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Top 5 Reasons It’s Okay To Lie On Your Resume*

Listen, Donald Trump is president (Yours, not mine). As far as what’s to come, all bets are off.

Which to me means that something that may have been taboo last year, should be looked at with a new set of eyes. Take for instance, lying on your resumé. While some people would advocate the teensiest bit of resumé padding, I say FAUX HARD OR GO HOME!!! Didn’t they say your college GPA may matter to future employers? Weren’t you told that having too many jobs on your resume would make you look frantic? Turns out it doesn’t. It only diversifies your work experience and makes you a well versed candidate.

If all millennials followed the advice of people who entered into the work force in the 90’s we’d all be screwed. Whether it was well intentioned or not, we were basically lied to. Okay, maybe “lied to” is not the right phrasing. Sure, industries change and over a period of time what was once solid advice becomes inapplicable. It happens, but it doesn’t make you any more employable. So fuck it… Here are the Top 5 Reasons It’s Completely Okay to Lie On Your Resumé!

5. I’m Sorry. Did I miss the Microsoft Excel Class They Offered At School?

A lot of companies stress that you know Microsoft Office because it is highly used in workplace environments. Its also seen as the most basic of basic skills an employee should have, but at what point in our lives where we supposed to learn this shit. Most people learned how to use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint when they were asked to turn in a paper, spreadsheet, or presentation. Most people just cross the Microsoft Office bridge when they get to it, and either teach themselves or enlist someone to teach them. It’s not a skill most people are taught in school unless in an elective computer class.

I myself was an African American studies major in college who relied heavily on MS Word and MS PowerPoint, but was never ever asked to create a spreadsheet in my entire life! So in my first post-graduate job interview when I was asked how proficient I was at Microsoft Excel and Outlook, you know what I said? I looked them right in the face and told them that not only was I was an expert at Excel, but that I created a spreadsheet template that my collegiate department still uses to this day.  Was that a lie? Of course it was! An impressive one at that. Did I feel bad? Absolutely not. I have a degree in African American Studies, my name is Jamela Zarha, and I’m $32,000 in school debt. The odds were stacked against me and I needed that job! After I got it, the first thing I did was Google how to use Excel and found out that Google spreadsheets is way more user friendly. Teaching myself was a piece of cake.

My point is that if you get to something in a job description that you don’t know, but are confident you can learn it quickly, go ahead and throw it on your list of qualifications. Just know that when asked, you’re going to be expected to produce.

4. Put Down The Title That Correlates With The Type of Work You’re Doing.

I firmly believe that it’s okay for a resume to include some type of embellishment, but “embellishment” is the keyword. I’m not advocating outright Fantasy Fiction. If you weren’t that CEO of your last company or any any administrative role, then please do not list it as your title on your resume. However, in my experience working in corporate environments, a lot of companies will withhold a promotion from deserving employees in an effort to maximize production while saving money. It’s completely unfair and it doesn’t make you attractive to future employers. Which is why I say, in terms of your resume. list the title that best correlates to the work that you are doing. If you have been a full time social media intern for months and you are the only one creating posts for the company’s social pages, then you aren’t really an intern are you? Nope! You’re a fucking Social Media Coordinator.

Now just to warn you, there is a chance that if you list that company as a reference they might out you and give up your real title. Just be prepared with receipts as to why you chose to refer to yourself the way you listed on your resume. With enough evidence in your portfolio, it will be clear to your employers that the title was a political tug-of war and had nothing to do with your actual skill set.

3. No One At Your Last Job Remembers The Exact Dates You Worked There!

More than likely, unless you work in the Human Resources industry, you’re not going to list the HR rep at your last company as a reference. You’re probably going to list a colleague, or a supervisor and I guarantee they have no idea what day/week/or month you started. They have a vague sensibility of when it was you probably started, so I say blur those dates on your resume playa! Lets say you started your last job on January 5th, 2015 and it’s currently 2017. That’s only 2 years! But you probably got your offer and started on-boarding in December of 2014. No one starts a job the same day they’re hired unless you’re working at an under-staffed Chipotle. To an employer, saying that you started in 2014 versus 2015, looks more substantial when it’s now 2017.  Just don’t be so out of the ball park with your dates of employment that your reference can say with certainty  you’re lying. Getting caught is not a good look.

2. If It’s Important, Even If You Only Did It Once, Go Ahead And List It.

I spent a few years working as an associate at a major television news outlet in D.C. One year during one of the Christmas concerts on the White House lawn, I was tasked with unloading a van full of decor and gifts for the on-site guest suite. In the midst of bringing the last of the items into the green-room, legendary songstress Patti Labelle walked in.  As I continued to unpack the boxes, a few moments later she turned to me and asked if we had any hot tea. “Sure, Mrs. Labelle” I said before frenetically looking for tea bags. Once I finally found a bag of green tea and prepared it for her, she kindly thanked me and went about her business.

Since that day, I have listed ‘Guest Management’ on my resumé as one of my many skills. Sure, I only got tea for Pattie Labelle once but it was a critical moment that totally aided her ability to perform that night. The important thing to remember is that before I put guest management as a skill on my resumé, I looked up what it meant in my industry. After putting it on my resumé for several years, I realized that even before I had gotten Patti Labelle hot tea, I had checked co-worker’s guests into the newsroom. I had showed nightly news contributors where the bathroom was. I even shuttled a few reporters to their hotel rooms to grab last minute things they had left behind. My lie had come to fruition just by realizing what guest management really means. My point is, there are probably a lot of things you have done in your career that weren’t in your job description or seem two mundane to list. Do not ignore them! If your boss ever asked you to find a place that can cater Indian Food to the office, then guess what? You’re a Location Scout. Go ahead and put it on the rez’!

1. Climbing The Corporate Ladder is A Game. It’s Not Lying, It’s Strategy.

When applying to a job, especially in a major city, you’re pretty much in a sea of candidates. Some have more experience than you. Some went to a more notable University than you. It’s nearly impossible to go into a hiring situation knowing precisely what they are looking for.

You might as well make yourself into the ideal candidate that you believe you can be, even if that isn’t who you are now. You may not know how to use photoshop now, but tell them you’re a Photoshop pro and become one. Study as many YouTube tutorials, and play around with design as much as you can before your second interview.

All I’m saying is it would really suck if you didn’t get that job because they wanted someone with five years experience, and your righteous ass resumé only lists two. In terms of job hunting, these days it’s chess not checkers. So dust off that resumé and reasonably exaggerate your way to a bigger paycheck!*



*Editors Note: I ain’t shit ¯\_(ツ)_/¯