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Do People Lie On Their Resume

The Caption In The Cartoon Is: So Basically You Lied On Your Resume

Lying on your resume – The reality | #grindreel

I recently read an article in the popular press about people lying in their resumes:

One of the people mentioned in this article even faced criminal penalties for gaining financial advantage through deception. So, it’s not just a matter of not getting a job, lying in your resume could lead to a pretty serious black mark against your name … forever in the entire world.

Now, while there have been numerous widely published articles about this topic, it seems that the message hasn’t been received by everyone. People still do it: distort, embellish, deceive and fabricate. My question is simple: why? While there are no excuses and while there really is no defence, here are some possible reasons. You might want to add others in the comments section.

Survey: How Many People Lie On Their Resumes

What would you to get the job you wanted? Shoot, what would you do just to get your foot in the door? Would you go as far to lie on your resume? Maybe just bend the truth a bit?

We conducted a survey on resume behavior to uncover who lies on their resume, what they lie about, and how those lies work out for them.

The results? Some people are far more likely to lie on their resumes than others.


  • 30% of people have lied or bent the truth on their resume.
  • Men are 6% more likely to lie on their resume than women.
  • While men lie more, men and women lie about the same things.
  • Millennials lie the most on their resumes, while Gen Zers just bend the truth and people over 45 follow the straight and narrow.
  • People are most likely to lie about work experience, followed by technical skills.
  • High school graduates are the most 10% more likely to lie on their resume than drop-outs or the more highly educated.
  • People with graduate degrees or higher are the least likely to lie.
  • 80% of people who lie on their resume are never found out.


We surveyed over 1,000 people on their resume behavior and motivations. We asked a series of questions on past resume behavior, motivations, and deceit. Similarly, we asked a series of questions to determine age, sex, and education. You can see a breakdown of our data and conclusions below.


Is It Illegal To Lie On A Resume

A resume is not a legal document, so lying on it isnt a criminal offense. However, you can be sued for lying on your resume.

In many states, if you listed a fake degree, then your former employer can sue you for fraud if they prove that your lie hurt their business.

And if you lied on a federal resume, then lying on your resume in this case is definitely illegal, because lying to a federal agent is a criminal offense. Some states have similar laws about lying to state officials too. Bear this in mind when applying to state government jobs.

Such lawsuits can lead to thousands of dollars in fines. In the worst-case scenario, they can even end in jail time.

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The Description Of Their Skills Is Pretty Unclear

One of the ways to see if a person is lying about their skills on their resume is to take a good look at how they present them. Go ahead and carefully read the descriptions they provide for their said skills. Are they clear and easy to understand or is the person beating around the bush?

In most cases, if a person doesnt actually have experience on a particular topic they will try and present it so the description is not very clearly defined. It might be because they have no particular knowledge on the topic or because they just want to seem like they know what they are talking about.

In any case, if you come to find that somebody isnt really clear about the description of their qualifications and skills, it is highly likely that their claims are not valid and you should probably not even consider interviewing that person.

Why Do People Lie On Resumes

Whisper Confessions: 15 People Who Were Caught Lying On Their Resumes

Human Resource Advisor at Emploi et Développement social Canada / Employment and Social Development Canada

Have you ever lied on your resume? Do you know someone who has lied on their resume? Studies show that 56% of people have been caught lying on resumes, and 80% of recruiters think people lie on their LinkedIn profiles.

Over the past few months I have been using my career consulting skills to help my little brother in grade 11 with his resume. With one year left in high school he is already stressed about deciding his career path. Not only is he stressed about deciding what to go into for university at the age of 16, but hes faced a challenge recruiters face daily.

My brother explained to me that a bunch of people in high-school are lying on their resumes to get their first job, or on their applications to get into university. These lies include being a captain on a sports team, being on school council, and having excellent grades. As a recruiter myself, I have seen lies on resumes such as adjusted job titles, responsibilities, false education degrees and much more.

