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Advice / Job Search / Resumes

The Only Time It's OK to Lie on Your Resume

We all know that you absolutely, without exception, cannot lie on your resume. You’ll end up like one of these guys: outed, shamed, and ultimately fired. End of story.

Or is it? Turns out there might actually be one exemption to the rule. As Chris Baglieri explains in this blog post, filling your resume with fiction might be the perfect way to plan out your career path and set professional goals for the year.

So, bizarrely, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to lie on your resume.

1. Tell Big Lies

At the start of every year, I do this thing where I update my resume with falsehoods. I lie, intentionally and boldly: proficient in X; launched Y; led a team and successfully Z’d. I mold it to perfection.

What do you aspire to achieve professionally this year? Add it to your resume. It’s fine that it’s a lie, because for once your resume isn’t for a job application. It’s for yourself, your own career development. Take care that whatever you add still fits on one page—ideally all these ambitious lies won’t be lies for long, and it’ll be handy to not have to edit too much when you do want to use it for job applications.

2. Plan What Steps to Take

And in its perfect state, wrought with lies, I think about what steps I can take in the coming year to make it less fiction and more non-fiction.

Lying might be the fun part, but this whole exercise is only useful if you take it one step further and start plotting out how you’re going to make these lies a reality. What projects do you need to take on to acquire the skills you want? Who do you need to network with to get said projects going? When do you need to get started to feasibly achieve these goals within a year?

3. Make it Happen

I'm convinced this is the best career advice I have, a modern day version of ‘dress for the job you want.’ Craft your resume to how you want it to look, and then figure out how you’re going to make that piece of fiction a piece of non-fiction in year’s time.

The last and most important step is executing. Again, lying on a resume you send to an employer is unacceptable. But, using your resume as a way to hone your career development objectives is an interesting way to set yourself up for success.

Lying on your resume might not be a widely acceptable practice yet, but with this change of audience and purpose, one day it might be—and surprisingly, that’ll be a good thing.

Photo of polygraph courtesy of Shutterstock.