or “improved sales” make you sound more like an active employee rather than one who is exaggerating their duties.

Now-Closed “Work Experience”

One common resume fib is padding your experience at a now-closed workplace. But did you know that some hiring firms will go as far as to search LinkedIn for other former employees and call them. And if they don’t corroborate your story, you’re busted.

Leaving Out The Dates

This employment-gap covering method is so common that it can be a red flag that the applicant is hiding something.

Instead of fudging the numbers, fill those gaps with volunteer work or independent projects. You’ll look more well-rounded and less like you’re hiding hiccups in your past.

Padding Your Job Title

Tacking on “manager” or “senior” to an old job title is another common resume stretcher. But if your graduation date suggests that you’re much too young to have that much experience already, an inflated title can raise a lot of red flags — unless you have the work experience to back it up.

Stuffing The Skills Section

A laundry list of skills, certification or programs in your skills section is another red flag for potential employers. As one recruiter put it, “no one can possibly have that much exposure.”

Instead of stuffing the section with buzzwords that recruiters might like, stick to just a few skills that are relevant to the position.

Copying Relevant Resumes

Using an industry resume as a guide is a great idea. Pasting your name to the top of an existing resume is a great way to get yours — and the other identical resumes the recruiter has seen — thrown out.

A Fulfilled Objective

Vigilant recruiters will even look at your objective for signs that employees are covering up a hasty exit from their last position.

If a resume says “to work at a prestigious company” and you just left one last week, recruiters wonder “what happened?” and may throw the resume out instead of going the extra mile to find out why you left.

The Cover-Letter Overshare

Explaining the extenuating circumstances behind the end of your last stretch of employment makes recruiters nervous. Even if you’re reasons are justified, listing them at all makes it sound like you’re covering something questionable in your employment history.

It’s better to leave it out of your cover letter entirely and save your explanations for the interview.

Executive Job Titles For An Entry-Level Position

Job titles padded with managerial and executive positions submitted for mid and entry level jobs can make you look suspiciously overqualified for the position.

Some employers will wonder what you’re hiding in your employment history that gave you a reason to take a big step down.

“Don’t Contact My Former Employers”

Some job seekers simply don’t want their current employers to know that they’re looking. But recruiters know that other job seekers use the “don’t contact” excuse to hide the fact that they just got fired.

Inflated Salaries

Adding dollars to your last salary can backfire, especially if your qualifications only qualify you for a job that pays much less. Employers will wonder why you’re willing to take a step down in salary and may conclude that it’s because you inflated your last numbers in the first place — especially if they can’t confirm those numbers because the company is now out of business.

Fluent Languages

People exaggerate language fluency on resumes so often that some employers will check to make sure these claims are true — even if they have nothing to do with the position.

During The Interview

Some employers know basic lie-detecting cues. Applicants who have trouble making eye contact, look nervous or can’t corroborate their employment history might be passed over.

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