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Can You Go To Jail For Lying On Your Resume

You Dont Have A Degree

Jail time for lying on your CV

Many times a job description states that a bachelors degree or higher is required for the role. Ingledue-Lopez reminds job seekers that job postings are a wish list and you dont have to meet every requirement.

So while you may not have the right degree, you can still apply for the job by pointing out the other relevant experiences and skills that make you an excellent candidate for the role.

Work says that there are two ways to approach your situation. If youve taken some coursework toward a degree but didnt finish, you could say Coursework taken toward bachelors degree, to show that youve taken some classes. If you havent taken any courses but have a lot of related work experience, you could say Extensive work experience in lieu of bachelors degree.

In both of these instances, youre being honest about your degree status while highlighting your relevant coursework or experience, which helps position you as a qualified candidate.

What Is A Lie On Your Resume

There are different types of lies, but they can be divided into two categories: lies of commission and lies of omission. Lies of commission are false statements such as lying about where you attended college. Lies of omission are more common than lies of commission and include not telling the full truth, such as stating that you are college-educated when you attended but never earned a degree. It is estimated that 40% of people lie on their resumes, and three out of four employers have caught a lie on someone’s resume.

The most common parts of resumes to lie about include education, previous dates of employment and previous salary. Other common lies include:

  • Exaggerating numbers, such as increasing revenue 50%

  • Inflating titles

  • Claiming language fluency

  • Using a fake address

Human resources departments and recruiters frequently check for lies in resumes but rarely tell candidates if they caught them lying, as they simply do not hire a person who lied. Lying may also cause you to be flagged as a “do not hire.” If you’re hired and get caught, the consequences can be dire, costing you your job and reputation and possibly resulting in legal action.

Depending on what you lie about and what your job is, it can affect other people, such as a former government official who lied about his experience in disaster relief and botched the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Related: Words to Avoid and Include on a Resume

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Is It Illegal To Lie On A Job Application

You might be wondering whether it is illegal to lie on a job application â and with good reason. After all, there are many instances in life where lying can be a cause for prosecution. Where job application lies are concerned, it all depends on the nature of the lie. Most lies are not covered by specific statutes. However, there are states that have statutes that address certain types of lies â typically involving educational achievements – and they impose criminal penalties against anyone who violates those laws.

Texas is one such state . In the Lone Star State, job-seekers could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if they misrepresent their educational accomplishments. Under that statute, you could be punished for falsely claiming to possess a post-secondary degree. The law makes it a crime to use such claims for the purpose of obtaining employment. Similar laws exist in states like New Jersey and Kentucky.

So, is lying on a job application a crime or illegal in any way? The answer is simple: it depends on the type of lie and where it occurs. It is important to note, though, that the consequences of lying on a job application can be serious even when the act doesnât violate a clearly-established statute.

You Cant Pass A Skills Test

Can You Go To Jail For Lying On Your Resume? Apparently, The Answer Is Yes

Its easy to say youre proficient in everything, from conversational French to coding, on your resume. But proving you actually have those skills is another thing entirely. Employers realize how simple it is for people to exaggerate their skill set, so dont be surprised if youre asked to demonstrate your talents.

An interviewer might ask you a question in the language you claim to be fluent in or give you an on-the-spot quiz. Failing such a basic test is a sure sign that youve either stretched the truth or overestimated your abilities, both of which are likely to take you out of the running for a job.

Read Also: How To Send Your Resume To A Recruiter

What Happens If You Get Caught Lying On Resume

If youre caught lying before youre hired, you wont get a job offer. If the organization discovers you lied after youve been put on the payroll, you can be fired. Lying on your resume can also impact your future employment. It can be harder to get hired when you have a termination for cause in your work history.

Lying About Your Gpa On A Resume

Lying is bad. We know this. Moving on.

Keep in mind that you don’t actually have to include your GPA on your resume. This is really surprising for some recent graduates. Unless the job application specifically asks for your GPA, you can leave it off. In fact, there are a few reasons you want to leave education information off your resume.

You also don’t need to include your GPA if you have adequate work experience and aren’t fresh out of school. We wrote a good post on whether or not you should include your GPA on a resume. Your GPA doesn’t say much about you as an applicant, though. Try to quantify your value for a job in other ways.

If you still feel like you need to include an inaccurate GPA on your resume, here are some common questions with answers from our experts.

Also Check: How To List Your References On A Resume

What Defenses Do California Laws Provide For Job Application Or Resume Fraud

There may be defenses available for fraud on a resume and/or job application. A lack of evidence may be one such defense. If the employer cannot provide that the applicant lied on the resume and/or job application, it may serve as a defense.

