Pinocchio's long nose

Accurate Dates on a Resume

Over the years, we’ve given a lot of advice on how to adjust your resume to be more appealing to your future employer. You should never outright lie, but skirting the truth and fudging a little are to be expected.

Changing dates is the most common technique. For example, you might say you left Company A a little later than reality, and started at Company B a bit sooner, to fill a hole in your resume. Or just eliminate the dates from your production resume altogether.

As long as you don’t go over overboard with these resume “enhancements,” no one is going to care or even notice that anything’s wrong on paper.

But whatever you do, however much you decide to play fast and loose with the truth, stick to your story.

The Interview

I have heard of several people who lied on their resume, then decided to tell the truth in the job interview.

“I see here you PA’ed on a big network show…”

“I wasn’t actually a PA on that show; I was really just an intern.”

“Then why did you put PA on your resume?”

“Because I knew it would get me an interview.”


This is not a scenario you want to be in.

I’ve also heard of people putting down on their resume that they left their previous employer a month ago, then told the interviewer they had yet to give the employer two weeks notice. You’re not going to endear yourself to anyone that way.


Keep It Small

Any deviation from the truth should be so minor as to be insignificant. Round the dates up a little, to show you have 2 years’ experience rather than 21 months. But don’t claim you’re an 8 year veteran.

Once you do that, commit. Even though it’s just a little white lie, admitting you lied on your resume will automatically disqualify you. Even though, I guarantee you, the interviewer’s resume isn’t 100% accurate, either. It’s just the way humans are wired; they’ll hold you to a different standard than themselves.

Ten years from now, you’ll be doing the same thing.

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