I review hundreds of resumes for retail managers all across North America every year, and there is one "lie" that I see much more often than anything else. I'm hesitant to call it a lie because in many cases I don't think the person is trying to be deceptive. Many times they are simply following the format they regularly see on other resumes. But there's really no way around it - it's a lie simply because it's not true. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Flagship Store Manager - Seattle, WA (Aug 2006 - Present)
What does that mean to you? To me it means this person was the store manager of a flagship location in Seattle ever since August of 2006, and he/she continues to be store manager of that location today.
However, when I (or a recruiter) dig deeper, this is what I often find to be the real truth:
Flagship Store Manager - Seattle, WA (Apr 2013 - Present)
Store Manager - Lynnwood, WA (Mar 2012 - Apr 2013)
Store Manager - Everett, WA (May 2011 - Mar 2012)
Sales Manager - Everett, WA (Nov 2008 - May 2011)
Department Manager - Bellingam, WA (Jul 2007 - Nov 2008)
Sales Associate - Bellingham, WA (Aug 2006 - Jul 2007)
What's the difference? Well...
1. This person doesn't actually have 8+ years' experience as a store manager for Best Buy. Instead, he/she really only has 4 years' experience as a store manager for Best Buy - half as much as originally believed.
2. This person hasn't managed a flagship store for 8 years. Instead, he/she has actually only managed a flagship store for 2 years - one quarter as much as originally believed.
3. This person actually has been promoted several times with Best Buy. Initially, we assumed he/she had never been promoted with this company.
4. This person has actually worked in four different locations for Best Buy, not just the one in Seattle.
The top example is clearly a lie, regardless of whether the applicant was trying to be deceptive or just thought they were doing it the way it's supposed to be done. The bottom line is this person was not a flagship store manager for Best Buy since 2006, even though that's what it clearly says. That makes it a lie, and that means trust with the recruiter is damaged.
Does that mean everyone has to list every single position and every single location they worked in? Not necessarily. I have seen many resumes from people who have changed store locations a lot - in some cases, every 6 months or so for several years. Listing every one with separate dates is overkill. However, it's critically important to be transparent and precise:
Recruiters want to see your career path, and this person's career path is not simply the fact they worked for Best Buy. Their career path is each step they took while working for Best Buy.
Recruiters want to know exactly where you are today and how you got there. Make sure you're telling them the truth.
Best of luck!
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