When writing your resume, it’s fairly normal to feel disappointed with the way that your work history, or academic accomplishments appear. No matter how many of either you have to add, the anxiety of searching for a new job can make you feel as though your resume just doesn’t measure up. So many people choose to ‘pad’ their resumes, to make a more respectable document, more likely to garner the attention of potential employers. But more often than not, that’s a very bad idea.
In case you didn’t know the term, padding your resume refers to adding accolades that aren’t true about yourself. Whether it be false work history items, or false educational accomplishments, or even dishonest community contributions. All are considered padding, and are wrong in the sense that you are being dishonest to companies that you are trying to attract. Nothing really sets you on the wrong foot with a new company more than them discovering you lied in order to get the job.
Which is why if you are unhappy about how something appears on your resume, you should take advantage of explaining yourself in your cover letter. If you don’t like a particular gap in your employment history, you have ample opportunity to put a positive spin on things through your cover letter. The same with anything else you feel uncomfortable about, whether it be education, etc.
But mainly, padding is bad because it sets a bad precedent for your new job. Even if you get the job, you’re not presenting yourself correctly. That puts you and your company in an awkward position, as tasks you don’t have the skill to accomplish may be expected of you, and your new company is getting an employee that doesn’t have the skill set expected of them. If it’s found out you lied on your resume, most places won’t hesitate to terminate you immediately, so that little bit of padding can really come back to bite you.
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Writing a good resume is practically an art form, so it’s no surprise that many people forget, or don’t even know how to utilize the tools at their disposal to manufacture a perfect resume. You want to make a clear impact with the direction of your resume, but you also need to do so relatively quickly, as you aren’t allowed a whole lot of time in the consideration process to make your points come across. Which is why you can use a few techniques to your advantage to garner attention and make yourself stand out from the other applicants on the pile.
Being unafraid to get your name out there as much as possible is usually a very good factor to have in your camp when applying to a job. Work on increasing your online presence as much as possible, even Google your own name to see what pops up, in terms of your past accomplishments. If you like what you see, why not throw an invitation for your prospective employer to do a Google search on you, to look up past accomplishments. Nothing tells the truth like sources beyond yourself with nothing but good things to say.
Don’t waste your time writing about responsibilities you had beyond just previous job titles. Usually any interviewer can discern the information that applies to them from that alone, and your time is better sent describing the difference you made at the company, and what you accomplished. That’s what your next employer cares about, what you did at your previous job, not just what you were expected to accomplish.
Let your personality shine, so many people just send in form resumes, and that get’s extremely tired for the interviewer, and makes you appear unwilling to devote time and effort to a project. Write everything as you would speak given the opportunity to have an interview. This way you come across as a real person, and who you are is reflected as much as the abilities you can offer.
Finally, never underestimate the value of a few good references. Well earned and picked references can be the difference between getting a losing a job opportunity. Just like you would read a few film reviews when trying to find which movie you want to see, your interviewer needs sources about you, so that they can decipher what to expect and if you are the right addition to the team for them to choose. Good references are key, so always do what you can to ensure you don’t burn any bridges on your journeys through the corporate system.
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