Don’t Let Your Resume Look Like a Scam

I see a lot of resumes, more than I care to admit, and between us, sometimes I even dream about them. The problem with resumes in general is that 98% of them look virtually the same. Granted, there is only so much you can do with a couple of sheets of white paper (or perhaps ivory if you dare) and Times New Roman (Palatino Linotype anyone).

Since everyone thinks that most resumes look the same, a common pitfall for those who choose to write their own resumes is to “accentuate” their accomplishments. We all know that accomplishments are important to emphasize on your resume but how you do it can have a huge impact on the recruiter who is reading it.

I’m always reminded of the old joke, “I’ve told you a billion times not to exaggerate” but what happens when you really do have some extraordinary accomplishments that could be perceived as an over-exaggeration, scam or outright un-truth?

You have all heard about red flags in a resume, and if you haven’t check out my webinar, What A Recruiter Really Thinks About Your Resume. Usually these “red flags” are omissions (missing dates) or the attempt to cover something up on your resume such as employment gaps or a 9 month employment stint.

We don’t often acknowledge that when I get a resume from Tom that says “Tripled Sales 3 years in a row” my eyebrows raise. I immediately think scam…Get Rich Quick by Clicking Here. If Tom is that good, why does he even need a resume is usually my first thought.

Normally I don’t advocate that you explain the “how” in a resume. I suggest you save that for the interview.

• Increased sales 12% to $14 million in 2010.
If your prospective new employer wants to know how you did that in a down-trending cycle, they should invite you in and ask you. BTW, that is how you get an interview.
The one time I do suggest you explain the “how” is when it simply is unbelievable without context.

• Tripled sales in 2010 to $14 million by incorporating an internal sales staff to qualify incoming leads.
If you have really done your homework and you know that the company you are sending this resume to needs to take the same exact path to grow their business, who do you think they will invite in for an interview?
Need help with your professional branding? Email me at

Brad Attig has 12 years of talent acquisition experience including 4 years working with high level executives crafting personal job search strategies and 8 years of recruiting for a top boutique retail recruitment firm. Brad's expertise includes personal branding, social media strategy, and locating top passive talent. Prior, Brad held key merchandising positions with top retailers including Macy's and Target.

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Originally appears on the Ivy Exec Blog

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