Resume Claims That Can Kill Your Chances

Your resume is an advertisement for your own career. And like any other ad, you want it to cast you in the best possible light. But when does pushing your personal brand enter dangerous territory? What sorts of claims risk your integrity, and what sorts of details are potential employers trained to check first?

This week, TheLadders put out a package called "Lying on Your Resume: How Far to Stretch the Truth" to get HR pros' perspective on what's beyond the pale.

How likely is it that your resume, job application and credentials will be reviewed for inaccuracies? Nearly 100 percent, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Ninety-six percent of human resources professionals reported that their organization conducts some form of background check on every employee, according to SHRM's 2004 Reference and Background Checking survey.

For some candidates, it doesn't take much more than a Google search on the applicant's name to find out the truth, said Jacqueline Hudson, a senior account executive at executive-search firm Renascent Group LLC of Fair Haven, N.J.

"You put somebody's name in and Google it, and it pulls up a lot of relevant information, both good and bad," she said. "Articles published, what professional groups they're in, articles written about their [employers] and how a candidate is involved."

Beyond that, most recruiters check references at every company you list to verify your duties, tenure, salary, even your W2, she said.

And especially in a buyer's market, even an innocent discrepancy may be enough to disqualify you. If a resume is found to contain a false claim, it "wastes everybody's time," Hudson said; ninety-nine percent of the time "the client won't start over" with the fibbing candidate.

This downloadable map includes seven of the top spots where resume lies lurk, including fabricated companies, bogus employments dates, inflated salaries and phony job titles.

Caveat venditor!