#7 Don't tell tall tales or lie through omission. Fabricating or exaggerating facts on your resume is the kiss of death. Just ask Marilee Jones, MIT's dean of admissions who stepped down after nearly 30 years with the institution amidst a controversy over falsifying her academic credentials. While outright falsehoods are rare, glorifying positions or accomplishments is far more pervasive. A good recruiter will be able to detect hyperbole, and when they do, they're more inclined to turn your resume into a paper airplane. The temptation to exaggerate is just not worth the risk.
Also avoid the temptation to downplay or downright avoid digressions in your career. Some professionals try to hide gaps in their work history by saying they "consulted" during those periods. If you have legitimately started a consulting practice based on your experience in the industry, fine. Put it on your resume. Many times, though, I see resumes where every two- or three-month gap is represented as a consulting gig. I know that those "consulting gigs" are code for "looking for a job after being laid off."
It's okay to have spaces in your work history. Many workers make multiple career changes in a short period of time. They get laid off and spend four months or more looking for a new job. Sometimes a new position doesn't work out and an employee leaves after six months with the company. Those scenarios are far more common than they used to be and no longer carry the same stigma they once did. You don't need to highlight these left turns on your resume, but don't try to hide them either because they will come back to haunt you. One of the first things any recruiter will do is check that the dates on your CV add up.
Most job-seekers, especially those in IT, can benefit from revisiting their resumes. IT professionals are particularly susceptible to loading their CVs with alphabet soup and not articulating the business value of their work. The dos and don'ts listed in this story should help focus your resume, whittle it down to the two or three pages that recruiters desire from experienced candidates, and ensure that it doesn't end up in the recycle bin.
Christopher M Palatucci, PhD, is the life sciences practice leader at Polachi, an executive search firm that serves clients in the technology, life sciences, venture capital and private equity industries. Palatucci has over 20 years'; experience in the life sciences industry, having spent more than 10 in operational roles at biotechnology companies.
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