The Importance of Honesty When You Are Looking for an Engineering Job

I recently spoke with an engineer who has just been laid off from his job and is in the process of looking for a new one.  He asked me, “What should I tell the prospective employers?” He asked, “How can I avoid telling them that I got laid off? What if I just tell them that the company wasn’t right for me and I wanted to find something better?”

My response was simple; I told him that while I feel it’s okay from time to time to leave things off of your resume or not state certain things, you should never ever lie during this process, for several reasons.  Most importantly, dishonesty is the fastest way to tarnish your reputation.  Being known as a liar leaves a really bad mark.  Secondly, the prospective employer will most likely ask you for several references before they make you an offer and they will probably want one of those references to be from your last employer.

I do think that there are times that it is okay to leave something off of a resume. For example, let’s say you get laid off after working at a company for 2 years, and then you get a new job that lasts for only 2 months.  In my opinion, it’s okay to leave the 2-month job off of your resume as long as you are showing that the previous job ended when it did.  In fact, I would highly recommend doing this, because having a 2-month long job on your resume looks really bad to prospective employers (unless of course it was an internship).

Another issue that you should be aware of along these same lines is the validity of your LinkedIn profile.  This same individual also asked me if it was okay to leave his last position as his current position on his LinkedIn profile even though he didn’t work there anymore (it’s only been a few weeks for him).  I told him, he could probably get away with doing this for a few weeks or so, however if you leave a company or they terminate you, they have the ability through LinkedIn to edit your position with them on your profile so that it shows that you no longer work there.  Again, you just want to be smart about which actions to take or not so as not to tarnish your reputation.

I’ll leave you to ponder on these recommendations with a quote from the great Albert Einstein, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

This is a guest post by Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success. Anthony found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website and subscribe to the top 3 resources Anthony has used to become a partner in a firm at the age of 27.