Caught in the Act: 1 in 2 Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume

After searching for what seems like an eternity, you finally find the perfect job. The only problem? It requires management experience, and you have yet to supervise anyone or anything (unless you count that lemonade stand you oversaw in third grade). You figure, what’s the harm in mentioning on your resume that you’ve managed a team, if that’s what helps you get your foot in the door? How will the hiring manager ever really know if that’s true?

Turns out, it may be easier than you think for the employer to spot your lie.

According to a new survey, 49 per cent of Canadian employers have caught a lie on a job applicant’s resume. The most common untruths employers have discovered include embellished skill sets or responsibilities (58 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively), job titles (32 per cent), academic degrees (31 per cent), companies they’ve worked for (31 per cent), dates of employment (27 per cent) and accolades/awards (20 per cent).

How to flaunt your skills – without fibbing

If you don’t meet all of the requirements for an open position, it’s not always a deal breaker. According to the study, 59 per cent of employers say that if they were hiring for a position with five key qualifications, they would consider a candidate with only four of those qualifications, and 61 per cent would consider a candidate who met only three.

You know what is a deal breaker? Being caught lying.

So, how do you stand out from among your competition, without stretching the truth? Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada, provides the following four tips to get noticed for all of the right reasons:

  1. Tailor your resume: The survey found that 59 per cent of hiring managers would pay more attention to a resume that is customised for the open position. Bania says that customising your resume makes it easier for hiring managers to see if you are the right fit for the position. Plus, not tailoring your application materials could cause you to be skipped over by applicant tracking systems (software that’s often used by companies as the first “set of eyes” on a resume), which scan resumes for job description keywords.
  1. Add a cover letter: Bania points out that including a cover letter shows extra effort on your part, as well as gives you the chance to show off your personality, provide more context around the information on your resume and explain why you feel you are the best person for the job. And employers take notice: 52 per cent would give more attention to a resume that is accompanied by a cover letter.
  1. Trash “To whom it may concern”: Thirty-one per cent of hiring managers would give more attention to an application that is addressed to the hiring manager or recruiter by name. Sure, finding out the name of the recruiter or hiring manager in question may require some digging, but it’s worth it if it means you’re able to avoid a generic “To whom it may concern” salutation. Try searching on LinkedIn or the company’s career site, or, if you’re feeling bold, give the company a call and they may be able to point you in the right direction.
  1. Rely on the web: In today’s technology- and internet-driven world, if you really want to stand out, you’ll need to provide more than the standard application materials. The survey found that 23 per cent of hiring managers would give more attention to a resume that includes a link to the candidate’s online portfolio, blog or website. Bania says that beyond setting you apart from other applicants, providing this extra information can help hiring managers learn more about you.

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