Thursday, August 6, 2015

Counterfit Curriculum Vitae

If you've very applied for a job, you likely have a Curriculum Vitae, known as C.V. or resume.  Perhaps you've slightly overstated the significance or accomplishments, framed minor achievements in different light to make you look better.  This is typical behavior for many applicants (34% according on one background checking firm) who are trying to make a huge jump in their career to a position they may not necessarily be qualified for.

But inflating your accomplishments is one thing, but outright lying about past work experience, education, job titles, or certifications will quickly damage your reputation and disqualify you from opportunities which you might have been qualified without the lies.  The prevalence of lying is perpetuated by the fact that there is no central "blacklist" that hiring companies can check.  Even past employers or job placement companies will never publish any defamatory information in fear of lawsuits.  Thus, those who lie can get away with it time and time again.

There's no shortcut to more senior positions; everyone must start at the bottom and work their way up in any field.  Sometimes rising through the ranks can be greatly accelerated by "working harder on yourself than you do at your job" as Jim Rohn puts it.  But you still have to put in the time and on the job experience can't be faked or replaced by any number of certifications or degrees.

While I don't condone any form of truth stretching as I feel that lying to yourself erodes your character and is not living consciously as well as immoral and unfair to others you are competing with, there are HR policies in most companies that you should know about that some take advantage of.  The biggest one perhaps is that most previous employers have internal policies about not not disclosing any information about your employment other than verifying your title and dates of employment.  While it's not law, most larger companies do this to again protect themselves from lawsuits. This includes not disclosing salary, reason for termination, disciplinary action, or even recommendations.

What this means is that one could lie about their salary history in trying to get a better offer.  While this might work to some extent, prospective employers can spot this pretty easily.  It turns out it's actually best to never disclose your salary history to anyone as you are more likely to be hurting yourself in getting a better offer.

Your CV should be a two page summary that paints you as a superstar employee, focusing on your work history, education, accomplishments, and achievements.  Highlighting your pros is not in any way stretching the truth and is what your CV is all about.  In many instances, padding numbers like number of clients sales or servers administered doesn't get you extra points; the fact that you did certain tasks is enough to portray competency.

What inspired this entry was actually what transpired out of a recent round of interviews I was brought in to participate in as an expert.  A very strong looking candidate's CV claimed to have very high level certifications and a degree.  When I noticed some irregularities in how the certifications were listed, I started investigating.  Not only was the certification numbers not provided, but the school which they supposedly graduated from wasn't accredited to award bachelor's degrees.  When pressed, they admitted to outright lying.

Even if you are able to land a job by using a fake resume, you are selling yourself short.  Most likely you won't be able to do whats being asked of you and you'll become over stressed and possibly mess up and get canned.  You could be found out as a fraud after the fact.  You'll miss out on the growth opportunity and other missed job offers better suited for your present skillset and abilities.  

Don't shoot yourself in the foot, do your time at the bottom of the career ladder, but spend an hour or two a day studying for that certification or take special training or do school part time.  Bettering yourself is the only way to shortcut your ascension to better paying jobs.

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