Truth in Advertising and Your Job Search

In the mood for a treat, I strolled through the store looking for something that would fulfill my craving. My eye landed upon a box that pictured two thick graham crackers surrounding a fluffy marshmallow and a layer of chocolate. The label indicated they were gluten free so I turned it over to read the ingredients and calorie count. Much to my delight, they were low in calories and trans fat free. I popped the smore flavored treats in my cart and made my way to the checkout.

Later in the day, I went to the cupboard to enjoy a treat. I opened the box and pulled out the container within. Within the package were broken pieces of thin graham crackers that did not even partially resemble the picture on the box. I tasted one of the treats and my disappointment grew when my mouth confirmed my mind’s fears – they were plain old graham crackers.

So much for truth in advertising. The packaging established expectations that the product failed to meet. Job seekers often make the same mistake with their resume. Many believe the resume is an opportunity to embellish with creative wordsmithing to gain the attention of hiring managers. The packaging may win you an interview but your product must live up to the label!

Your resume should be an accurate representation of your brand and benefit to potential employers. You want to deliver on the promises that are made in your advertising. If you have a passing familiarity with a computer program do not imply that it is a core expertise.

Lying on your resume is never acceptable. It is a waste of your time and disrespectful to potential employers. While your resume does allow you to sell your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, you still need to remain truthful. Hiring managers are the consumer in the job buying process. They are counting on you to present what your product will deliver.

My experience with the graham crackers led me to mistrust the company. The graham crackers on their own were good but not the good I expected. The inaccurate presentation gained them a first look with me but they failed to convert me into a customer.

You want the interview but more importantly, you want to win the job and establish a foundation for your new employer relationship. “John’s resume was great, but during the interview he was unable to defend a single thing written on the page. It was a waste of my time and made me angry,” commented Ann, a hiring manager for a large firm.

Joe came to me for assistance with his resume and I spotted some inconsistencies in his paperwork. “Everybody lies on their resume, right?” asked Joe with a laugh.  My answer of course was “No.” Lies will only lead to a trail of regret in your job search. If you have concerns about your job history or skills, work with a professional. A professional can offer guidance on how to maximize your offering TRUTHFULLY.

Be creative in your layout and presentation but do not confuse creativity with misrepresenting the truth.