Keeping All Of Your Lies Straight Is Harder Than It Sounds
Telling the truth is so much easier than lying. You dont have to worry about contradicting yourself or accidentally saying something that brings your whole house of cards crashing down. Keeping all your lies straight is tough during a job screening process.
How are you going to talk about a job that you never had in your interview? The worst part is, if you get the job, keeping your dirty little secret will only get harder. As lies pile up, its tougher to keep them straight. Save yourself the hassle and tell the truth.
Be Realistic And Do Your Research
Whatever your reason for massaging your resume – make sure that any half truths you include are realistic, and you have done enough research to allow you to pull them off.The area in which you are planning on lying matters here. If you choose to say you ran a marathon in your hobbies section and get caught out, you might well be able to laugh it off . If you claim to be qualified in a crucial job skill and are not – walking away unscathed is less likely.Dont lay claim to anything completely outlandish. And remember, polishing your resume isnt lying. In fact, it is good practice. Use the right language to describe what you have achieved and present the experience you do have in the right light. This is far better than simply making up a career history you will be hard pressed to live up to.
The 6 Most Effective Ways To Lie On Your Resume
So last week, the CEO of Yahoo! was forced to resign after it was discovered that his resume was not composed of traditional resume things like accomplishments and proper names, and was instead more of an intricate trusswork of deceit meant to snare gullible Yahoo! board members, fooling them into ruining that fine company’s reputation. Cracked has covered famous resume cheats before, showing by example how not to get away with lying on your resume.
“But how,” our readers might ask hypothetically, a thin sheen of sweat visible on their brows, “might one actually get away with lying on your resume? I have a … friend who needs to … steal a loaf of bread to feed his family, and … needs to pull this job from the inside, I guess? And he’d like to know how to lie on his resume.”
Relax, terrible liars, I’m here to help. And, after consulting with experts in deceit, who may have been overstating their expertise now that I think about it, I’ve compiled the following guide to help you lie on your resume. To better illustrate this advice, I’ve also included sections from the resume I recently used to reapply for my position here at Cracked, a slightly humiliating chore we have to do semi-annually around here.
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Understand And Be Armed With The Most Common Lies
There are areas commonly lied about on resumes. Some, recruiting managers see right through these lies – meaning you have to expect questioning some less so.
Salary: A common trick is to combine allowances, bonuses and other occasional payments to get a salary number and present it as your base salary when negotiating. This is often challenged, so you have to decide if you are going to continue with your bluff or explain your rationale honestly when the questions get more heated.
Massaging Qualifications: This is common and increasingly easy to check. Higher Education Degree Datacheck is an organisation set up to allow recruiters to verify the degree qualifications of potential candidates. They found that around one third of people embellish their academic credentials in the UK but they can be caught!
Dates: Candidates often either fiddle dates, pretending to be still in work, or skipping over periods of unemployment earlier in their career to give the impression of a seamless career history. This can be discovered at the referencing stage, so make sure you know what sort of references your past employers give before you choose to gloss over too many dates.
Inflating numbers: Cranking up business metrics, test scores or abilities is commonplace. If youre claiming to have single handedly turned around a failing business, or to be fluent in Mandarin, expect the claims to be tested, and have a few choice responses to hand.
Gaps In Employment History Background Checks
Theres plenty of valid reasons to have gaps on your CV, including unemployment, mental illness, taking time to care for an ill person, travelling etc.
However, its undeniable that CV gaps dont look great for potential employers without valid explanation- so the temptation is to cover up the gaps altogether.
You might want to do that by extending the dates of the employment before, and moving your next jobs start date back a few months. However, this once again is illegal.
This CV lie is very easy for potential employers to uncover all it takes is the employer contacting one of the previous employers to verify the dates you worked there and the house of cards comes tumbling down.
Some might even outsource background checks which look at gaps in employment history.
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What Volunteering Shows Employers
Volunteering demonstrates valuable personality traits.
Volunteering tells prospective employers a great deal about who you are, aside from what theyve learned via your resume and role-related questions during the recruitment process. These are also traits employers in any industry are likely to value highly.
How Your Employer Can Tell If You Lie On Your Resume
It’s likely that if you lie on your resume, your employer will eventually find out. They might find out during the interview or after you have already accepted a job with the organization. At that point, you risk being fired if you are unable to complete the requirements of the role. In addition to losing your job, it could also affect your reputation and your ability to find employment elsewhere.
