I was asked recently at a video shoot for our company website, what my best advice is for candidates. This was an easy answer for me, and one I gave quickly, — “Be Honest!” Now I know what you are thinking, do candidates really lie? The most accurate answer is that they may not mean to, but many fall into the trap of at least bending the truth. In today’s competitive job market, candidates are in a constant mode of trying to find something that separates themselves from every other candidate. Unfortunately, we often see that this means candidates elaborate on their resumes, or during their interviews with recruiters, or companies.
Are candidates the only ones responsible for this happening? No, they are not, as recruiters, we can share in some of the blame. Often as a candidate you will get a call from someone in our business who will introduce themselves, and quickly jump into a bunch of questions about specific skills, they are reading off a job description from a client. It’s easy to get swept up in this, and quickly answer that you have worked with a certain technology, or have experience that you feel is paramount for you to move to the next stage. This can cause a problem, if you move to the next stage, and the client begins to drill down on this skill set and you may, not know what would be basic information for a particular skill set.
So, what is the answer? Simply put, be honest! When writing your resume consider grouping skills by categories. Place skills you use every day together, place others that are used occasionally together, and others that you haven’t used in sometime, or only in a classroom together. If there is a technology, or skill you want to move your career towards, make that clear on your resume, with a bullet point, stating that. Don’t be afraid to ask a recruiter, or hiring manager, how much experience a client is looking for with a specific skill set. It is the job of the recruiter to help you understand which skills are required, and which are preferred. I have often sent a candidate to a client, explaining that he/she may meet a few requirements straight on, and then explain where they either fall short on the other skills, or how they are moving themselves towards gathering that needed experience.
When we think about it, we all like honesty. It makes things clearer, and easier to deal with. The same is true when presenting yourself to a position. If you are honest, and work with your recruiter to fashion the appropriate response to how you fit a role, a prospective employer will appreciate the honesty, and that may just be the thing that separates you from the other candidates.