My brother expressed to me how he feels this is unfair, and that it worries him that he wont get picked because he will not lie on his application. I reminded my brother, as he was well aware, lying on your resume is not the solution for going about your lack of qualifications.

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How Many Resumes Are Dirty

Former Paypal president and Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson has been in the media recently as it came to light that he had a falsification on his resume, regarding a computer science degree he didnt actually earn. This resume-gate is garnering plenty of attention because of the ethical questions it raises. But people should be hesitant to jump in on the witch trials, as its apparently more common than you might think to have inaccurate, misleading and downright false statements on your resume.

The idea of manipulating how we present ourselves for personal gain is not a new phenomenon. From the choice of clothes we wear to the pictures we upload on Facebook we are always projecting fabricated images of ourselves to others. The key distinction is where we draw the line, what is considered bendable, and what is concrete. As the date presented here eludes to, resumes are not above manipulation.

According to a AOL Jobs survey a whopping 78% of respondents admitted to having a misleading resume. However a Accu-Screen survey from 2012 has 73.5% of respondents claiming no falsifications, ever! On that survey only about 10% admitted to outright falsification . This hints at two possible conclusions. One being that these surveys are inaccurate. The second being people are lying about lying. Call me cynical, but Id bet on the second.

You Have A Gap 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.

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Falsifying Your Academic Degree

Dont think that hiring managers wont check whether you graduated or not and which degree you pursued. Many employers have caught candidates lying about their university degrees. If you didnt graduate for one reason or the other, be honest about it. Focus on highlighting completed projects and classes related to the job in your resumes education section.

Why Do People Lie On A Cv

What happens if you LIE on your resume?

Stretching the truth on a CV is unfortunately considered the norm within the recruitment industry with an estimated 50% of candidates admitting to fibbing or blatantly lying on their CVs.

And whilst the majority of most peoples CV embellishments will go undetected, Yahoos CEO Scott Thomson was less fortunate when he got caught misrepresenting his credentials.

Yahoo poached Mr Thomson from Ebay, but failed to notice the fictional degrees he had detailed on his CV. As a result of his CV amplification, he was ousted from the top job at Yahoo after barely 2 months and received no severance pay as a result.

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What Are Professionals Lying About

The survey of 1,000 UK workers explored whether professionals would ever consider lying on their CV, or to a potential employer, in order to secure a job. The findings suggest that many are willing to take the risk!

In fact, a third would be willing to lie about the dates of their previous employment and 27.1% about by gaps in their CV. This was followed by lying about salary .

And it doesnt stop there. Over one in 10 would lie about their work experience and 11.4% would fib about their previous responsibilities.

This astonishing figure is not to be taken lightly. Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library offers this advice to recruiters and employers:

Its clear from our findings that UK workers are not afraid to tell white lies on their CV in order to get a job. For employers, this means recruitment teams need to become more vigilant when it comes to vetting and assessing potential hires.

So whether thats asking for references from previous roles, or ensuring you ask the right interview questions to get the most out of your candidates, its important that you consider whether someone may be trying to pull the wool over your eyes!

I Was Directly Involved In A Big Impressive Project

More than half of HR managers said they had come across applicants who lied about their previous job responsibilities. Similar to lying about job skills, some people dress up the responsibilities they had at their previous job in order to seem more qualified for a new position. That often involves stretching the truth about involvement in a particular project.

People may be exposed to or involved in a project but not necessarily doing the work, Daryl Pigat, a manager for the staffing firm OfficeTeam, told AllBusiness. Sometimes that translates into a resume that says they were hands-on, when they may not have that practical experience.

This type of lie got Robert Irvine, host of the Food Network show Dinner: Impossible, into hot water. Irvine claimed to have helped design the cake for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, while in reality the cake was made at the school he attended . He also said he was a White House chef, though he actually worked at the West Wings Navy mess facility and never prepared meals for any president, the Tampa Bay Times revealed.

