Up-front clarification: I write resumes for clients as a professional, and I’ve decided I’m uncomfortable including information that is untrue, misleading, etc. I also discourage clients from doing it if I know they’re considering such a problematic course. However, unless I have a reason to know or at least suspect that a client is being dishonest, I have to take his/her word for the truthfulness of the resume contents. All I can do is refrain from including information I know is false. That said, I have some fairly strong opinions about the subject of resume padding, which has been prominent in the news so frequently over the years–very recently, in fact.
First, let’s define resume padding. As I see it, that refers to lies or exaggerations (a fancy word for lies that just “stretch the truth” somewhat) the job seeker knows aren’t factually accurate but chooses to include in the resume anyway. It does not refer to things like typographic errors (typos) that don’t get caught and corrected by careful proofreading. For instance, you could inadvertently type “increased sales by 25%” when you actually increased them only 15%, because the “1” and the “2” are right next to each other on the keyboard. However, you should be proofreading carefully enough to catch that.
On the other hand, when someone claims to have a certain university degree and knows he or she doesn’t–in some cases, didn’t even attend that university–that puts the truthfulness of the entire resume in question. What’s worse, it raises uncertainty and suspicion about resumes in general, many of which could actually be truthful. That puts an unfair burden on job seekers like you, who are trying their best to present themselves strongly to potential employers without crossing the line between truth and lies. That’s one problem with resume padding. There are others.
Here are just 3 more problems involved in resume padding:
Don’t let yourself get sucked into doing it! Instead of fabrication (another fancy word for lying), focus on creating and communicating genuine value–something employers can, in a sense, take to the bank. That can produce great results and won’t keep you on edge wondering when or how you’ll get caught.