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Why lying in resume is a common phenomenon and why it should be avoided?
Can you imagine a jobseeker stating in his resume that he worked at Microsoft but had never heard of Bill Clinton! If that wasn't enough, another said that he had studied under philosopher Nietzsche, who had died in 1900. One man even went to the extent of claiming to be a CIA anti-terrorist spy, the only problem being that during those years, he was in elementary school. These are shenanigans of the unethical jobseeker.

Lying in resumes is common all throughout the world. Most recruiters have encountered it numerous times in their careers. According to a recent online survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 75 per cent human resource managers have spotted misinformation in resumes. The survey included 2500 US employers across industries of different scale and 221 human resource managers.

In sheer desperation of seeking a job many employees either tend to be economical with the truth or twist and turn facts (in other words lie) to make their resumes stand out. However, this practice more often than not backfires as only 12 per cent HR professionals would call back a dishonest applicant, informs the survey.

Jaclyn Jensen, director of human resource programme at DePaul University in Chicago says, "Sometimes a small lie is the path candidates take, but it's ill-advised given the ability to verify the areas people chose to lie in."

According to Jensen, since hiring managers are trained to fact-check resumes, most of them tend to go through the applicants' Facebook and LinkedIn profiles; and call their references to verify the submitted information.

Author Dan Schawbel, who's the author of the book 'Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success' feels that lying is definitely not the way to go, however, he also adds that understanding why candidates lie could be a way to correct the problem.

According to Schwabel, there are still 6.2 million jobs in the US alone for which employers can't find the right people.

Another reason pointed out by Schwabel, which compels applicants to lie is the ever rising expectations of employers. He gives the example of a McDonald's fast-food outlet in Massachusetts demanding a bachelor's degree and two years of experience just to be a cashier. In reality, the job market has indeed become competitive which pushes jobseekers to the brink. Gone are the days when you would find college dropouts flipping burgers at McDonald's.

The CareerBuilder survey also found that apart from rising expectations of education and experience, nearly 50 per cent of hiring managers spend less than a minute in going through a resume.

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder says, "It's important to be proactive with your resume and avoid embellishments or mistakes."

According to CareerBuilder, some ways to avoid lying and still standing out include showing involvement in your community, developing a sense of humour, dressing appropriately for the interview and finding common ground with the interviewer.

According to many experts, more than 50 per cent resumes have some incorrect information or discrepancies on them.

Jason Morris, president and founder of Cleveland-based EmployeeScreenIQ, was quoted by Bloomberg BNA as saying, "Fifty to 55% of resumes have something on them that's misleading. That has stayed consistent for the past 15 years, with slight upstick during the recession because people were desperate."

While some are just innocent mistakes like a typo or previous employment details of jobs left years ago, many resumes are laced with half-truths. Although a few such resumes go unnoticed, more often than not, smart hiring managers do manage to catch such lies.

Career coach Ford Myers, in an interview with Fast Company said, "It's not that people are being deceptive or malicious, often they delude themselves that their experience is more than it really is. I do believe in framing your experience in the best light. But there is difference between spinning and lying. If you lie, you will lose in the long run."

What do candidate generally lie about in their resumes?

Well, most job posting are accompanied by the required skill set that the candidate must meet. In order to make themselves seem like the ideal candidate, the applicants lengthen their skill set to the extent of impossible. CareerBuilder survey found that expanding the skill set was the most common lie found in resumes.

Next most common lie found in resumes is misinformation regarding previous job responsibilities. However, bragging about big job responsibilities in the previous organization can turn out to be a cardinal mistake. Tall promises might enable you to get your foot in the door, but things might complicate later if you prove to be a misfit in the role you are hired for.

Apart from these two major reasons, applicants generally lie about their educational qualifications and work experience. But this unethical practice usually turns out to be a no win situation. Remember, honesty is the best policy!

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