Some of my pet peeves when it comes to résumé mistakes are things that I’ve seen people do, as if somebody isn’t noticing, is if they put through to “present” at a job that they’ve left, and it’s even worse if they left several weeks ago, several months ago, and it makes it look like they are still there. So it’s not quite accurate, and if you think about it as a CPA we’re supposed to be the trusted adviser and be taking ethics every year and be the one, the go-to people that people should be able to rely upon their word and be transparent; if you can’t be transparent about your own résumé and your situation, why should somebody want to hire you? So that’s one area.
Another area where I’ve seen misrepresentation, from my perspective, is when people make it look like they’ve worked for 10 years, and they’ve really worked longer. I always say I don’t mind if you summarize many years of your experience but just show that you’ve done something prior to the last 10 years, and a lot of times I’ll get the answer, well, another recruiter told me to say that, and I try to explain to people that the résumé represents you, so regardless of who gives you advice, the résumé is your résumé, not the recruiter’s résumé. The other story I just told about the young lady who took the job out from the day before, one of the comments she made to me, which shows me a poor judgment on her behalf, is she said I’ll do whatever the recruiter would like me to do for the résumé. So to me that was a bad answer.
Another area where I believe it’s a little misrepresentation is when you have somebody who doesn’t put all the schools that they attended. For instance, if you attended a community college or you transferred or you went to several schools for period of time, took some time off, and then went back to school, but you just show the school where you graduated from and earned your degree—if a client or employers ask for your transcripts, they most likely are going to see that you transferred in from another school, and you don’t know how that information is going to be interpreted by the hiring company. So I’m a firm believer of making sure that your résumé is transparent in terms of anything that may come up through a background check, in terms of dates, where you went to school, if you went to school overseas.
Another pet peeve is not to disclose that where the school was located. A lot of people will put just the degree or type of degree that they have, not indicating where they went to school at all. And you will also have a lot of people from overseas who come to the U.S. to either go to school or to work; if they require sponsorship they tend to leave that off the résumé as well. Another area that’s misleading because there’s a lot of employers that will not deal with sponsorship; some will, but you are basically wasting your time with those who aren’t, and then maybe you have ruined a future opportunity down the road when you do have a green card or H1B visa that can be transferred or something else that doesn’t require the employer to necessarily start the sponsorship process, and you may be overlooked or not invited in because somebody felt that you misrepresented your situation without disclosing what your needs are.