Honesty Is The Best Policy

Posted: 5/7/2014

By: Elias Cobb, Quantix Recruiting Manager

I'm not sure why some people, recruiters and candidates alike, think it's a good idea to falsify information on a resume. I'm not talking about just inflating your skills a little (I'll address that later). I'm talking about flatly making things up! It's not a good idea!

Recently I have seen resumes that range from vaguely misleading to downright dishonest when it comes to college degrees and certifications. Candidates will list things like "BS Computer Science program, XYZ University." I can only assume they are trying to slip past the first line of screening and get to the interview phase. The problem with this lies in the fact that many employers will verify education. Now, it's true this person didn't say they HAD a degree. However, the resume was very misleading, and the HR person or manager may FEEL tricked at some point in the process, and that can only lead to bad consequences for the candidate. I recommend not having the letters BS or BA anywhere in your education section unless you actually possess a degree! If you want to list that you have taken some classes, great! Just list the name of the university or college under education on your resume, but don't list any sort of program or degree. I recently saw a resume that actually said BS on it when no degree had been completed. Obviously that's a terrible idea, even if a recruiter tells you to do it!

Image Credit: Brilliant

As far as certifications go, I've had candidates run into trouble when they listed certs on their resume that were expired. The client interviewed the candidate, then checked into their cert. When they discovered no record of the candidate being currently certified, they felt they had been lied to. That ended the candidate's chances at that job, even though they HAD the certification in the past. If you want to list an expired certification, great! Make sure you put "expired" next to it, like this: CCNA (expired). That way you can demonstrate that you have had a certification, but the employer is aware, up front, that it has expired.

As far as inflating skills and duties goes, I know it's a tricky situation. You definitely need to brag about yourself on your resume. You need to make very clear what you have done, what you are capable and where your strengths are. Some people don't do this well enough. Some people go a little overboard and take sole credit for group projects, for example. Or they list every technology at the company when they really didn't utilize them all. This is OK as long as you portray your skills accurately right off the bat in the interview. Otherwise as soon as the technical questions start flying, you will fail spectacularly and in embarrassing fashion.

So please, tell the truth on your resume and save yourself and the company time.