This is How a REALLY Honest Resume Would Read

lincolnLet’s be honest: only a very small percentage of resumes accurately depict someone’s full career and life experience. Everyone has little bits to hide. And, in some cases, a lot to embellish.

Some of that embellishment is tolerated,  even accepted as normal. After all, a resume is a marketing document – not an oath. So as long as you don’t outright lie on a resume, misrepresent your role on a project or make up a better title for yourself, you should be fine.

But I had a thought the other day: What would would it be like to read a really honest resume? One that was so honest that it would evoke a cringe? One that would certainly share way too much information?

So here are 10 things you would read on a really honest resume:

On the Address Line:

“This is actually a P.O. Box since I don’t actually live there right now. But if I told you that, you may never call. Forgive me?”

Near the Link to a LinkedIn Profile

“Hopefully this will show that I am social media savvy, but honestly I’m not really using LinkedIn much… I haven’t even completed my profile. Still figuring it out!”

In The Summary Statement

“Zero experience, but I’m desperately trying to change industries (and I’m hoping you’ll give me a chance).”

Within the Career Summary

“After a successful first 15 years of my career, I completely lost focus. While I still love to work, I really don’t want to do it for a big company anymore. I used to love to work in teams and now I just can’t stand how it seems to slow the work down. I know my function requires a real detail orientation, but I really like the big picture projects where I can play a more strategic role and tell others what to do. But since I need to find a job, you’ll hear a positive reaction when you ask about my detail orientation. I really do want to get back to work. I need the money.”

Instead of Key Strengths

“In deference to your applicant tracking system, here are a list of keywords I expect you’re looking for in a great candidate. Not all of these are dead-on, so to get your attention I’ve added a few that aren’t completely accurate. And don’t worry, I’ll explain those away during the interview.”

In the Gap Between Today and the Last Job

“I want to wrap my bare hands around the neck of this entire job search process. I’ve never needed to look for a job before. Yet, it seems that getting a call back is next to impossible. I’ve wasted a lot of time – months – learning what to do. Never would I have guessed it  was going to take over a year to find a job.”

For the Most Recent Job, Under Accomplishments

“I got laid off and shoved out the door so fast I didn’t have time get any of my files; I barely had time to grab the plant. Now, I’m having trouble remembering any specifics to write quantified accomplishment statements. Hope these help you understand what I can do!”

For the Job Prior, Under Responsibilities

“Here you’ll find a summary of all the projects I worked on. Well, some I just got exposure to, but this job is not actually the flagship role on my resume so I need to find a way to create just a bit more extra depth to my background. Otherwise, you’ll never consider me.”

Next to Undergraduate Degree

“I was so close to getting this degree and I know you want to me to have it. I am only missing one class. And my friend says background checks don’t catch this… so…”

Another Next to Undergraduate Degree

“I didn’t include the year I graduated because I’m worried that you’ll discriminate because of my age. I’m only 52, and I feel much younger, but it’s been an issue before so I won’t give it away this time.”

What would a REALLY honest resume say about you?


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Tim’s Strategy!


tim's strategy


Tim_AuthorAbout the Author: Tim Tyrell-Smith is a career, marketing, branding and strategy coach focusing on small business, non-profits and individuals. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim spent 23 years growing premium brands including Nestle Quik, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. Follow Tim on Twitter!



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  • Amy Jones

    Next to phone number: “Is it weird to ask you to text me? Because I’m at work and I really don’t want anyone to overhear me.” (I have texted with a candidate before – bit of a challenge, but we hired her!)

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