How to make your IT resume stand out without lying

October 8, 2014

The recession brought about a climate of fear in which people from nearly every industry feared losing their jobs. As companies cut back on their spending and thus their hiring, job seekers knew they had to do whatever it took to stand out from the competition and land one of the few elusive open positions.

This mindset on the part of prospective employees created a nightmare for recruiters. According to one survey, more than half of all employers caught one or more candidates lying or embellishing their credentials on their resumes and their interviews. Dishonest job seekers appear in every industry, but the ones applying for IT jobs lie more than almost any other field. Here is how you can get your resume noticed without resorting to dishonest tactics.

Common tactics for resume embellishment
CareerBuilder, the author of the survey, found that there are a few particular fabrications that job hunters gravitate toward when falsifying their resume. Among the most common lies are an embellished skill set or responsibilities, false dates of employment, fake job titles, fake academic degrees and other distortions.

The survey found financial services, leisure/hospitality and IT reported a higher rate of dishonest applicants than all other industries. 63 percent of IT employers stated that they have caught a prospective employee in a lie on his or her resume.

Getting an IT job without lying
Aspiring IT employees are generally tech savvy and they know that their resumes will be first vetted by a computer searching for keywords before it gets in front of human eyes. IT job seekers will fill their resumes with keywords, even if it means lying about their qualifications, to get past the system. InformationWeek proposed a few ways in which job seekers can make it through the vetting system while remaining honest.

  • Use keywords correctly. Stuffing a resume with keywords is frowned upon by most recruiters. If a keyword-stuffed resume does make it through, the employer is likely to throw it away. If a candidate is an expert in Salesforce, InformationWeek wrote that he or she should use a few iterations of that word, like and SFDC.
  • Proper formatting. Make sure you have headings like "Job Experience" and "Skills" and write the rest of the resume accordingly. Don't put your skills under job experience and expect it to get noticed.
  • Be honest! Even if a candidate manages to game the system and move ahead, it is far more difficult to outsmart an experienced recruiter. Lies are almost always uncovered in the interview or within the first few weeks on the job. Candidates should make sure they are actually qualified for the job before applying.