Padding Principle 3: If The Company On Your Resume No Longer Exists, Then You’ve Got More Leeway When Padding

This is especially useful for those of you who were working, or at least in college, during the heyday of the Internet. If you worked in an industry that was even close to being associated with the Internet, chances are you did some work for a company that doesn’t exist today. That was a real downer back then, but it does have some usefulness today. Ever heard the phrase “dead men tell no tales”? It applies here.

If I were applying for a job today, I’d certainly list my experience and achievements at Cox Interactive. But there’s no place for them to call and verify anything I say on my resume. The phones are disconnected. The offices are empty. Most of the people have moved away and left the industry altogether, so there’s no one to call.

This is inconvenient for your prospective employer, but it can be very helpful for the resume padder. It enables you to do things like beef up the name of your position a little, like I did above with “Content & Marketing Manager.” Not only that, but it allows you, on paper, to assume the job duties of somebody else that you worked with. For example, let’s say your cubicle neighbor at your old job was Robert Robertson. You sat next to Robert and talked to him every day for two years, so you know exactly what his job responsibilities were.

Now, fast-forward to the present day. Would Robert’s job responsibilities look good on your resume? Furthermore – and I can’t stress this part enough – are you familiar with the ins and outs of those responsibilities, and can you actually perform those responsibilities? If the answer is yes, then I recommend adding them to your resume as padding. If you can do the job just as well as Robert did it, and neither Robert nor your boss is around any longer to prove otherwise, then for all practical purposes, you might as well say you did it. Your prospective employer would strongly disagree if he/she could read this over your shoulder, but who cares? This is a section on padding. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

And let’s be practical here: if you can truly do the job, why would anyone’s suspicion ever be aroused? If you claim Robert’s job of doing weekly budget reports in Quick books, and during your first week on the job you crank out some masterful Quick books projects for your new boss – what is there to be suspicious of? Will your boss come over to your desk and say, “Wow, Jane, these are excellent Quick books reports, and you really are excellent at Quick books, just like you said on your resume. BUT….did you REALLY do those Quick books reports at your last job, or were you padding your resume?” Of course not.

Remember, I’m talking about job responsibilities here, not job title. It’s a lot easier to fly under the radar by simply adding these responsibilities under the heading for a position you actually did hold – or, as in my case above, for a position whose title has been modified only slightly. On the rare chance that you meet up with someone who worked with you and Robert Robertson and happened to be examining your resume, she might remember your job title and Robert’s job title and smell a rat. On the other hand, would she remember every little detail of every task that you and Robert performed? Not likely.

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