I’ve been helping out quite a few job seekers and have noticed one irritating nuance – exaggeration of work experience. I hate to be the one to be the bad guy, but if I’m noticing it, so are your potential

employers. Here’s an example of what I’m seeing:

Professional Summary: Over Six years of professional office experience, etc.

1/2010 – Present              XYZ Company    Office Manager

10/2008 – 12/2008           ABC Company   Bookkeeper

2/2008 – 9/2008                FAB Machines   Human Resources Assistant

What’s wrong with this picture? Let’s look closer, shall we? First off, this candidate spent a total of 2 years on the job at their current position at XYZ Company. At ABC Company, they only had 2 months on the job. Last but not least, they spent 7 months at FAB Machines. This comes up to a total of 2 years and 9 months, not even close to six.

When you are “beefing up” your resume, make sure that you aren’t over exaggerating. Perhaps this is the reason why you aren’t getting calls back. Any person in human resources can easily do math and realize you are lying when your numbers don’t add up to theirs.

I’ve seen others that have worked in different years try to state that they have a total of x amount of years’ experience. Here’s another example:

Professional Summary: Over Five years of retail experience, etc.

2/2011 – 9/2011                Kmart                    Cashier

5/2010 – 12/2010              Walmart               Cashier

6/2008 – 9/2008                L&L                         Cashier

3/2007 – 4/2008                Speedway           Cashier

While this candidate has indeed been working for nearly five years, there is over a one year gap in employment and doesn’t add up to five years. We have 7 months at Kmart, 7 months at Walmart, 3 months at L&L and 13 months at Speedway. That equals 30 months or 2 ½ years which is a far cry from a total of five years.

Be cautious when you highlight your years of experience. Take a moment to add up your time on each job before you claim you have more experience than you actually have. Remember that recruiters and Human Resource professionals can add and will see through faulty or dishonest math.