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This is what you can (and should) lie about on your resume, according to employers

According to newly released data from The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly every state experienced record highs of unemployment in May.

Figures like this one sees our current economic crisis routinely compared to The Great Depression. While there are more than a few key similarities between the two, citizens have a much better shot at weathering downturn in a digital age. 

In preparation for a singly competitive job market, Ladders spoke with the folks over at MyPerfectResume about their new study on the ways in which candidates can give themselves a leg up.

“In a job interview, you expect to have time to accurately represent your qualifications. You explain your job, your experience, and give a personal account of your professional achievements over time,”the researchers beyond the paper explained. “Before you get into the interview, though, you typically need your resume to pull some weight. Without being able to provide context in person, your resume has to paint a picture of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you have the potential to go in the future.”

To conduct their analysis, the authors administered online surveys to 1,707 employed respondents via Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Of the 1,707 respondents polled, 895 were involved in the hiring process, while the remaining 812 were full-time employees.

Believe it or not, 54% of managers agreed that  it’s acceptable to modify your job title on a resume and 43% of managers contend that lying about a job title is justifiable when the title doesn’t reflect an applicant’s actual responsibilities.

However, not all lies were created equal in this respect. Embellishing an aptitude for certain responsibilities, fibbing in order to be recognized by automated hiring systems and lying to increase your chance at landing an interview were generally deemed to be acceptable forms of deceit—within reason.

Lying to achieve a higher salary or in the service of negotiating a better job title on the other hand were not perceived nearly as charitably.

“In the professional world, perception can be reality, and your job title is more than just a name. It has the potential to signal your skills and qualifications both internally and externally,” the authors continued.  “More unique or creative job titles may help you feel less stressed about the work you do, but they may also create negative connotations when you need to define your responsibilities or apply for another job.”

To be fair, nearly half of respondents who fabricated a detail or two to negotiate a lofty position were successful (46% of men, 42% of women).

Of course falsifying job experience does not exclusively mean making said experience seem more impressive. Sometimes a dense resume is actually a liability.

Although more than half of employers had no concerns over hiring an applicant who’d held a more distinguished title in their previous employment, 41% of the same demographic said that they’d ultimately be apprehensive about it.

Roughly, 27% of uneasy hiring managers were worried the applicants would be overqualified, and an additional  24% said they were worried that the applicants would be unwilling to do tasks they deemed beneath them. The remainder expressed concerns about being able to afford them.

Nearly 13% of respondents admitted to lying about their job titles, 38% of whom were caught doing so,”the authors conclude. “Making sure your job title accurately reflects the work you do is important both internally among your existing employer and externally if you want to consider new job opportunities in the future. And while employees working in smaller companies are sometimes less likely to see job titles as relevant, those who recognize their value are often more likely to be happy with their jobs and their compensation.”

CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com

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