Can I Exaggerate Skills on My Resume?

don't bloat your resume

Q:

I want to use skill sets that I’ve gained through my job to help me break into a new field. The problem is, those aren’t core functions of my job. How much can I pump up those responsibilities on my resume to emphasize my experience?

A:

While every case is different, you can “beef up” parts of your experience on your resume that aren’t necessarily your core job function. The golden rule is this: Whatever you say in the resume, you must be able to back it up confidently in the interview.

Let’s say your role as an administrative assistant within a small office sometimes involves assisting with sending out email campaigns or promotional materials. Emphasizing this skill on the resume would be highlighting the fact that you “support the creation and execution of customer-facing marketing campaigns.”

Exaggerating would be calling yourself a marketing director who handles all aspects of marketing, as if it were the core function of your role.

I highly encourage candidates to look at the different tasks that are involved in their roles, but not necessarily day-to-day functions of their job title, as that’s often where you can access transferrable skill sets.

The key is to maintain some degree of transparency in your resume so as not to confuse a potential employer. Don’t only discuss your transferrable skills and neglect your day to day responsibilities, even if you are looking to change careers. Instead, consider how your secondary responsibilities add value to what you already do, and what you can bring to an employer.

Your core focus might be administrative and operational support, but you also bring a basic knowledge of marketing, sales, and customer service. Are there opportunities in your current position to strengthen or build upon these skill sets? If not, consider what resources you can access outside of your job, whether it’s through volunteer work, side projects, freelancing, or additional training.

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