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Lying On Your Resume

Many of us have heard or read the stories about people lying on their resumes, the jobs they claim to have had but never did, the degrees they gained from schools they never attended. The truth, however, is that oftentimes these lies work, they get the job, and by the time they’re found out we as honest applicants have still missed out on that role.

And there are dozens more at very high levels who have done this and been caught. The really interesting part is how big some of the lies are, one instance I’m familiar with the individual lied about having a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics – for those unfamiliar this is a very highly regarded school. As effective as lying on your resume is, it’s something that I simply don’t do. Instead, I provide evidence about my achievements. Perhaps not surprisingly qualifications are one of the most commonly lied about items of resumes, indeed in one study, it was revealed that 21% of resumes claim qualifications the person simply doesn’t have.

As I have qualifications it's really easy to provide evidence that I have them. For example, I’ve put a link to my master's thesis on this very website and will often do so in my resume, and if you’re really interested you can see my name on page 12 of the graduation program. Now, this isn’t me showing off, lots of people have degrees and or amazing experiences, rather this is me providing evidence that I actually have what I state I have. I’m also upfront on my LinkedIn profile (by the way if you’re on LinkedIn please feel free to connect with me) about what I’ve done and where I’ve worked, and I’ve made this all public – people can view my full profile without even having to log in to LinkedIn.

People lying on their resumes and winning roles is something that those of us who are honest simply have to live with, my way of combating this is to provide evidence that clearly demonstrates what I’m stating is true.

I hope that’s helpful for all the other honest applicants. For those who are lying, do the hard yards and get the qualifications or experience you’re lying about it, it really is worth it.

By Brendan Lys

Operating at the intersection of Human Resources and Data Science, I leverage extensive specialist experience within Human Resources, with the methodologies and approaches of Data Science. This focus on the discovery of actionable insights from data, has been applied to areas such as: remuneration & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, health & safety, diversity, and training. But what does the application of data science to HR challenges and opportunities actually look like. Within an HR framework the data we work with typically comes directly from our HRMIS, an advantage of using data science methodologies is that we can bring in additional data either held within the organization or from external sources - data which is out of reach from a pure HR analytics approach. Consider for example position descriptions, these contain a wealth of data that we typically ignore as its not in a analysis ready format. A side project I'm working on currently (April 2019) is using text mining on job descriptions to provide insights into which job family the position may fit into. The insights of my work have been enjoyed by organizations across a diversity of sectors including: Government (Australia and New Zealand), ASX and NZX listed companies, utilities, not for profit and higher education.

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