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Don’t Lie… Embellish? How to enhance your resume without being dishonest

We always hear we need to sell ourselves on our resume, of course, without being dishonest. If you have been out of the workforce for a while, are changing careers, or have been in school without working for a few years-what are some of the experiences you can use to enhance your resume and fill those gaps where you lack traditional work experience. Here is a quick list of possibilities. Instead of experience you can list:

1. Sports team memberships – Yes I had a client at a presentation say she did this with great success. *She played a leadership role on the team. That makes a difference. If you played a leadership role, add that higher up on your resume under a category called Leadership Positions and Activities for example. List the role you played there. If you did not play a leadership role, leave it at the bottom under Volunteer Work and Activities or leave it off completely.

2. Internships – Yes they count, even if they are informal for example if you worked at a friend’s office for free for a few months. Only include them if they are relevant of course but if they are, list them and specify a) what you learned, and b) the results you provided while there.

3. Volunteer work – This can be included, again, as long as it’s relevant. Reference the location, length of time and specific duties focusing on results and achievements.

4. Classes – If you have just completed your MBA for example and attended full time so did not work, list the relevant coursework at the top of your resume in your Professional Profile section. Mention is was a course and, if there was a specific project you were involved in that is relevant, for example a corporate case study, be sure to include that as well! It’s about showing relevant experience or knowledge, however you came by that experience. Focus on results here as well. Was there a report you provided to the organization, what did they do with that report and your results or suggestions? For example did they adjust their marketing efforts based on your project recommendations? Be specific here, use numbers to quantify whenever possible.

5. Involvement in organizations on campus or otherwise – Again, only if you were in some kind of leadership position and utilized skills that would be relevant. Did you serve on your child’s class committee for fundraising and raise a certain amount of money? If you were just the class parent with no specific relevant results, leave it off. Each listing on your resume has to demonstrate relevant skills. Relevancy is critical.

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.