Your employer can tell if you lie on your resume in the following ways:
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Your Boss’ Achievements Aren’t Yours
The best story I have is about a guy who made up his sales experience. He didn’t understand the position we were filling we were looking for someone to answer phones, he thought he was interviewing for a sales job and on his resume, he mentioned that he closed over a million in sales at his previous position. We were interviewing this guy as a favor, so we asked the person who was bringing him in about his sales experience. It turns out he was the assistant for someone else who did over a million in sales, and that guy was terminated for improperly handling account information.
For Some Workers Lying Leads To Firing
Indeed, for candidates who don’t get caught in a lie during the hiring process, there’s always the potential for the truth to come out at a later time.
In November 2019, an NBC News investigation found that Mina Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, embellished her resume and made misleading claims about her professional background, including by creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it. She resigned a week later.
While Chang’s case is an extreme example, lying on a resume can have serious consequences.
Gail Tolstoi-Miller, CEO of staffing firm Consultnetworx in New Jersey, previously consulted for a pharmaceutical company that conducted an audit of its employees’ credentials. During the process, one worker’s lie resulted in his termination.
“What they found out was he put down in his background that he had a college degree, when in fact he did not,” Tolstoi-Miller says of the experienced professional who had spent several years with the company. “We’re talking about very highly specialized work, research and development. He got fired for lying, so it can catch up with you.”
For other areas of misrepresentation, such as workers saying they have skills they don’t, Tolstoi-Miller suggests job seekers use online resources such as Coursera and Udemy to brush up these skills rather than lie about them.
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You Really Dont Have To
If you dont have the exact skills an employer is looking for but still think you could be a good fit, make the case in your cover letter and let the hiring manager be the one to decide whether to call you in. Hiring managers are more open to people with transferable skills these days, meaning you don’t have to necessarily have direct experience in a field to be employed, says career coach Alex Simon. Let your credentials speak for themselves and make it clear youre willing to learn if necessary.
It’s far better to admit that you don’t know something, Davis agrees. Passion and eagerness to learn your way into a position is a far greater quality than being a liar. It’s the No. 1 quality I look for. Too many candidates sabotage their chances.
Most Common Resume Lies
If you have lied, you have a lot of company. A CareerBuilder survey reports that 75% of employers have caught a lie on a resume. Some of their respondents reported resume lies that were pretty outlandishfor example, the applicant who claimed that they studied under Nietzsche or the candidate who said they worked for the CIA .
Most resume lies are more mundane. An earlier CareerBuilder survey reported on what job seekers tried to get away with most often:
- Embellished skill sets: 57%
Whether creative or commonplace, resume lies can have the same negative effect on your career.
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Consequences Of Lying On A Job Application
If youre caught lying in the hiring process, you can forget about a job offer.
If the organization discovers you lied after youve been put on the payroll, your lies can be
considered as grounds for termination and you can be fired.
And there is more
Lying on your resume can lead to the loss of the professional license. This applies to lawyers, nurses, doctors, and other professions where there is a board that oversees the administration of licenses.
Moreover, not telling the truth in your resume can cost you the right to sue the employer if there are any legal claims against it, such as termination based on racial discrimination.
In the end, your name can be blacklisted and that will significantly decrease your chances of finding a new job.
What To Do When Youve Lied On Your Resume
If youve lied on your resume, here are several ways to protect yourself.
1. Turn that lie into the truth: Particularly with skills-based lies, if you can learn the skill you said you have, then you make yourself more employable by actually learning it. For example, if you said you know COBOL, learn it. Not only will it be useful for you in the future, but youll undo the lie on your resume.
By contrast, if its a skill you cant learn quickly, update your resume with one of the many resume skills you do have. You likely have more of them than you think.
2. Explain you noticed an error on your resume: Then, send in an updated version. If you inflated quantifiable data, fixing a few numbers may be all thats necessary.
3. Own up to lying on your resume: This option makes it less likely youll be hired. But if sending in an updated resume isnt an option, owning up to lying on it might at least save your reputation from being destroyed before youre found out.
