Ethical Resume Writing

In today's job market, having a standout resume is important, but it is more important that you have the skills to back it up.

Ethical Resume Writing

Ethical Resume Writing

Resume writing, like storytelling, provides a creative means to market you. Being creative, however, does not mean “telling stories”, exaggerating, or lying. Upgrading a job title, taking credit for a project you did not do, and adding education might get you in the door, but may end up doing more harm than good.

For many of us, the credentials listed in our resumes are true and accurate reflections of our work history, background, achievements, and accolades. For others, however, the truth does not stand in the way of a good story, and the resume becomes a dance floor for a waltz of imaginative wordplay that stretches the boundaries of truth to its ethical edges.

In a Wall Street Journal article, “Economy Promises to Fuel Resume Fraud (Nov. 17, 2008)”, it was stated that, “little white lies” on resumes are on the increase as the job market worsens. People who have been looking for employment do anything they can to secure a position.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and your resume is your first opportunity for a perspective employer to formulate an initial impression of who you are. Resumes should contain key words for your particular industry. For example, a paralegal specializing in litigation might list “drafting discovery requests” as a task performed under a certain employer if she has performed that task and knows that her potential employer is looking for a person experienced in drafting discovery requests.

Your resume should not contain inaccuracies or exaggerations of your work experience. In the above example, if you have not drafted discovery requests, do not put that on your resume. Likewise, do not enhance the education portion of your resume by stating you have complete a degree program if you have not received a diploma.

Your reputation precedes you, especially in a small tight-knit community such as Amelia Island. Misrepresenting, or downright lying, on your resume about skills or work experience will ultimately hurt you. Should you land the job you applied for and are unable to perform the tasks you so boldly included as being part of your skill set, your lie may be exposed. Explaining that to your next employer would be humiliating.

Employers are wise to creative marketing techniques and may perform comprehensive background checks when screening candidates. Credit and reference checks may be a part of a regular background check, and some employers take screening to the next level. Google searches may be reveal a list of social networking websites where job candidates post the status of their daily lives, including indiscriminate personal activities and photographs that they may not want potential employers to see.

In today’s competitive job market, having a standout resume is important, but more important is ensuring that you have the skills to back it up. The process of finding and obtaining a job is a job in itself. Ethically marketing yourself and keeping current with the trends in your area of expertise will put you ahead of the pack… no lie.

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