An interesting note in a recent edition of The Week magazine featured two short blurbs about the art of resume writing. One company that does background checks has found that well over half of all resumes contain false information. Background Information Services has found that most people stretch the truth about their work and educational credentials.
This one hit close to home for me. A few years ago I was asked to write a bio that would be sent out with a press kit for my new book, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. My educational background was, to be very kind, inconsistent. I was attention deficit before it was cool. Instead of having accommodations and testing and medication I was called into the guidance counselor’s office and chastised for underachieving and laziness. Those are indeed great motivators. I loved the line from Donald Miller’s new book To Own a Dragon. Miller was describing the difficulties of paying attention in school.
“I felt I was on a merry-go-round, hearing every fifth sentence. The rest of the time I wondered what a civilization of puppets would use for currency.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is my brain. I just spent about ten minutes wondering what the puppets would use for currency. Maybe string.
At any rate, I survived high school with good enough grades to pass. With a clean slate I enrolled in Marietta College with a determination to show I could do well academically. I stayed interested for one semester and did well, even making the correct Dean’s List for a change. After proving I could accomplish that goal my interest promptly turned to ping pong, pinball, and Strat-o-matic baseball for the second semester. Not surprisingly, I dropped out after my freshman year.
As I examined my educational credentials for my bio here is what I had to put on the table.
College drop out.
Marginal ping pong player.
1972 high game on the Play Ball pinball machine – Student Center, Marietta College
Not exactly Algonquin Round Table material. I would have loved to embellish the old academic credentials. But it was like my grandpa used to say when he noted that you can’t polish a, uhhhh, well never mind what grandpa used to say. The point is my academic career was spotty. Like Donald Miller I found my refuge in reading and research. I did learn that you never stop learning. And I realized the miracle of how God can use anyone, even a slacker like me. Getting puffed up with pride is not an option for me when it comes to my academic credentials.
Had I known about a company called fakeresume.com I could have pumped up the old resume a bit. The site offers a resume “tune up” that shows you how to fill in gaps in your resume, get fake references, and even get transcripts from any university with the GPA you want. Here is the rationalization taken directly from the firm’s website.
- The bottom line is if you know you can do the job, then why shouldn’t you fluff up your resume a bit? We all know a great deal of people who have held jobs that they were not qualified to have. Yet there they were day in and day out collecting big paychecks while other people corrected their frequent mistakes. This underground guide will teach you how to take your real life experience and embellished on them so you get the job you deserve.
- Can this be considered lying? Perhaps, but don’t you deserve a shot at a job you know you can do?
- What about your prospective employer’s honesty? How open and honest are they to their employees and future employees? Anyone who’s read the newspaper or watched the evening news has witnessed the lack of integrity that runs rampant in today’s corporate world. In my experience very few employers will fully reveal any unpleasant details affecting the positions they advertise.
Why not “fluff up” the qualifications? As long as you know you can do the job that’s okay, isn’t it? Lying? Well if you are going to get all nit picky you could say it’s lying. But I would simply suggest that you drag out the best rationalization of all for sinning. The gold standard of rationlization is justifying one sinful act because of another sinful act someone else commits. Companies are dishonest? Then you can be dishonest too. That merely levels the situational ethics playing field, right? The website has subheadings like “how much should you lie on your resume” and “how not to arouse suspicion”.
I have the answers to those questions and I feel pretty confident these are biblically accurate.
How much should you lie on your resume? Zero
How not to arouse suspicion? Tell the truth
In Proverbs you will find this timeless wisdom.
Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed. Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! Proverbs 12 NLT
Mark Twain was exactly right when he said, “when you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
So here is my resume with no embellishment.
Education: One year of college
Clubs/societies: Member of Sam’s Club
Job experience: Twenty three years of Texas Rangers baseball telecasts (enough bad pitching for three lifetimes)
Personal: Child of God and Follower of Jesus
Devoted husband of Joni (30 years this summer)
Proud father of three wonderful men
and two beautiful daughter-in-laws
Blessed with wonderful friends and work associates
Sometimes I wish the top half of my resume could be “tuned up” a little. But the personal portion of my personnel file is what matters. And there I am blessed beyond words…and that is no embellishment.