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Three multi-racial office workers in boardroom

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A job announcement for your dream role has just posted, but you’ve noticed you don’t quite fit the mold. You’re confident the hiring reps will conduct background screenings to delve into your criminal and employment history. There’s no way they can find out how you completely inflated your salary or embellished your skills, right? Much to some job seekers surprise, employers have creative ways to double check the credentials and application data you’ve provided during the interview process. Here’s how their findings can be used to send you packing:

Professional References

At some point during the interview process, a hiring representative may request professional references. The employer will ask about your relationship to the reference, how long you worked together, and whether they’d hire you again. This isn’t your first rodeo, so you have your list of names, numbers, and email addresses locked and loaded. In your quest to beat the system, you inadvertently forgot to check in with your contacts to ensure they knew what lie to tell about how you never missed a day, delivered top-notch results, and supervised an entire department. To avoid this disaster in your job search, always check in with your references and provide them with an updated copy of your resume. An employer’s call should never catch your references off guard. Refresh their memories about the work you did together so they can speak intelligently about the value you offer. This goes without saying, but don’t lie. Don’t put your references in a position to exaggerate your experience, only to have them flake when asked to elaborate.

Background Checks

For many employers, pre-employment screenings include checks for criminal history, driving record, credit, education, and licenses. It’s undoubtedly complicated to fake the results of drug and criminal screenings. However, the creative mastermind will find a way to falsify education and salary information. In case you didn’t know, you can be asked to provide tax documents and your official actual degree or certificates. Although very few companies consider credit score in their screenings, most are analyzing a pattern of responsibility in how you handle finances. Beware, your credit report can also reveal information about where you’ve lived or worked. Don’t be shocked if the job you purposely removed from your resume due to a termination comes back to bite you when it pops up on your credit file. You can certainly lose your job by falsifying your application. In some instances, lying about your education on a resume is illegal.

Previous coworkers

You wake up with nervous excitement about your new job offer. This company could not resist hiring you because you led so many high-performing teams to success and implemented cutting-edge systems that increased your previous employer’s competitive edge. Not so fast! What you didn’t know was Kelly from the old job works right down the hall. The two of you clashed, and she is squirming in her seat ready to tell the big wigs that you not only didn’t run a department, but you were only an intern. She’s also going to spill the beans about how you were terminated for performance issues. A quick research session on LinkedIn or company website could have revealed any former peers who could willingly unravel your web of lies.

Competition in the job market has become increasingly competitive. Lying on employment documents can be very costly and will haunt you for years to come. You never know who’s connected or when you’ll cross paths with someone who can quickly derail your ride to the top. Work with the skills you have and enhance what you don’t. Insecurity spawns the belief that you must concoct an imaginary persona to get ahead. Understand that the right hiring managers are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Be true to yourself to land your dream job at the salary you deserve.

Ashley Watkins, Career Coach and Nationally Certified Résumé Writer with Write Step Resumes, LLC, provides high-quality résumé writing, interview preparation, and career coaching services to help job seekers get more interviews and salary offers. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com

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