Question 1: Liar’s Remorse
“I just made a foolish mistake and now I’m in over my head. It’s a long story, but to make it short: I’ve been on the job market forever, I was desperate for work, and I lied on my resume. I was called for an initial phone screening and asked about my false claims, and in a moment of weakness, I repeated the lie and dug my hole a little deeper.
“Now I’ve been called in for an in-person interview tomorrow at 2:00 PM. Even before the interview takes place, I am already considering this one of the darkest and most embarrassing moments of my professional life. I don’t know how to back away from what I’ve said, and these employers seem more excited about me with every passing minute. I have to figure out how to present myself in tomorrow’s interview. Help!”
You have two choices: you can go to the interview and double down for a second time, continuing your lies and adding more layers of detail, deepening your crisis at every turn. Or you can back out of the interview and put an end to the whole façade.
If you make the first move, it seems like you may very well land the job. Which means you’ll spend your short tenure trying to fake experience you don’t have, flirting with professional humiliation and collecting a temporary paycheck.
If you make the second move, you’ll pass up the paycheck, but you’ll head back onto the job market with more respect for basic honesty. And chances are, you’ll find a better position—a real one—within the next few months. You’ll accept it as the person you really are, and on a daily basis, you’ll use the skills and passions you actually have. The first move has value, the way every life experience has value. But we recommend the second.
Question 2: A Bit Too Eager
“I just missed a huge opportunity. I learned about an open position for my ultimate dream job, and in my haste to throw together a resume and cover letter and apply before the deadline, I missed an enormous detail that would have certainly impressed these employers. It was a successful project I completed a few years ago that perfectly aligns with the needs of the position, and I forgot to describe it in my application. What should I do? Resubmit another copy of my resume? Call the employers on the phone? Send a follow up message by email?”
All three of those are viable options. One way or another, you owe it to yourself to find a way to get your message across. Start by re-drafting your resume and cover letter and resubmitting them as if the first round never happened. Then send a short, polite email (three lines at most) to the hiring managers for the position. Explain that you resubmitted your resume in order to include a few more details that might interest them. Don’t apologize—just offer a short explanation in case they wonder why they have two applications on file for the same person.