“How To” Guide on Writing a Misleading Resume
October 4, 2007
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled Silence Is Golden Rule For Résumés of People Who Have Broken It. It talks about a book written by author Wendy Enelow which seeks to educate ex-convicts how to mislead employers with their resumes. One example is of an applicant who put on their resume that they spent the last four years working for State Use Industries. This happens to be the state of Maryland’s prison industry arm.
While I don’t necessarily like the fact that people are being taught to fudge resumes, I think that this serves as an interesting case study. First, employers need to vigilant in checking references as well as conducting criminal background checks. Second, the author of this book should be careful about the advice she provides. Yes, people with past convictions often times have trouble finding gainful employment. This is a problem. However, even if the resume with misleading facts gets past the first stage, the employee still needs to answer the question on the job application as to whether they have been convicted of a crime. If they answer “yes”, they are still in the same boat they were in before sending the resume. If they answer “no”, they have now falsified an application which is usually grounds for termination. If the company runs a thorough background check and, or conducts employment verifications, they are going to find this information.
The author also says the same advice applies to people who have experienced extensive illness which has caused them to have gaps in employment. Maybe I’m naive, but lying and misleading about such gaps seems like bad advice. Why not write a cover letter explaining the gap? Again, if the employer feels like you’ve intentionally covered something up, who wins?
Admittedly, I have not read the book. Just the article as it was presented by the Wall Street Journal, but I certainly hope that the author of this book explains the shortfalls of engaging in practices such as those mentioned.