I find it more and more difficult to read the articles on “corporate business ethics” and the decisions corporate leaders make that have a dramatic impact on the jobs, pensions and/or life savings of hard working people.

It’s important to remember that ethics is not just a big company issue. Ethics and integrity always start with a single person and a singular decision. When does the first lie start? Perhaps the small omission or twist that no one notices, leads to the next.

In our business, recruiters see overstatements and flat-out lies on resumes all the time. We see resumes that say the candidate graduated from college when they only attended college. We see resumes that state someone was a lead or manager, when in reality they were simply the go-to person and not the manager with full hire and fire responsibilities. We see people state they have experience in a technology when only a class was taken or a book read. On occasion we even see resumes that have been completely fabricated using a different person’s credentials.

The unfortunate reality is that at times, people lying on their resumes may get by. However, most of today’s large corporations require background checks, including work history, education, legal and sometimes credit. Some companies have rehire eligibly processes in place so they don’t hire back someone as a contractor that was once let go or performed poorly as a FT employee.

If you have not been in the job market for a while, this may be news to you.

My advice to you – do not put anything on your resume that you can’t speak to or defend. Write your resume to be the best of your experiences – in the project world your resume is often your first deliverable and a reflection of your work to come.

It may be tempting to stretch your experience a bit (or a lot) to gain the attention needed to get an interview. In the end however, the truth relating to your actual experience will come out. So it is best to begin your relationships with recruiters and hiring manager with a heightened sense of integrity and ethical responsibility. The end results will most certainly be better for you.