Embellish Your Resume Without Lying

Most of us accept the fact that, many times, a sales pitch tends to stretch the truth: That stain remover really can't make a grape juice stain disappear from white carpeting "like magic," and Sea Monkeys aren't really cute little mermaid-like creatures that frolic around in an underwater kingdom. But stretching the truth on your résumé, even though it is the equivalent of a sales pitch promoting you, is never acceptable. While you may feel the need to pump up your résumé to grab an interviewer's attention and land that prized position, eventually these "little white lies" will catch up with you. So how can you enhance your résumé without going overboard? Try some of these tricks:


1. Avoid half-truths and gross exaggerations.

Most hiring managers and recruitment professionals have had their share of résumés pass across their desks during their career. So they are usually adept at deciphering embellishments in a résumé. They know that spending the last 10 years as a "domestic engineer" means you simply were home with your kids.


2. Keywords can help your résumé stand out.

Rather than embellish your titles and accomplishments, use recognizable industry keywords that will jump out at hiring managers reading your résumé and communicate exactly where your expertise lies. Keywords also help your résumé get flagged if you're submitting it electronically or posting it on a job site.


3. Focus on quantifiable accomplishments.

Use specifics when detailing your past accomplishments -- the amount of money you saved the company, the number of employees you managed, etc. Rather than saying you saved the company millions, state precisely that you "saved the company $2.4 million." Actual numbers and percentages sound much more credible.


4. Change titles only if it clarifies your position.

If your title uses little known, company-specific jargon, such as being called an "office contact," when you performed duties consistent with an "administrative assistant," then go ahead and use the better suited title. You could list your title on your résumé as "office contact/administrative assistant." Of course that doesn't give you the latitude to promote yourself to "vice president of administration."


5. Address gaps in your résumé.

Instead of fudging the dates of your past jobs to cover an employment gap, address the lapse in your résumé or cover letter to maintain chronological clarity. For instance, if you were out of work for a year during which time you took courses to enhance your education or professional credentials, list this academic stint on your résumé, rather than pretending the period of unemployment never happened.


6. Half-finished degrees should not be listed.

If you "almost" completed your degree, you cannot list it as an earned degree on your résumé. However, no education is ever wasted. Be sure to give yourself credit and list any completed coursework in a particular major or concentration.


Next: Rock Your Resume In Any Situation >>


Copyright 2008 CareerBuilder.com.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

70 Comments

Filter by:
ryan

Rather than embellish your titles and accomplishments, use recognizable industry keywords that will jump out at hiring managers reading your résumé and communicate exactly where your expertise lies. Keywords also help your résumé get flagged if you're submitting it electronically or posting it on a job site.

December 02 2009 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
baltimorealana

lotta anger in this room

October 26 2009 at 2:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patricia houser

hey leroy, i agree about the work at home jobs, i dont understand why one would have to "pay" to get a job to work at home, i thought they paid "you" to work from home. every one i checked on had all these monthly fees attatched to it.and you are right, by GODS blessing is the only way i am going to find a job.

August 29 2009 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patricia houser

what happened to the good old days of going in person to fill out an application for a job, now most are done on line,my problem is this, you hear all the time,"dont put your ss# on an online application, but some companies, i mean reputable companies wont let you finish the process without it. do they not care about the phrase "idenity theft" what do all of you do?

August 29 2009 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruth Shapiro

Please help me view comments and reply to them from Althea, Sean and 6 or 7 other people. I'm totally confused on how to find their comments. I found Althea's comment to me but did not know how to reply to her. Thanks, but this is very frustrating and annoying.

August 27 2009 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ruth Shapiro's comment
patricia houser

HOPE THIS HELPS, JUST HIT THE REPLY BUTTON,THEN TYPE YOUR COMMENT,HIT THE ADD YOUR COMMENT BUTTON, YOU WILL RECIEVE AN EMAIL,HIT THE CONFIRM BUTTON, THAT SHOULD DO IT.

August 29 2009 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruth Shapiro

How do I view the comments to my comment and reply to these people? The article I commented on is: "How to Embellish your Resume without Lying." I received emails that Althea, Sean and others commented, and I can't find them on this site. Please help.

Ruth Shapiro

August 27 2009 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cheryl

I am 60 years old. Three yeas ago, I was fired from my job because of difficultiess between myself and my supervisor. I'm not sure how to embellish my resume with this type of negativity looming over my head. Also, I think my age and bad health is not helping either. My question is, should I give up and apply for SSI or continue to search for employment? Personally, I would rather work for the government but I keep getting turned down. What are my options at this time of life? It's scaring me. I'm thinking that my resume and age is my downfall... Yes or No?

August 27 2009 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leroy Hubbard

Hello everyone! A lots of comments to read. Guess what? I am not spending one dime to see how to work from home.
Second its rude to send messages saying a person does bd spelling. Be professional and you know who made the statement.
Resumes are important but see if you can get a friend or a ex-co-worker to write one for you. It cost to much to have a resume written and you may not get a job anyway.
I hope all un-employed can a job soon.
May God bless all.

August 27 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jane Kappler

I've been a recruiter for over 30 years and I have never seen so many resumes with false educational information.
Please candidates, those of us who are responsible verify this information. I don't just shred these resumes, I call the candidate and ask if they have any transcripts, etc. as colleges/universities can error.

The responses I have had are amazing, from records must have been lost in Hurricane Katrina ( college was several hundred miles inland) to "just thought I'd take a shot".

Please, be honest with the recruiter, sometimes we can get our clients to bend for an exceptional, honest candidate.

August 27 2009 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jane Kappler's comment
Chuck

A recruiter for a job placement service? If so how do I get past you proplr yhay will not forward my resume when I have outstanding qualification much more than people I know that were givin an interview. How do I get to know and send my resume to the company that actual is hiring. I see so many good candidates that would help that company out loose out on them cause the really good candidate can't fight past or dose not kiss the _ _ _ of the job service recuiter. So how do I get my resume to the hirring company and I do apply when the job is first posted and I also have my resume on file with the job placement service.

Thanks for reply! Chuck

August 27 2009 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bill

Welcome to the new job market of b.s pepole getting a job today no matter how much skill you have these ritch yupies are controlling the sheeple and want more controll, most of these managers don't know how to hire, or know a good employee if it bit them in the ars, they want pepole to work for less and do more , welcome to the commy economy, good luck sheeple

August 27 2009 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Aug 17 - Aug 24
View All

Picks From the Web