3 Dangerous Lies People Tell On Resumes

By Kathryn Tuggle for MainStreet

Lying on your resume is always a risk, but some lies are harder to uncover than others.
Applicants embellish their resumes to gain an edge over the competition, but liars beware, says Becky Parker, director of services and support for employment screening for human resources and business solutions provider Insperity.

“More and more managers are becoming wise to these schemes, with many companies implementing thorough background checks by a third party to ensure candidates are telling the whole truth,” she says.

According to a recent survey by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, 58% of hiring managers have caught a lie on a resume. Here’s a look at the three most common “little white lies” risk-taking applicants may put on their resumes.

 1. Job title and advancement
When an applicant has been out of school for only a few years but their title reflects a management role, it’s either a sign they are very good at their job or that they’re lying, says Tracy Cashman, senior vice president and partner of information technology at recruitment firm WinterWyman.

“If someone is three years out of college but they’ve got ‘senior manager’ on their resume, you start to get the sense that there might be something else at play,” she says. “You’re only going to learn the truth by making a phone call to the employer.”

Stretching job titles usually leads to lies about the candidate’s actual skill set, says Becky Parker, director of services and support for employment at Insperity. For example, an applicant might say, “I managed a team of 20” when they only had two direct reports.
“Was your applicant really an experienced national sales manager like he or she claims on their resume? Or were they a floor manager for one location?” Parker asks.

If you’ve been with a company for several years, make your progression of job titles clear on your resume, says Janet Elkin, CEO of staffing company Supplemental Healthcare.

“It looks better to show your progression within a company. Put your total tenure on the top and then add a line that says ‘promoted within the organization,’” she says. “Otherwise it will look like you’re claiming to have been a manager for five years when you really worked your way up from an assistant.”

2. Salary
Most human resources managers will verify your dates of employment and sometimes your title, Cashman says, but not your salary.

“Most HR professionals aren’t going to verify salary, but it’s not out of the question that your prospective employer could find out,” she says.

The HR world is smaller than you might think, and people talk. Even if HR won’t disclose your salary, your manager might. Also, you could always be asked for a W2 or pay stubs to prove how much money you earned.

“Is that a risk that you want to take?” Cashman asks. “There are plenty of people who would probably say yes, but I feel like it’s definitely an ethics issue. If you’d lie about this, what else would you lie about?”

If someone’s salary is not commensurate with experience, that’s a sign they’re lying, Elkin says.

“HR professionals know the market for your position. If you have a salary that’s way off from the norm, they’re not going to think you’re that exceptional, they’re going to think you’re lying,” she says.

If you feel like you’re underpaid, the solution is not to fib about your salary, Cashman stresses. Instead, detail the reasons you’re worth more.

“Do your research. If you’re being paid below market value for your experience level or if you’ve gone five years without a raise, then bring those things up. Just don’t lie.”

3. Degree or GPA
“This one is interesting to me because you either have a degree or you don’t,” Cashman says. “Some people say, ‘Well, I put in four years,’ but if you didn’t graduate, you don’t have a degree, and that’s easy to check.”

Occasionally job candidates will maintain that they had a bill that went unpaid or that they were a few credits short, but they still list the degree. That’s a lie, she says. If you have 102 credits out of 108 completed, that’s a conversation you can address in the interview.
“Yes, it’s possible to forget a bill at the bursar’s office, but everyone knows whether or not they got a bachelor’s degree,” Elkin says.

Sometimes, people who don’t have a degree will be vague about having graduated. For example, they might just list the university name but they won’t list dates.

“At first glance, it might look like they have a degree, but they don’t. A lot of companies screen for degree. They’re going to call the college,” Cashman says.
If you didn’t graduate but did attend some classes, be specific.

“It can help in some cases to list that you have some college, but under no circumstances should your resume include ‘bachelors’ if you don’t have one.”

When it comes to GPA, there is no such thing as “rounding up” without looking unethical, says Jason Hanold, managing partner at executive search firm Hanold Associates.

“If you had a 3.8 but you say you had a 4.0, that’s a lie,” he says. “That is something your prospective employer might not discover until after you have a job offer in hand and they’re confirming your degree. You don’t want to lose that job because you fibbed about a few tenths of a point.”


Ten Worst College Majors in Today’s Market

The value of a college education continues to be reexamined in the real world. In addition to being saddled with student loans, graduates and even experienced workers face a lackluster labor market. While a degree is still considered an advantage, the right major can make all the difference between happily employed and woefully underemployed.

Some majors are clearly failing in today’s job market. As many as 22 million Americans are underemployed, according to a new report from PayScale. The information firm polled 68,000 workers and found that 43 percent of total respondents across all age groups believe they are underemployed. The meaning of underemployment can vary by person, but generally includes holding a job that leaves you overeducated, underpaid, or not able to make ends meet.

