Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter tells you the biggest mistake job hunters make with their résumé.

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I want to talk with you today about the biggest mistake job hunters make with their resume. There are two versions of it.
The biggest mistake is lying on their resume about their dates of employment. The two variations on this or by omission or commission. Let me start with commission.
Commission. Lying in that way is, shall we say, intentionally being deceptive about dates. Now, this is a huge mistake. I'm going to tell you point blank, firms cooperate with one another. And it's very common for a firm to send a note to your previous employers (And I want to say "employers" because it's not just the most recent one, but the several of them) saying, "We are considering hiring so and so for a position with our firm. He indicated that he worked for your firm from such and such date to such and such date. Does that seem accurate?"
Now, firms these days are telling the truth and I will tell you a point blank, that if a firm finds an inconsistency in your dates of employment, they fire people post-employment. Years ago, there was a person that I was representing who's up for a position with a bank. It was an IT job and I told him point blank, not to lie on his application. That the firm would find out. But did that stop him? No.
He lied on his application. The first Friday after he started work, he's met by security at his desk, handed a box with his personal possessions, then escorted out the door. Do you really want to risk that happening to you?
Now, omission is the situation where you neglect to mention something. So, for example, it's the job that doesn't appear on your resume. It's omitting months on your resume, thinking that if they see, for example, 2009 to 2013 (I'm doing this video in September 2013), their first reaction is to think, "well, maybe s/he lost their job early in the year and doesn't want us to know it."
So, they think January even though you may have actually left your position in August. So, just put the month in there and make it easy on them, so that their minds don't run crazy, and start thinking the worst of you, because frankly, we've all been trained, not just me as a third party recruiter. Corporate recruiters, as well, have been trained to think the worst of job applicants.
Because, so often, we run into the worst human nature. So make it easy. Don't put yourself in the position of being rejected because someone's screening your resume and thinking the worst of you from their previous experiences. Just lay out the dates include the month.
Now, here's here's one thing to remember. If you're not sure of the month that you joined or left an organization, put the phrase "approx" next to it. In this way, they know you're not absolutely sure.
Now, obviously don't do that with your most recent employer. But I think if someone who has a 20 year career and doesn't remember the exact month they joined 18 years ago some company, you put the phrase "approx" next to the date, particularly if you're doing this on an employment application.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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The Biggest Resume Mistake |
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