Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » Exaggerated Resumes Can Quickly Ruin Your Job Search

As you can imagine, lying on your resume is always a no-no. If you feel you must avoid the truth, then you are probably applying for the wrong job. But what if you want to just exaggerate a bit—such as switching your title to one that sounds more impressive? Or stating that you won an award that you were only nominated for?

The truth is, no matter how you slice it, there’s nothing to gain from exaggerating on your resume. But if exaggerating is out of the question, how can you make yourself sound more impressive? Take a look at a few ways you can make improvements to your overall job search without stretching the truth.

Use Action-Oriented Descriptions

Rather than relying on a skill you do not possess—or an accomplishment belonging to someone else—to improve your resume, try finding better ways to describe your current qualifications. This involves moving away from a responsibilities/duties-driven resume to one that is action-oriented.

For instance, suppose one of your primary roles was to file documents but you also had a great idea to develop a new filing system for your department—a goal you completed on your own. On your resume, rather than writing: “Was responsible for filing documents,” write “Initiated and developed a new filing system utilized by the entire legal department.”

In this case, the description is still true but offers more insight into your leadership capabilities.

Beef Up Your Cover Letter

Assuming you have included a cover letter with your application for employment, you can utilize this tool as a way to back up claims made in your resume while creating a more vivid picture of who you are as a job candidate.

Beefing up your cover letter can include telling a story about your love of the field and how you reached your current level of success. Or you could tell a specific story about a challenge you overcame and what you learned from it; this could provide the hiring manager with a sense of your diligence and also display your commitment to the position and your field as a whole.

Work to Improve Your Qualifications

If you’re not happy with your current qualifications, take time to improve them. Enroll in training courses or college classes that can show your willingness to improve your skills—and, of course, list your progress on your resume. This way, employers will recognize your dedication and your willingness to boost your value as a candidate.

Remember, exaggerating your qualifications on your resume is always dangerous. Employers have amazing ways of checking out your background, so the last thing you want to do is represent yourself as someone you’re not.

Instead, take pride in your current qualifications while working to improve those you lack. The fact that you’re working toward becoming a more qualified professional could be quite impressive to a hiring manager looking for an honest and well-qualified employee.

It’s important to remember to brand your resume before applying to each new position for more information on branding check out my recent article 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Josh Tolan on July 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Great tips for building a more action-oriented resume without the fibs. Another great resume trick is to make a video resume to back up your traditional resume. With a video resume you can show off your communication skills and personality faster in the hiring process. You can also give way more information in one minute than you can on one page.

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