Being underpaid was the primary reason respondents considered themselves underemployed. In the survey, 48 percent of women said they are underemployed, compared to 39 percent of men. The difference is not surprising, given that nine of the 10 most underemployed college majors are dominated by women. Overall, millennials are most likely to say they are underemployed.

“Our economy is still recovering from The Great Recession, and while some industries are booming, demand for work still outpaces supply for many job types and industries,” explains the report. “People who can’t find full time work in the field they went to school for often end up taking part time work, or working in jobs unrelated to their field of study. Yet at the same time, many employers report that they can’t find people to fill the jobs they do have available.”

Let’s take a look at the 10 worst college majors for today’s job market, based on underemployed findings from PayScale.

Ranking     Degree                   Median Annual Pay              Underemployment Level

10                  Psychology                           $38,200                                               50%

9                    Education                             $40,500                                               50%

8                    Liberal Arts                          $34,200                                                50%

7                     Graphic Design                   $37,300                                                 52%

6                     English & Literature          $39,700                                                 52%

5                     Sociology                              $38,900                                                 53%

4                     General Studies                   $32,100                                                 56%

3                    Health Care Admin              $32,100                                                58%

2                     Business Mgmt & Admin    $44,300                                                60%

1                      Criminal Justice                    $34,500                                                62%



The Top Paying Jobs For High School Graduates

Instead of volunteering in Africa or studying art history in Italy to build a résumé in the hope of nabbing a spot at an elite university, some high school graduates are taking full-time jobs. That way they can get real-world work experience and learn how they might contribute in a meaningful way to society.

That was one of the suggestions The New Republic made last month in an article about how college-obsessed kids may be making big mistakes by packing their résumés to the hilt with life experiences that have been funded and orchestrated by rich parents.
“Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications,” the article said. “They [the colleges] ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do.”

Maybe that’s not a bad idea.   But if you think your children or grandchildren should take a job for a year or two before applying for college – then they might as well aim for the best paying jobs out there.  To help find the right fit, CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International have found the best paying jobs for workers with high school diplomas, released in a new study.

As of this year, there are 115 occupations that require a high school diploma and pay $20 per hour or more on average, CareerBuilder noted. Of those, 30 percent typically require either short-term training or no on-the-job training.

Here are the 10 highest-paying jobs for high school graduates requiring short-term or no training:
• Transportation, storage and distribution manager
• First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
• Gaming managers
• Real estate brokers
• First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
• First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers
• Legal support workers (not including paralegals, court reporters, title examiners or legal assistants)
• Postal service mail carriers
• Transit and railroad police
• Property, real estate and community association managers

The median hourly earnings for these 10 jobs range from $26 to $39.27, which is far better than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. None of these 10 jobs requires training, except for legal support workers, postal service mail carriers and transit and railroad police.

These jobs may not be career destinations, but they’re certainly a decent starting place.


Avoid These Tricks That Make You Look Bad in Meetings

Ah, meetings. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Being happy at work is important, of course. Being with other people generally boosts mood, and ideally, meetings should be a source of energy, ideas, and collegiality.

But it doesn’t always work out that way. Meetings are also a place where people jockey for position, work out disagreements (nicely or not-so-nicely), and hurt each other’s feelings.

In one of my previous job incarnations, I worked in a meeting-intensive environment. After a while, I noticed that one person, when in a meeting, consistently made me feel angry and defensive—but I couldn’t figure out why. He never attacked me, in fact, he was nice to me. Or so I thought. Then I took a closer look at the kinds of things he said.

If you’re feeling annoyed or undermined at a meeting, consider whether any of these strategies are being aimed at you. And if you don’t want to annoy or undermine other people, avoid talking this way:

1. “I don’t need all the details. Let’s just get to the bottom line.” The speaker implies that others are quibblers and small-minded technicians, while deflecting the possible need to master complicated details himself.

2. “Well, these are the facts.” The speaker emphasizes that she attends to hard facts, while implying that others are distracted by prejudice, sentiment, or assumption.

3. “You might be right.” The speaker seem open-minded while simultaneously undermining someone else’s authority and credibility.

4. “I’m wondering about ____. Pat, please get back to us on this.” The speaker demonstrates his habit of reasoned decision-making, while making Pat (who may not actually report to him) do the necessary work and report back.

5. “You did a great job on that, Pat!” The speaker shows a positive attitude, while showing that she’s in the position to judge and condescend to Pat. (I must admit, I remember one incident where I did this very consciously. I was furious at someone, and at the next big meeting that we both attended, I gushingly complimented him in a way that drove him nuts.)

6. “I think what Pat is trying to say is…” The speaker shows that he’s a good listener and give credit to others, while demonstrating that he can take Pat’s simple thought further than Pat could.

7. “I can see why you might think that.” Variant: “I used to think that, too.” The speaker sounds sympathetic, while indicating that she’s moved far ahead in understanding.

Of course, a person could say all these things without being undermining. It depends on context and motivation. Still, it’s useful to think about how seemingly innocuous comments might carry an edge.