Another defense may be that the misrepresentation was accidental. Typographical errors can occur if an individual does not adequately proofread their resume and/or job application.

There may be other defenses available depending on the circumstances of the case. This is where the help of an experienced attorney would be invaluable.

How Many People Lie On Their Resume

“It depends on what your free speech is if you go to jail or not”
  • Final Thoughts

  • Youd be surprised at how many people lie on their resume, and whats even more surprising is that 69% of employees never get caught. Some people lie if they were fired from previous jobs or if theyre desperate for work.

    But what happens when you lie on your resume? Are you at risk of facing legal action, or can you fake it until you make it? Find out by reading further. But first, take a look at the following interesting facts.

    Also Check: Language On Resume

    Can You Fake Resumes

    According to a staffing company survey, nearly half of workers know someone who lied on their resume. There was a 25% increase from 2011 to 2012. It is risky to lie when applying for a job, however, if you are tempted to do so. If you tell a lie, you could lose a job offer, damage your reputation, or even be fired.

    Lying On Your Resume: What Are The Consequences

    Tailoring your resume to a job youre applying for is one thing, but making up an entire career history along with your qualifications is a whole different ballgame. And as it turns out it can land you in jail. A Judge in South Australia has sentenced a woman to at least 1 year in prison for lying on her resume. In this case, she secured a high-ranking government job with false credentials, a false LinkedIn profile and even posed as her own reference.

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    What Is Wrongful Termination

    Unlawful termination, or wrongful termination, is an employment law concept. It refers to a situation when an employer terminates an employee for illegal and/unauthorized reasons. This includes reasons that violate local, state, and/or federal laws, goes against public policy, and/or breaches the terms of the employment agreement.

    Wrongful termination can also occur when an employer terminates an employee who refused to obey illegal work instructions. This may include unlawful activities such as ignoring safety regulations for a specific job task, and/or requesting the employee commit a criminal offense, such as larceny and/or tax evasion.

    Wrongful termination can also occur when an employer disregards their own company policies regarding the termination process. For example, if the employer does not follow proper steps when terminating the employee from their position. It is important to note that if an employer terminates an employee unlawfully and/or illegally, they face legal consequences.

    For example, an employer may be required to compensate an employee in some way, such as:

    • Reimbursing the employee with back pay
    • Reinstating the employee to their former position
    • Paying the employee monetary compensation and/or
    • Various other forms of relief.

    You Have A Gap On Your Resume

    You Can Go To Jail For Lying On Your Resume?

    Whether you left a job because you wanted to or because you had to, plenty of people have employment gaps on their resume. You may be inclined to stretch the dates a little to fill in that gap, but this would qualify as lying on your resume.

    Ingledue-Lopez advises job seekers to be honest and upfront about the gap. Use a career break for those dates, and talk about any classes you took, volunteering you did, or freelance and contract work you may have performed.

    Recommended Reading: What Is Related Coursework

    Can You Get In Trouble For Lying About Employment

    Generally speaking, employees who have lied on their resumes have no legal recourse against their former employers. This can also impact a former employees ability to seek legal recourse for an employers actions which may have been legitimately illegal. This is known as the after-acquired evidence theory.

    What Happens If You Lie On Your Resume

    When drafting your resume, you may have wondered what would happen if you were to lie about certain elements. The repercussions of lying on a document such as your resume usually depend on what you lie about. While you should always tell the truth, it is not unheard of to misrepresent the facts.

    In this article, we will explore what happens if you lie on your resume, what lies are likely to get caught and what to do if you have submitted a resume with a lie on it.

    Related: What to Include on a Resume

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    What Doesnt Count As Lying On Your Resume

    Not all bending of the truth is considered to be lying on a resume, for most purposes. You may opt to make slight exaggerations, such as saying you were responsible for generating almost 2,000 new leads when you, in fact, generated 1,863.

    Rounding up to the nearest figure, in other words, isnt considered to be a lie when used within reason.

    Some companies have different job titles than the mainstream, and in these cases, its okay to use a more generic title . For more tips in this department, see our article on how to change job titles on your resume.

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    Lying On A Resume Can Lead To Prison


    Whats the worst that can happen when you lie on your resume? How about prison time? An Australian woman was recently sentenced to 25 months in prison for lying about her credentials to get a job.

