Your resume and cover letter need to be reflections of your best self. You want to put your best foot forward and proudly display your accomplishments. However, there is a definite line between projecting excellence and deceit.
I recently had an unusual resume problem. In 16 years of recruiting, I’ve never stumbled across it. A candidate lied on their resume. I questioned their gaps in employment and the candidate provided excellent well-thought-out reasons. It turns out the candidate was lying about what happened and it was discovered during a reference check.
My advice to the company, my client, was to cancel the scheduled interview. The candidate hadn’t filled out an application yet, but if the candidate had done so, it would have immediately been grounds for termination. We all have chapters of our lives we don’t want other people to read, but this professional misstep is inexcusable.