Resume Padding While Maintaining Integrity

It’s becoming more common for prominent people, from coaches to politicians, to get caught stretching the truth regarding past work. These illustrative cases should serve as ethical examples to remind us that lying on your resume is a huge no-no.


We live in an age of instantaneous information. A quick Google search or phone call can confirm or disprove anything you put on your resume. That being said, you also don’t want to sell yourself or your achievements short. So how do you confidently tout your qualifications without misrepresenting the facts? How do you effectively sell yourself without selling your soul in the process? We have four ways to enhance your resume that won’t compromise your conscience.
1. Don’t neglect volunteer experience
Almost everyone has volunteered at some point, so remember to include these often-overlooked experiences on your resume. Make a list of things you have done, even if they were one-offs. Start a GoFundMe for a friend in need or coordinate a donation drive for a cause about which you feel strongly. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it illustrates your proactive nature, leadership ability and organizational skills. It also demonstrates a healthy concern for your community and those in need.
Include ongoing volunteer engagements in the same manner as you would a job. If you have several of these, think about dedicating a unique section in your resume to your volunteering experience. Make sure you list your accomplishments and responsibilities just as you would with any other job role. If you had a supervisor in any of these roles, request to use them as a reference or even ask them to compose a recommendation letter on your behalf.
If you don’t have a lot of employment experience at the moment, start volunteering now. Volunteering is the best and most immediate way to gain respectable experience while flexing your leadership ability. Seek out a local school, charity, hospital or other nonprofit of note, and give of your time and talent to further their altruistic mission. Wherever you live, there are organizations that need your help. There are also appropriate online volunteering experiences that can help prepare you for future employment. Volunteering can even be a powerful networking opportunity.
2. Focus on all elements of past positions
When enumerating your previous positions, focus on quality over quantity. Don’t merely present a rote laundry list of every job you’ve ever had. Rather, focus on the positions that demonstrate the skill sets you need to emphasize for the job to which you’re currently applying. Go into detail about your experience and achievements at these past positions. If you learned something new,picked up a skill or were involved in any project – include it! The clearer a picture you paint, the more likely you are to showcase your talents and hold the attention of potential employers.
3. Advanced learning opportunities and relevant skills
If you feel your job experience is lacking, a positive way to fill the gap would be earning advanced learning certifications. Take classes that make you a more appealing job candidate. For example, if a hiring manager has the choice between two otherwise identical qualified candidates, and one is proficient or certified in Microsoft Office and the other isn’t – the choice pretty much makes itself. A more learned employee with a more robust collection of certifications and professional skills is usually a more valuable employee in the eyes of companies looking to hire.
4. Showcase your professional character
Think about your career as a professional portrait rather than just as a simple list of past jobs. When you make that mental shift, it’s easier to put your valuable qualities on paper. Lying isn’t necessary or acceptable, and no immediate job opportunity is worth compromising your integrity that, once compromised, is nearly impossible to salvage. The key to obtaining the position you desire is making the most of what you have to offer. Leverage all your relevant strengths, professional accomplishments and winsome personality traits to set yourself apart in a genuine and powerful way. What are your competitive strengths? Be honest and candid about your weaknesses, and outline proactive steps you are taking to cope or even overcome those weaknesses. What mistakes have you made, and what lessons did past failures teach you? How were your previous employers better off with you on their team? What skills do you possess? Are you coachable, and are you willing to learn new skills?
For more career tips from application to hire to promotion, visit