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Ask Alison: Can Employers Only Check What You Put On Your Application or Resume?


Ask Alison: Can Employers Only Check What You Put On Your Application or Resume?

Ask About.com job search expert Alison Doyle a question.

Dear Alison: For years I have operated under the premise that one should tailor their resume to get the job they seek, and that if it's in your job application it's fair game for the employer. Now, I shall explain myself. A long time ago (I can't remember where) I read that an employer has the statutory right to ask his employee to complete tasks that the employee should be able to do based on what is in that employee's job application (I don't remember if it applied to the resume as well).

In any event, since then I have tailored my resume to get the job I wanted, and only included information in my job application that I felt was within the scope of the position I was applying for; I have even left out some education, as it was not a requirement for the position. I don't think I need to explain why I have chosen to do so, but my question to you is, in the H.R. world, is that correct, that is, if it's in your job application / resume is it fair game for the employer, and otherwise not?
- B.H.

Dear B.H.: I don't believe that's necessarily the case. If an employer conducts a background check they are not limited to checking only the information on your resume or your job applications.

They will check your entire employment history and when they do that they may be concerned if they find omissions and, depending on what it was, it could be held against you. It also depends on what the company is asking you to provide. If they want a certain amount of years of work history and you leave some jobs off, it could also be held against you. Plus, when you sign a job application you are attesting to the fact that you have given the employer all the information they have asked for.

Here's information on what employers can check. When they check, they don't just check what you give them - they run their own searches. With your example, leaving off an advanced degree shouldn't have an impact, but leaving off a job where you were fired might - if it shows up in the background check.

Related Articles: What's Included in an Employer Background Check | What Employers Can Say About Employees

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Please note that Alison makes every effort to offer accurate advice and information on this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site is not to be construed as legal advice. Employment laws and regulations vary based on location. Check with government resources or legal counsel, if in doubt about your situation. The information on this site is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.

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