Even though it's understandable why some applicants would want to lie on their applications, it's never worth the risk. Most organizations do background checks on candidates so the damage to your reputation could be beyond repair if you are discovered.
While you shouldn't misrepresent yourself at all in your resume, not all lies are created equal. Here are six items that will get you in the most trouble:
- Job Title: Not only can this damage your reputation, it can also harm you even if you aren't discovered. For instance, if you apply for a senior fundraiser position but list your previous job as an executive director, it's possible you could be considered overqualified.
- Time At a Job: It's much better to address gaps in employment head-on rather than dancing around the subject.
- Skills: You're going to feel really nervous if you exaggerate your skills and find that you can't do the job you are assigned.
- Education: If you didn't graduate college, specify the year you ended and the number of credits you earned.
- Achievements: Don't take all the credit for accomplishments you've accomplished as a team. Organizations actually like it when candidates express their achievements with "we" rather than "I."
- Residence: It's true that employers prefer local candidates, but you'll find yourself in a bind if you list your friend in California's address on your resume even though you live in New York.