Puffery, or Deceit?

Every recruiter and hiring manager knows that when they review someone’s resume, there’s probably a little bit of puffery occurring. Puffery is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act of an exaggerated commendation especially for promotional purposes.”

I know that everybody will speak as positively about themselves as possible, and might just slightly fudge the numbers. However, the instant that goes into outright deceit is the exact same moment that you get yourself in trouble.

As a career recruiter, I have reviewed thousands of resumes. I have seen more cases of resume deceit than I would care to count. Common areas that can spell trouble are:
– Leading the reviewer to believe that you have a college degree, when really, you have only completed a few units
– Overstating your title…don’t call yourself the manager of a department when you were really just a really integral part of the department

Another area that is much more common now than 5-10 years ago is what we call a “lie of omission.” In other words, maybe you took a job with a company that only lasted 3-4 months. This could mean that it wasn’t a match for you, or it was only a short term contract, or maybe you were let go as a result of a reduction in force. Either way, it’s better to mention your experience there rather than ignore it. Recruiters and hiring managers who catch this omission will wonder whether the applicant will lie about other things if hired.