Is it OK to lie on a resume to make yourself sound LESS qualified?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 - CV Writing


Randy asks: The problem I keep running into is that I keep getting told that I am overqualified for the positions I put in for. Is it permissable to lie on the resume and make yourself sound less qualified, maybe even leaving jobs off that would make you sound too professional? I hate even asking this, but I’ve been out of work too long to really care, I just want to get back to work. I was laid off almost a full year ago, and still cannot find anything. I have started applying to positions well below my experience in an effort just to get back to work. I probably should have moved out of the Austin area when I still had the funds to do so, as I am getting feedback that the military background on my resume may be causing an issue for me in this town. Right now, starting over at a low-level position looks like the only option, and I am going through several different recruiters as well in an effort to secure a position. Just so that nobody thinks I’m being too selective, my count on jobs applied to since my layoff is approximately 1000. Everything from Director level positions to night security guard at a hotel. Obviously, overqualification was not the issue on the Director position, but on many of the others, yes. I have tried to make it clear in interviews that I am not looking for something to tide me over, or something to do while I am looking for another job, but I guess they have been burned too many times in the past to take me at my word.

In answer:
The answer to the basic question is NO – its a definite no to adding experience or qualifications, but selective focusing on experience relevant to the post being applied for is allowed: for instance, that’s what a skills focus CV/Resume does.

Secondly, don’t under estimate and hence under sell yourself. Eventually, you’ll get bored and move on with a lower skilled post – much quicker than you think. Find something which fits you.

And that brings me to the third point – there’s something not right here to not have found a position after all those applications, either in how you see yourself, or the approach you are taking: the recruiters you have engaged should have spotted that. I see this myself with many who have been out of work for a while, and in most its just a case of a 1hour chat to get them back on track.

Hence, rather than adjusting your resume, I think its worth engaging some outside resources, who can look at you and your skills to give you a better focus and approach. There are many services available for ex-military personnel, and also from the educational establishments you have attended – often for free, always at lower cost. You could also look at professional coaches, and recruitment agencies and head hunters who provide career management services – effectively a review of you, your career, your skills and what the market needs.

Don’t give up Randy – your persistence is highly admirable and employable. And don’t believe all these stories of credit crunch and no jobs – the credit induced froth has been been knocked off the top of many markets, but people still retire or have life changes which create new openings. Well focused people who know what they are and what they want are still short resources employers want to hire.

Good Luck – and if I can help you any further, please: just ask!

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