Biggest Résumé Lie (And Mistake) that People Are Making

 In Resumes and Cover Letters

Biggest Résumé Lie (And Mistake) that People Are MakingThe biggest résumé lie and mistake that people make is not something to gloss over. Time after time, I see this problem over and over again.

Intentional or not, I hope this post will help provide some education on this mistake that you absolutely need to avoid.

Here’s the problem with the biggest résumé lie people are making in their efforts to move up the corporate ladder:

When listing their job experience, if someone has held multiple positions at a company, they are “lumping” the entire duration of their employment under the higher-level position, and leaving out the lower-level positions entirely.

Here’s where the biggest résumé lie people are making is most glaring: You haven’t held that higher level position for the ENTIRE time you have worked at the company!

Example: I had a client who said that at her current employer, she was Vice President from 2007 to present.

I asked (like I always do), whether she had held that position for her entire career at that company (since that is 7 years in the same job, which is a long time these days).

I had an inkling there was more to this story than what she was letting on.

Her response?

Her actual work history looked like this:

Vice President, 10/2011–present

General Manager, 8/2010–10/2011

Senior Program Director, 4/2008–8/2010

Program Director, 3/2007–4/2008

The biggest résumé lie that people are making is that they aren’t truthfully reporting ALL of their employment. Instead, they are trying to capture the higher-level position and make it look “longer” than it really is.

But the real issue here is that there’s actually a BONUS for listing each individual position (in addition to adding honesty to your résumé!)

By showing movement upwards, you are telling prospective employers that you are PROMOTABLE… and that the company valued you so much that they moved you up.

Why miss such an opportunity to tell that part of the story?

And that way, you won’t worry about being caught red-handed in not being exactly forthright about your employment history at a company, either.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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