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Should you Lie in Your Student Resume – and the Consequences if You Do

November 02, 2015 - Posted to Dissertation topics and examples

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Should you Lie in Your Student Resume – and the Consequences if You Do

Many of you may not have heard the term “student resumes.” For those of you who have not, these are resumes that students construct when they are seeking their first career position upon graduation. They are called student resumes, because, in most instances, the only experience and/or background a student may have is just, well, being a student. And while a good GPA and participation in campus activities in themselves may speak to certain things (commitment, work ethic, well-roundedness), these are what are called “soft skills.” They are not actual work experience in the field. So, how does a student fashion a resume that makes him/her stand out? Many choose to lie about some of the background and experience. If they do, they need to be prepared for the possible consequences.

Those Consequences – How bad could they be?

It is a small world sometimes. And when you tell even what you may believe to be a little white lie, it can come back on you. The writer of one graduate student resume indicated that he had been a research assistant to his advisor and that he had also served as a part-time teaching assistant while completing his Ph.D. The Ph.D. was the truth – the rest was not. He got a position in research. A few years later, when his direct supervisor happened to be speaking at the university from which the student had graduated, somehow in conversation, his background was discovered to be false. He was fired.

Another student went an even more devious route. He was graduating with a degree in marketing but no experience. A relative had an old landline phone that was not even really in use anymore. So, they concocted a business, gave it a name and put a message on the machine with that business name. She then put on her resume that she had completed a marketing internship with the company and provided her relative’s address and the landline phone number. A potential employer “Googled” the company and could find no such entity. Then he checked with the Secretary of State’s website and found no company with such a name registered. The student did not get the job.

How to Make a Student Resume without Lying

First understand that there are two types of resumes – functional and chronological. The chronological resumes are for those individuals with job histories. Working part-time at McDonald’s during college does not merit a chronological resume.

What you want is a functional resume – one that establish categories such as “Skills.” In a category such as this, you can speak to specific coursework that developed skills related to the position. You can even mention the grades you got. All “A’s” in software programming classes, along with the programming languages mastered, will show an employer that your skill level is high, even if you have no hard work experience.

Another category may be Co-curricular activities. What campus organizations were you active in and what leadership positions did you hold? And you can use good action verbs to state what the organization achieved while you held that leadership position.

If you have had an internship with an organization related to your career – great! If you can’t get an internship, think ahead. Can you volunteer in a related industry, if only for a summer? But don’t put down volunteer work if you did not actually do it – they may check with that organization to see what kind of a worker you were.

Don’t Go into Resume Writing Blind

There are lots of resources online to help you with functional resumes. Your other source is any grads in your department who got jobs last year. Ask to see their resumes – you’ll see what obviously works in your industry.

The bottom line? You probably don’t want to take the risk involved in lying on any resume during your entire career. Consider the Yahoo CEO who was hired in 2012 and then publicly shamed because he ever had the computer science degree he claimed from years before.

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