Sunday, November 25, 2007

Honesty & Resumes

In writing an article for the upcoming issue of Resume Writers' Digest on "Competency-Based Resumes" (based on a review of the book of the same title), I came across a section that got me to thinking about how we've traditionally looked at resumes as a marketing document and not a legal document.

Competency-Based Resumes: How To Bring Your Resume To The Top Of The Pile

It used to be that the resume was not considered a legal document unless it was incorporated into the job application (for example, by writing "See Resume" as a response to a question on the application form).

But in describing the need for accuracy and honesty on the Education section of the resume, the authors gave this example:

"In 2002, the athletic director for Dartmouth College resigned after his employer found out that he had not completed his master's degree. He had made the mistake of claiming that he had that degree on his resume."

While I have always been a stickler for being honest on the resume, I've never found the "sin of omission" to be especially egregious (i.e., not including all previous jobs). But I think we need to be especially careful about how we position our clients.

Instead of using a commonly-known job title, we should use the client's actual job title (and then list the equivalent in parentheses). For example:
Sales Supervisor (functional equivalent of Director of Sales)

No longer are resumes strictly a marketing document -- they can have very real, legal implications, and we should treat them as such.

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