Stretching the truth- okay or no-kay?

For me the issue of lying on a resume causes mixed feelings. I am studying HR administration for Hospitality, so I know that as an HR manager, I would hate to see someone lying on their resume, but as an employee, I feel that sometimes carefully worded phrases that show you in the best light should be acceptable. As Carol Goman claims in her article, small white lies are forgivable and sometimes even expected of applicants, however major lies are more often than not caught and you will have to face the consequences.

I think there is a certain extent to which it’s okay to stretch the truth, if and only if you are confident that you can exceed expectations for the job. Small lies can usually swing two ways- either people feel empowered by their lies and keep lying, or they work even harder to make sure that they are the best they could possibly be.

For example, if I exaggerated, let’s say on an application for a field in journalism and I claimed to have managed a team of writers for the news beat while also doing production design, when I have no production design experience, and the job I was applying for asked for someone with production design, then I would seriously be in hot water. They would find me out, and likely fire me, with a mark on my record saying I was fired for dishonesty.

Even stretching the truth to some extent has its risks. You have to ask yourself- ‘If these new employers call my former boss, will she back up what I have put on my resume?’. This can be anything from your salary to your duties. It’s all a matter of calculating the risk and wording your resume accordingly.

While I’m sure most of us have experience with stretching our resumes, you need to make sure that what you’re writing sounds reasonable, and instead of creating skills you don’t have, enhances the skills you do. Please, do not be like the football coach from Notre Dame who claimed he held a Master’s degree when he did not. Such lies are blatant and will likely result in termination.

Personally, I believe that if you even stretch the truth on your resume, when you get that job, you should work as hard as you can to prove yourself good enough, and better than any of the other candidates who may have been considered for the position. Again, stretching the truth a little bit is one thing, and is acceptable in minor circumstances, but big lies are never a good idea, and should definitely not appear anywhere in the workplace.





Vass, Lisa. “Lying on Your Resume: How Far to Stretch the Truth.” Lying on Your Resume: How Far to Stretch the Truth. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.

Gorman, Carol. “The 10 Most Common Workplace Lies.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2014.

Bucholz, Chris. “The 6 Most Effective Ways to Lie on Your Resume.” N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2014

One thought on “Stretching the truth- okay or no-kay?”

  1. I really like the distinction here between “enhancing what skills you have” vs. a more creative bent with your resume and I think thinking about whether or not your former boss would back up your claim is a good guideline to use. As far as wording in general goes, I don’t find much of a problem with copy and pasting job descriptions or giving ones wording a slight slant of emphasis to imply one skill over another. Personally, with the job market as competitive as it is I don’t see how many prospective employees would have much of a choice, especially because many resumes are not even initially read by human beings anymore. Job posters shape the circumstances of the market and it is up to seekers to pick what they can manage.

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