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Adding Skills to Your Resume That You Don’t Actually Have

By Jeremy Cyrus 02/19/2013
Adding Skills to Your Resume That You Don't Actually Have

Is it ever a good idea to include skills and credentials on your resume that you don't actually possess? If a job posting lists required qualifications that you either don't have, or can't prove, is it a good idea to mention these in your resume or address them in your cover letter? Despite our constant warning on this site about exaggerating your resume claims, the surprising answer is yes. But only under certain circumstances.

When to Discuss Skills you Don't Have

1. When you're actively in the process of obtaining them.

If the job posting says you need level five certification, and you're halfway through a level five certification course, by all means apply. Mention your standing in both your resume and your cover letter. And as you complete your application, be very clear with the employer about your timeline. When exactly will you have your official certification in hand? What hurdles do you still need to clear?

2. When you plan to attain them soon.

If you aren't currently enrolled in a level five certification course, you can still discuss this issue in your resume and cover letter, as long as you have real plans to get this training soon. Again, you'll need to be clear with your employers about how long this will take, using today as your starting point. This will obviously be easier and make more sense if you intend to follow through. Ideally, you should actually find a course and enroll yourself before your application reaches the desk of the reviewer.

3. When you don't have the official credential, but you have the part that matters.

You may not have completed your PhD in a specific rare species of aphid. But if your coursework is finished and you have everything you need except a final dissertation, apply. If you don't have a Bachelor's degree in French, but you're a native and fluent speaker, apply. Focus on the spirit of the rule, not the letter. Explain yourself clearly, and as always, use Free Resume Builder's formatting tool to keep your information organized and accessible.

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