What's the big harm in saying you're proficient in, say, Excel, when you're not? If you're hired, you can quickly run through a bunch of online tutorials before your first day, and everything will be fine. Or so you think. But the truth is, many companies will actually promptly fire someone who misrepresents or exaggerates their skills or background in a cover letter and resume [source: Smart Biz]. Yes, lay out your accomplishments and work history in the most positive light. But never lie or embellish. The hiring manager may quickly discover your exaggerations when she calls your references. Or worse, you may be given a complex Excel project on your first day and have no idea what to do, despite those online tutorials. Even including a seemingly innocuous statement in your cover letter like, "I have strong verbal communication skills" is seen as an empty boast by many employers, unless you back it up with an example that shows you do.