It's best to be honest


If a housewife were to try for a job after a gap of 10 years, she would probably embellish her resume with the phrase “domestic engineer,” which simply means that she spent time at home with her children. If this appears to be a tactful way of wording an “accomplishment” rather than a blatant lie and may even bring a smile to your face, the same may not be said about the following cases because they have nothing to do with “putting your best foot forward” or for that matter “tooting your own horn,” but are serious cases of crossing the line – of falling into the “embellishment trap.” Ravi Verma worked in a company for precisely eight months. Two months ago he was handed a pink slip. On being laid off, he added the number 1 in front of the digit 8, making it 18 months on his resume.

The company hiring him turned out to be smart – it went in for a resume verification. In the end, Ravi lost out on a job opportunity… And also his credibility. Seema Rawat also did not wish to reveal to her potential employer that she was laid off from her previous job. She changed her year of post graduation and made it seem as if she graduated recently She did not get the job. The moral of the story is “it’s best to be absolutely honest.” HR experts point out that with the number of job opportunities slowing down following the downturn in the economy cases , of resume embellishment are on the rise.

If 30 per cent blatantly lie in their resumes, a greater number embellish them to grab the interviewer’s eyeballs. Studies too have linked higher incidents of resume embellishment to the downturn in the economy. The logic being that where there are few jobs on offer and more candidates chasing these opportunities, they are bound to go all out to “do up” their resumes in order to improve their chances of employability. What they per haps ignore is the fact that with increasing security concerns around the world, companies too are strengthening processes to adapt to the requirements of the present times.

What is embellishment?

Resume embellishment by definition refers to deliberate misrepresentation / exaggeration/ omission of personal information. There cannot be two ways of interpreting this deceit.

“This is a rampant problem these days. Job losses and the slowdown in the economy have led to an increase in the number of scams and frauds, and resume fraud or resume embellishment is one of them. As competition for jobs becomes fierce, the number of such cases are bound to increase,” says Ajay Trehan, CEO, AuthBridge, adding “We’re talking about everything from embellishment to outright falsehood – and it happens at all levels, all the way up to and including the executive suite.”

Concurs Ashish Dehade, MD West Asia, First Advantage, “As opportunities during a slowdown are less, there may be more ’embellishments’ per resume.” Smart ways to indicate you received a pink slip In these trying times when jobs are scarce, you may feel the need to pump up your resume to land that prized position but eventually “little white lies” about pink slips may catch up with you. So what should you do? “If an organisation had to lay off staff for reasons of financial constraints or market conditions which constitute 80-90 per cent of the reasons for ‘pink slips’, I do not think an employee has anything to hide from a prospective employer. He has to understand that in most cases it was never his own fault. It is, therefore, better to state that one has been laid off and I’m sure the potential employer will respect the truth.

If you lie and the truth is eventually revealed, it will not only cost you your job but also your integrity” says Trehan. According to Dehade, in today’s world, being made redundant is no longer a matter of shame – as millions are becoming redundant across the world. As long as redundancy is not due to integrity issues or any such negative reason, it’s best to say that layoffs took place due to downsizing in the organisation – which was a result of the current economic slowdown. Besides, the organisation’s reputation will be at stake in case it decides to hire someone with a questionable background. Brand equity and value can be adversely impacted if it is known that an organisation did not carry out due diligence before recruiting such an individual.

Also, remember that your resume is your calling card. An effectively written resume can help you stand out from the pack rather than an ’embellished’ notso-honest one. A single background verification can cost you not only your job but also your career.


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