By Bethany Stafford
Creative Consultant | Asheville, NC

I once read a resume by a woman, whom we’ll call Lucy, who had spent 10 years raising a family and managing her household before returning to the workforce. To make up for this “lost time” on Lucy’s resume, she listed a job description as the Chief Financial Officer of her family. It should go without saying that managing a single-family budget did not make her qualified to hold the responsibilities of a corporate level CFO. Lucy eventually agreed that this exaggerated title was grossly inappropriate for the jobs to which she was applying. Like many others, her puffery opened her up to the dangers of a dishonest resume, which if left unchecked, could lead to the following problems:

1) Zero job leads
Human resource professionals are in the know when it comes to a dishonest or exaggerated resume. If your resume has been red-flagged by an employer for any discrepancy, rest assured that it is sitting in the trash bin somewhere while your phone remains silent from interview offers.

2) A disappointing interview
If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, expect to be pried and probed about every line on your resume. You can also expect an uncomfortable situation when you sit across an employer who just discovered that you puffed up your resume and are not qualified for the job in discussion.

3) Underperforming at work
When you claim exaggerated skill, education or experience you might land a job in which you just don’t meet expectations. That makes an unhappy situation for both you and your employer.

4) Termination
Finally, statistics from a Grad School Hub survey indicate that 63% of employees who padded their resume lost their jobs when underperformance and dishonesty were discovered.

Truthfully, the particular case of Lucy above is not all that unique. Stay-at-home spouses—most commonly women—often feel the need to puff up their resumes to make up for the years spent raising children. I’ll let you in on an honest little secret: employers don’t really care that you are a mom. In fact, they really just want to know that you are qualified for the job through accurate education, skills and relevant experience. Demonstrate these qualities with a well-written, honest and informative resume free from the sticky entanglements of puffery. That being said; please know that you are doing yourself no favors by overselling yourself on your resume. You might deserve to brag openly and honestly about everything you have done in your career, just not about things you have not done.

Bethany Stafford is a creative consultant in Asheville, NC. Her background and experience in marketing and career services have helped numerous men and women create their personal brand across a variety of industries. Learn more about Bethany at