    Veronica Hilda Theriault was found to have used when securing a $185k job with the Australian government. Among other lies, she included false information about her education and experience on her CV, impersonated a work reference, and even used a photo of model Kate Upton as her LinkedIn profile image.

    The lies resulted in jail time because the government position she secured allowed her to access sensitive information. Can the same happen in the U.S.? Its possible, depending on the lie, the job, and where you live. In Texas, its illegal to lie about a postsecondary degree to obtain a job, promotion, clients or similar work benefits. If found guilty, you could be slapped with $2,000 in fines and six months in prison.

    But what if you dont get caught?

    There have been reports of staffing firms, recruiters, and career coaches helping job candidates falsify their credentials to get jobs. Some will even hire professionals to complete phone interviews for job candidates. Pattersons take?

    Dont fall for it, he warns. Responsible recruiters wont ask you or help you to lie to employers. Their reputationsand the trust theyve built up with their clientsis, frankly, more important to them than helping you lie your way into a job.

    Recommended Reading: Listing Relevant Coursework On Resume

    Dont Get Caught In The Interviewers Headlights

    Scared never sells well. If you stutter or seem nervous in any way, you just convinced your interviewer of your guilt when youre innocent. Its so easy to start seeming shifty in an interview once you get into that kind of spiral, says Rothenberg. You need to stop it right there.

    So make sure your physical response is positive lean forward and express curiosity about the issue rather than pulling back and getting defensive. And second, stick to the script: Look at your own copy of the resume, nod your head, and say, You know, youre right, I can see how it would read that way. But I want to be clear on that point. Heres what I mean, and tell your story.

    Confidence, truth, and transparency are the keys here. Being defensive about it or trying to excuse it is not going to help matters, says Rothenberg. Take back some control of that situation and demonstrate that youre a straight-shooter.

    The biggest mistake you can make? Disputing your interviewers interpretation of the resume. Do not get into a verbal sparring match with your potential future boss about his reading comprehension skills, says Rothenberg. Acknowledge the concern, explain yourself, and move on.

    Can You Hide Previous Employment

    The simple answer is no. A background check cannot return a list or database of the jobs that a professional has held over the years. Most pre-employment background check services are geared toward uncovering public record information, such as criminal record information, driving records, and credit history.

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    Bill Would Make It Illegal To Pass Off Fake Degree As Real

    Not only would it become illegal for people to lie on their résumés about their academic credentials, but according to a bill lawmakers passed Friday, the move could land those liars in jail.

    State senators unanimously amended and approved a bill that would make giving or using a fake or otherwise unaccredited degree a class C felony, a crime of fraud that could warrant five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The legislation also would make it illegal to lie orally, as well as in writing, when trying to get a job or other kind of benefit.

    Once final, the law would take effect in July.

    An earlier version of the proposal, known as the diploma-mill bill, would have made someone subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 for falsely claiming in writing to have an accredited degree, including a high school diploma, if it wasn’t granted for actual coursework, the kind normally recognized by higher education standards in the United States.

    The new version has increased penalties, but isn’t harsh, said Rep. Phyllis Kenney, D-Seattle, who sponsored the original proposal.

    The term “diploma mill” or “degree mill” is used to describe businesses that purport to be educational institutions, but really only sell consumers a paper degree and a verification service, should potential employers inquire.

    These businesses typically operate on the Internet and overseas, where it is difficult for American authorities to track them.

    Lying On Your Cv Can Lead To A Prison Sentence

    Australian Woman Pleads Guilty To Faking Resume

    Oct 5, 2010 | Employers and recruitment, Graduate Jobs |


    Graduates keen to land a job should not be tempted to massage the truth when completing their application, an expert has warned.

    Richard Connelly from Agenda Security Services told Graduate Fog hes seen a rise in the number of employers asking about his companys services, which involve pre-employment screening, vetting and background checks. Employers are definitely becoming more cautious about who they hire, he says.

    It seems they may have good reason to be suspicious. When we asked Connelly how many people lie on their CV, he said:

    We average one in 20 candidates provide some form of inaccurate information during the screening process, ranging from address history to work experience but details concerning education contain the most areas of doubt.

    A candidate stated to us that she had a Masters degree but when we checked it was discovered that she had not paid for this qualification and therefore could not use it on her CV. When we informed the client, the candidate was refused the employment.

    Is missing out on a job the worst that can happen? Its not illegal to tell a white lie, is it?

    Yes it is and can constitute a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006. There are well documented cases where people have even received prison sentences.


    What did Devine fib about?

    In fairness, it was a whopper. In fact, it was several whoppers.

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