When you own up to lying on your resume, be courteous, professional, and speak to the company directly. Never send out a mass email to correct this kind of mistake. A good example would be:
Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I was attracted to because . However, to my horror I just noticed a mistake in the resume I sent you and was hoping youd instead review this amended version. Ive attached it for your convenience. Thanks in advance, and I hope to hear from you soon!
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Employers Dont Like To Hire Liars
Put yourself in an employers shoes. You are trying to fill an open position and you want to hire someone who will stick.
Would you be more likely to take a chance on someone whose work history is thin but who seems smart, passionate, and friendly? Or would you be more likely to hire someone who willfully misrepresented his or her accomplishments and lied to your face? 100% of the time, employers will opt for the former, so dont take the risk of being labeled a liar.
So if you do anything that raises even a bit of suspicion, it could kill your chance at getting hired. Even if youre the most qualified candidate on paper.
Your Alma Mater Cant Confirm You Graduated
Claiming to be a Harvard graduate when you really have a degree from a no-name state school is one of the worst things you can lie about on your resume, according to hiring managers surveyed by Hloom. And while some employers will take you at your word when you say you went to a fancy school, others will check on your educational background by calling the school directly or using a service, such as the National Student Clearinghouse.
Sometimes, its interested third parties who clue an employer into a lie, such as the student journalists at a Kansas high school who discovered their new principal had inflated her educational credentials.
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What Can Happen If You Lie On Your Resume
While lying on your resume isnt illegal, it can have equally dire consequences for your professional life as breaking the law.
Consider the following possible negative outcomes that lying on your resume can create:
Not getting a job. One of the most gleamingly obvious consequences of lying on your resume is not getting jobs because employers figured out you werent truthful. Usually, when an employer discovers that an applicant has lied on their resume during the hiring phase, they wont tell them they caught them lying and just wont call them. If youve been noticing poor luck in the job search, it may be because potential employers are detecting lies in your resume.
Losing your job. A situation where an employer discovers that an employee has lied on their resume after hiring them can be even more challenging to deal with. At the bare minimum, youll be faced with the strong possibility of losing your job and becoming unemployed. Additionally, you will never be able to use the employer as a reference because all theyll have to say is that they had to fire you for lying.
Harming your professional reputation. Reputation is critical in most industries. If other professionals in your field find out that youve been caught lying on your resume, it will make you look untrustworthy and damage your professional reputation. This can make it difficult to find an employer who will hire you or clients who want to work with you in the future.
Your University Cannot Confirm Your Graduation
Lying about your education is probably the worst idea. Claiming to be a graduate from a prestigious University, while you have a degree from a no-name state alma mater not only shows you in a bad light, but its easy to catch.
While some of the employers might take you at your word, most of them will check your educational background by direct call or using a National Student Clearinghouse.
We know that lying on your resume to get your desired job might be tempting, but avoid doing it. In the end, there is nothing worse than starting your career with such a bad experience.
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Sentenced To Eight Months In Jail
In 2002, John Davy was appointed as the CEO of Maori Television Service, a New Zealand television network. However, his employer discovered, just seven weeks later, that his resume was riddled with fabrications. The university he claimed hed attended didnt actually exist, for example. And, he lied about his employment history, too.
Eventually, Davy was sentenced to jail for eight months after pleading guilty to the crime of using a document to obtain a benefit or privilege namely a senior appointment with the Maori Television Service.
The Truth Of The Matter
Fact is, no job candidate is perfect, and if your resume portrays perfection, that in and of itself might put an employer on high alert. Plus, employers don’t expect perfection. What they do expect is your resume to represent the real you. “Most of us have had bumps in the road that don’t exactly look great on the resume,” says Isaacs.
Leave the lies behind and lead instead with your best self. Want to get your resume in front of more hiring managers? Create a profile on Monster for free and we’ll help connect you to awesome jobs.
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% Of Candidates Lie On Their Cv
According to expert estimates, 99% of candidates lie on their CV.
If you want to hope to have a chance to make it to the shortlist, you have to be among the 1% that tells the truth.
Precisely because of this very high percentage of liars, recruiters pay particular attention to reading the CV and check the data reported.
For example, if you mention companies where you say you have worked, very often companies contact them for confirmation.
But the field where recruiters proceed the most in-depth assessments are undoubtedly that of the requirements they will most likely test your skills, and you will have to commit to passing the necessary tests, perhaps even during the interview for possible employment. And if there are lies in the resume, they will find out.