Crash and Burn: Toxic Errors in a Resume

Resume ErrorsHere are 5 errors in a resume that can cost you a job and sometimes much more.

1: Sometimes job seekers with extended gaps in their background try and fill them in by extending actual dates of employment by adding an extra month (and sometimes more) onto both sides of the position. This is dangerous. Some feel it is right to extend a date on a resume when it represents only a few days i.e. layoff occurred on April 25th and they put May on the resume as the final month of employment. I do not recommend this tactic. For me the best way to cover lengthy gaps in employment is to just put down years of employment i.e. 2002 to 2007.

However, if you no longer work for a company but are still on the payroll after you left the job I do not consider it lying to say you are still employed up until your final severance date has been reached.

2: Personally, as a hiring authority the error I hate the most in a resume is misrepresenting skill sets by adding ones you do not have because I desire them. Just as egregious is to intimate proficiency at something when it’s not so or overstating a skill set or the amount of experience you have working with it when it is not the truth.

3: The dumbest error I have seen, and the one that has come back to haunt more people after they got the job is to lie about their education and certifications. Almost as bad is stating you have completed training courses you began but did not finish.

4: Everyone knows a top notch resume must include Achievements, but listing achievements that are not true is not the way to go. I have seen too many people overstate achievements and accomplishments, or take credit for things they have no right to claim as their own. This is foolish and in most cases people are tripped up during the interview process when the interviewer tries to confirm these claims. To me the hardest part of writing a resume is gathering information and properly wording an achievement to sound as strong as possible without crossing the line between fact and fiction.

5: While on the topic of Achievements, this final point is one people (and professional resume writers) often fail to consider and it can be potentially costly if you’re caught. For many of you, especially in sales or in positions related to the sales process and for managers and top executives, your achievements may be extraordinary but they may also be proprietary information. When you convey these achievements in writing you must be careful not to disclose information that you can be sued for or that others may consider unprofessional i.e. client names, specific contacts, and proprietary figures as related to sales volume, revenue and specific contract figures etc. Some information may be protected in an employment contract and using it to boost your value may be grounds for a lawsuit against you.

As always I am available to review US resumes if you email it to

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