The Ethics of Resume Writing

By Jobma

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Sure, you want your resume, cover letter, and video resume to make you look as good as you possibly can to a potential employer. This is a given. But how truthful do you “have” to be while writing your resume? Where is it okay to fudge a little bit?

Because you’ll have to be prepared to back up any claims you make or prove the skills you say you have, I would advise you against engaging in any sort of lying, fibbing, or over-the-top exaggerating on your resume. Especially avoid the following:

  • Changing the dates of your previous positions to hide any gaps of unemployment
  • Saying you have a degree that you actually don’t have
  • Having job titles and descriptions that aren’t completely honest
  • Saying you have experience or skills in an area that you don’t have

According to an article by TheLadders, a survey conducted by online payroll provider, Sure Payroll, found that 79 percent of business owners claimed to have hired a job candidate that underperformed once hired, when compared to the information provided on their resume. That’s a lot of people that are risking their potential new job for the sake of a few fibs!

Think you can get away with sprinkling some “white lies” into your resume? Think again. According to the same article, 96 percent of HR managers said that their company performs background checks on every job candidate hired. If you know how to write a good resume, however, then lying is not necessary. There are ethical ways to beef up your resume, such as the following:

  • Prioritize the information on your resume to highlight your most relevant experience for the position you are applying for. There is no set formula for a resume. If your degree is outside of your professional field, consider putting your educational information on the very bottom of your resume and your professional experience, skills, and certifications sections at the top.
  • Focus on your bullet points. By adding specific details and accomplishments to these bullet points, you can really present your job responsibilities in a much different light. For example, change “waited tables” to “managed up to 10 tables at a time as the team lead (TL) server, seeing that all of my customers received their drink and food orders in a timely fashion and were satisfied by my service” (make sure this title and number of tables are true though!).
  • Compliment your text resume with a video resume in order to show off your soft skills, which you can only describe on your text resume.

With these tips, you’re ready to give your resume a make-over…the ethical way. Visit for more resume tips and career advice.


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