Avoid These Resume Tricks That Rarely Work


It always pays to write a resume and cover letter that are as honest and straightforward as possible. Sometimes, however, job candidates feel like they need to resort to trickery in order to get to the next stage and land a job interview. Such trickery rarely works; recruiters and HR staffers have truly seen it all. Here are some things you’ll really want to avoid:

Deleting Dates

During the Great Recession, a lot of people were out of work for quite some time—years, in many cases. Unexpected events and medical emergencies can likewise knock you out of the workplace for far too long. Some resume-writers with a gap in their resume are tempted to leave dates off the document, in hopes that a recruiter or HR staffer somehow won’t question the absence. But dates aren’t just something you can delete: They send up a big red flag that something about the resume is off.

If you have a gap in your resume, chances are you’ll have to deal with it at some point while hunting for a job. Prepare an explanation; don’t attempt to hide or otherwise misrepresent it.

Education Padding

Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo, had to leave the job after an activist shareholder firm alleged that he’d lied about his college degree. The allegations turned out to be true: Rather than the dual degree in accounting and computer science that Thompson claimed he’d earned from Stonehill College, he’d obtained “just” the accounting degree.

The discrepancy was enough to cost Thompson the job, and if a CEO can go down for padding an education, so can pretty much anybody else. Be truthful about the degrees and certifications on your resume; a lot of companies will check those details out.

Excessive Resume Tailoring

While it’s important to tailor your resume to the position, you can also go overboard: If every detail and bullet-point on the resume seems customized to address specific things from the job description—to the point where even your college-interning experience seems like a lightly rewritten version of the job’s preferred qualifications—an HR staffer or recruiter won’t have an accurate view of your actual skills.

3 Responses to “Avoid These Resume Tricks That Rarely Work”

  1. But the truth is no manager will select your resume if they see gaps , especially with consulting jobs. most employers are masking their eyes in order to get the best employee. they are looking at the beauty of the resume and for key words but not the exact content. they scan the resume in less than a minute. i still don’t understand what do they get to know that fraction of time. they are looking for key words , but not really looking at the dates. one more fact is 70 percent of the managers are hiring employees from a particular company in exchange for benefits.

  2. Scottyboy Tommytommytom

    Did you forget Scott Thompson WAS CEO!!! Who cares if he lost his job?? He never really would have gotten it without that, and all the F****** computer Whizzes at the company couldn’t decipher that fact from the interviewing process. Doesn’t this teach you one thing…? FALSIFY YOUR RESUME! These recruiters are sometimes getting 200+ resumes for a single job. If we assume 10% contain false information, 20 resumes… Which ones do you imagine will be the best pre-screening fits? Now they call 10 candidates they might as well be calling random ones because none of the ten are half as good as a random one but what does an HR person know.

  3. emilov

    When I read these types of articles… I have read dozens of them actually that point out the importance of the resume. Yet, none of those article explains how I found a UNIX developer job back in 2000 when I didn’t know how to work with the vi editor. And in 2012 they would not respond even to my application for a voluteer position…
    It’s the job market status that is as important as the resume.