IT third place in Lies on Resumes

liar liar pants on fireTech Republic ran this news item giving particulars about who lies most on their resumes and what things they lie about. IT came in third place. Job responsibilities was the most “lied about” item on resumes.

But as a veteran filling out job application forms, I have to wonder what really is considered a lie. For example, these forms that try to fit you into neat little boxes, is it a lie if you fit 90% in the box? what about 80% what if you don’t even know how much you conform to some vague language describing a responsibility.

Here’s an example:

Managing a network in a small company is very different from managing a network in a large one. At one job I had, I figured out and set up all the cabling and KVM switches for our small office LAN and trained my office mate how to use Samba so he could stop recabling the printer every time he wanted to print something. I also showed my boss how to forward a port on his router so we could run a local server on our workstations. That was the extent of my “network management.” That’s all we needed. There were rarely any problems with it. One time a switch failed and after much hair pulling I got them to replace it. Anytime there was a problem they came to me. Would it be a lie if I put this down on my resume? What do you think?

6 comments to IT third place in Lies on Resumes

  • Oh my gawd, Don’t get me started on resumes. Been looking for work for friggin 10 months now. I have about 7 or 8 different resumes and none of them describe in nearly the detail that they should, but employers don’t want to read a book. Well, with me dammit, they should have to read a book, if they want to know the real me.

    See I wouldn’t present a resume if it was up to me. I would have a 1/2 hour Multimedia presentation including my music and a power point presentation to wrap things up with, followed by a question and answer period.

    See I think you should be able to put all of that stuff on your resume plus all the answers to all the stupid questions you got from every one while you worked there.

    Resumes aren’t for us, the job seeker. They are a way to “sell” your self to an employer.

    Well guess what, salesman is one thing I really really suck at.

    Thanks for letting me vent,


  • I am amazed how many IT resumes claim knowledge and experience in many languages and tools but in the interview they state clearly they have essentially none (I just took one course where we talked about it in school…). Some of the lies in IT resumes are much more obvious (than common lies for others) to discover in an interview. For your question that would be stretching it too far for me, but if you just included sufficient detail to show exactly what you did then it would be fine.

    John Hunter | Curious Cat Investing Blogs last blog post..Save Money on Printing

  • admin

    Often there is no way to include detail. They are presented as yes no questions. And perhaps in the job being sought “network management” is no more complicated than the old one. For a lot of small offices that’s all there really is, and it’s a such mystery to them. Anyone who knows the difference between a crossover cable and a patch cable is a network manager. How in the hell is the job seeker supposed to know. If you put NO you risk being eliminated by some low level paper pusher who can barely count the number of little boxes.

    I am amazed how many IT or software job descriptions want every buzzword skill in the book. I had to laugh at one I saw in 2004, they wanted 15 years of Java development experience plus Unix admin, plus shell scripting, DBA, javascript, flash, PHP, PERL, C++, Python, Ruby, AND coldfusion and everything else they could think of for some lame-ass web developer position paying $30K a year. They probably didn’t even know what Java IS. If they knew ANYTHING they would know that Java came out in 1994 and was not widely known until 1996 so NO ONE in 2004 could have possibly had 15 years of experience at it.

    And Beamer, I think you should make your multimedia presentation, but do fast forward and stills and condense it into 7 minutes. Almost everyone is on the web now adays.

  • I was never in IT, but spent a few years as an Electronic Technician.

    I’ll never for get this one test I took for an elec tech at a local shcool system. There must have been 40 people applying for the same job, which was scary enough. On the test, they wanted you to not only know, MS-DOS. some HTML, be familiar with Windows 3.1, win95, winNT 4.0, and also Macintosh. I was doing OK, til the Macintiosh. Then they started getting into knowing different cable for IT and Setting up servers. It was crazy.

    I guess I could make like 7 different 7 minute presentations and then just give them the link to what I am applying for. A bit of Jack Of all Trades here.

    Its funny, the resume I use around here gets me nowhere. I took the same resume 5 hours to the south, and I had so many offers, it was crazy. I would have loved to have stayed in the San Diego Area, But I discovered after the fact that My wife didn’t really want to move after all. Man, Talk about communication breakdown.

    Sorry to hear that you are experienced with applications and throwing together resumes. I can totally relate.


  • Well ummmm…. Bakersfield isn’t that big of a place. Like where I am. People in places like that want conformity, not creativity.

  • I think this is a very interesting post (as was the one over at Tech Republic.) I think in your example saying that you were a network admin is not a lie as long as you present your role in the small company honestly during the interview.

    This of course depends on the job requirements that you are applying for though. If you are stretching your experience to fit the requirements of a job, then I think this would be dishonest.

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