Ask Victoria: Resume Debacle!

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Today’s question comes from a reader who has been moving along in the hiring process and later discovered that he put the wrong dates of employment on his resume. What to do? Read on!

I saw your post on updated resumes and was inspired to write you. I am currently in the hiring process with an organization after having had two interviews. First, I sent my resume to the head of HR and had  a phone conversation with him. Then, he set up a meeting with the hiring manager.  After that interview I was told to take a screening test, and would meet with two more people afterwards.  

The problem is, the dates I listed (and I listed only years, not months) on my resume are off by a year or so on a few of my positions. Prior to this opportunity, I heavily edited my resume as I have not been seeking specifically for a new job.

After interviewing about a week ago, they told me I am moving forward. Do I send HR a new resume with the corrected dates and include months perhaps? Or I could go to the next meeting with the new resume. I just don’t want something to pop up if they go to verify my dates.  

Thank you for any and all of your help,

Shawn

Dear Shawn,
Thanks for reaching out, and congratulations on your progress in the hiring process! Since you’re moving on to another interview, it’s likely that the organization will verify your dates of employment at some point. I would correct the years on your resume and go to your next meeting with the updated copy in your hand.
I wouldn’t email the new copy, as this type of error will be easier explained in person. I would also be prepared with a hypothesis as to how you think you got the dates mixed up. It’s an honest mistake that can happen, but take the extra step to reflect back and identify what may have had you list the wrong range of years and offer it up as an explanation. For example, it may be a situation like this:
I made an error in the date range for my time of employment at The Dayton Foundation. For that job, I remember wearing a winter coat to my interview, and when I was updating my resume I incorrectly remembered my start date as December 2016, but it was actually February 2016. I made the edits and wanted to give you an updated copy with the correct date ranges.”
There’s always the concern that any error on a resume will not reflect well on you as a candidate. When pointing it out to an employer, it can make you feel even more insecure about the impression you are giving.  As I’ve mentioned to other job seekers, it really depends on the employer: some will see the error as an indicator of failing to take the appropriate steps to ensure accuracy, and others will appreciate your honesty and willingness to address your mistake (and mistakes happen in the workplace!).
I would take this as a reminder to always check your dates of employment before sending off your resume. For the time being however, make the edits to your resume, hand it to the employer in person with a quick explanation, and shift the conversation back to the great skills you have that make you qualified for the job!
Hope that helps, and please do keep us posted on how things go!
To your success,
Victoria

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About Author

Throughout my 15+ year career in resume writing, career coaching, higher education, and working with nonprofit job seekers, I’ve used an approach that is nurturing yet practical and driven to achievement. As Audience Development and Content Manager at Idealist for our online publication, Idealist Careers, I bring relevant tips to today's social impact job seekers and career changers with sensitivity towards the challenges they face. I also am the writer of our career advice column, "Ask Victoria". Understanding the roles that a positive outlook and holistic self-care play in career success, I share with our readers time-honored methods for improving confidence and productivity. Have a question? Ask at askvictoria@idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @_AskVictoria.

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Ask Victoria: Resume Debacle! - Aim Blog

  2. As an potential employer, if I see a candidate like Victoria, I would have some amount negative impression about not being careful in checking details of CV. If she has corrected it before being hired, it will be taken with that note and her fitment will be made on the corrected information. If such information is discovered by employer either before or worse after the emplyment she will face dismissal for misstating her qualification.

    I would not like to keep an employee who gives incorrect information on two accounts; (i) such employees cannot be trusted (ii) they are vurnerable for being blackmailed.

    Between not being hired and dismissial on account of falsifying qualification, I would advise the former. My advice is to be honest and face the consequences rather than live in misery of lying.

    • Hello Soumyanath, thank you for sharing your hiring practices with our community. It’s really helpful for our readers to hear feedback from current employers who are making the hiring decisions. Please note that the candidate is not Victoria but “Shawn”. I am in agreement with you about candidates who are not careful in verifying the details of their resumes. I will reiterate that I was not suggesting the candidate let this error go, but to supply an updated copy in person along with an explanation.

  3. Hey Victoria,

    I totally agree. Double checking your dates is really important. Sometimes, employers are much more understanding if you were not able hold a job because an economic downturn or company that faltered within an industry. Proper timing can really help your case.

    Thanks,
    Dennis

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