We’ve written a novel’s worth of material at this point on why it’s a bad idea to lie on your resume, but what about when your actual skill set doesn’t seem to be getting you in the door?
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That’s the question a Lifehacker reader posed to blogger Adam Dachis. His answer?
“When it comes to resumes, and many other things, you can’t look at every statement as black and white,” he writes. “You never want to outright lie on your resume, but you do want to paint the best picture of yourself. This sometimes means leaving out certain information or finding the right angle for your experience.”
So how can you not-quite-lie most effectively?
1. Be selective.
Don’t feel that you have to include every job, responsibility and title in your CV. Think of your resume as a story, not a timeline. Leave out the stuff that could make you look bad, like the job you had for six weeks.
2. Never lie about your job titles.
Polish what you have, rather than making stuff up out of whole cloth. Not only is it ethically sound, but it’s just good salesmanship. Remember to use active words to describe what you did and take credit for your contributions to your companies’ successes. Now is not the time to be modest.
3. If you have to push the truth, do it with skills you can learn.
Dachis admits that this technique comes with “sizable risk” and advises the reader to use it sparingly. Don’t, for example, claim to know a programming language if you’ve never used it before.
The bottom line is that while lying is always a bad idea, selectively presenting the truth isn’t even dishonest. Nowadays, it’s just part of getting a job.
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