The Worst Career Advice You Could Ever Take

Candidates in the banking industry are facing a unique challenge following the economic downturn and recent resurgence. Those that left the industry due to layoffs or restructuring are now finding themselves trying to navigate their way back in, now with a gaping hole in their resume. And it’s leading some candidates to make… questionable choices.

A few days ago, I received a call from one of the unfortunate individuals that had been active in the banking industry as an underwriter, analyst, and finally a lender a few years ago. However, because of downsizing, he took his skills and made a living in another industry during the economic downtown. He is passionate about banking and sees that it’s a great time to re-engage but he knows his resume now has gaps. The reason for the call was that he was seeking validation from me regarding recent advice he was given from a colleague currently in the banking industry.

While at lunch with the colleague, this lender at a respected institution advised my candidate to simply lie on his resume.  When the look of disbelief came across our job seeker’s face, the gainfully employed adviser said: “Well do you want to be honest or do you want a job?”

The next day is when I came into the story.  If you have read any of my blogs in the past, you may have noticed that I am big on integrity and showing your true character during a job interview. So, after I picked myself up off the floor, I gave him the following advice:

During a candidate-driven market like this in 2017 where there is an influx of job seekers, hiring managers are beside themselves with hundreds of resumes to sift through, but lying is NOT the answer that is going to get you the job. It may get you through the door but what comes next?  Don’t get me wrong it might work once in a while, but we are not all geniuses in the art of lying like Frank W. Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” (And spoiler alert: even that didn’t work out in the end.)

The Worst Career Advice You Can Take

So what do you do when you get to the interview and you seem behind the times at best, and at worst you come across as incompetent? Never, never, give up. Enter the interview confident and ready to explain the gap and how you’re going to overcome it. Maybe in your down time you take some classes, or brush up on the latest regulations. Maybe you create a detailed plan for how you will catch up. It’s a lot like dating: if you want a long lasting relationship… just tell the truth about who you are.