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When Is It Ok To Lie On Your Resume

Lying on a Resume (2020 Study)

Monster Contributing Writer

Heres the thing: we all lie. Whether we invent stories about a fat, bearded man who delivers presents to our children or how much we love watching romantic comedies with our wives, we are all prone to fabricating details that serve a purpose in our lives. Naturally, these tendencies expand into our professional exploits and we are not immune to embellishing details to get ahead. Of course, there is a big difference between exaggerating certain experiences and flat-out inventing details on your resume. While I would never condone anyone fabricating key elements on their resumes, I think most hiring managers do expect a certain level of creative embellishment. So, what is acceptable and what should you avoid doing?

Stick with the facts

If you graduated university with a 3.2 GPA, you are stuck with this number forever. If you claim to have graduated with a 3.4 GPA on your resume, you can be fairly confident that no hiring manager would forgive such a claim if the truth is discovered . I would strongly advise you against inventing numbers or changing key facts on your resume as these are far too easy to verify and far too hard to explain when you are caught. If you are insecure about certain elements on your resume, then feel free to exclude these details. Omitting certain details is a far better approach than being deceitful.

Job title subtleties

Be relative

Conceal gaps

Be creative

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You Cant Pass A Skills Test

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.

Is It Really A Bad Thing

According to regulatory filing Mr. Thompson was receiving a base salary of $1 million with annual bonuses assumed at least double that given based on performance. He also received an equity grant worth up to $11 million, an inducement grant of $5 million, a cash bonus of 1.5$ million for leaving Paypal and stock incentives worth up to $22.5 million.

So if you were to candidly ask Mr. Thompson if he regrets having that extra education section on his resume, I bet hed laugh. Hed probably also tell you the success he achieved at Paypal and Yahoo! was not directly correlated to having an extra degree on his resume but instead a result of a thousand other variables including track-record, networks and achievements.

So if you have the connections, and are aiming to be a CEO of a multi-million dollar company , then maybe distorting your resume isnt all that bad of an idea. However, if youre like the rest of us, its probably not worth it.

Maybe youre wondering what type of lies show up on a resume, you can learn more about these types of resume lies with this infographic. Anyone born of a mother knows the inevitable result of consistently lying they catch up to you, and they bite. Johnny High School Biology wont have the million dollar cushion to pad his falling from grace should his employer discover falsities on his resume.

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Is There A Better Way

Theres no sure way to spot every lie on a resume, but you can do your best to pick out the most obvious ones. If a potential hire has made up something on their resume, it will be tough for them to talk about it in genuine detail.

Its important to have a company policy when it comes to dealing with resumes. Whats your companys approach for fictional resume claims? Does your hiring team have a strategy for weeding out these resume tales?

“It seems like every single business candidate I’ve interviewed “knows” HTML. Knowing bold tags does not count.”

Mike Preuss CEO & Co-founder of VisibleVC

As hiring technology advances, companies have more and more options.

Many companies are now going beyond weeding out the lies and are making the switch to more in-depth hiring tools.

Small Business Expert Sonia Varkey of says, to find out who someone really is, youll need to use personality/psychometric testing. She says, a good test will assess someone for fit culturally and related to the actual demands of the job.

With reliable personality and skill tests, a company has the advantage of avoiding resume lie altogether A good test gets into who someone is without asking questions that the user can fake.

Heres a list of five things to look for when choosing a personality/psychometric testing tool.

Its ultimately up to the employer or your companys hiring team to decide whats most important.

Why Do People Lie On Their Resume

The TRUTH about LYING on your resume..(Part 2)| #grindreel

Lying on a resume is surprisingly common. A 2020 survey of over 1,000 U.S. workers found that a staggering 93% of respondents know someone who lied on their resume. The most common resume lies were related to:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Duties

While only 31% were caught, 65% of them were either not hired or fired from their role. Only 36% of respondents admitted that they had lied on their own resume. Of those who confessed, they were most likely to lie in these resume categories:

  • Experience

When asked why they lied on their resume, respondents listed the following reasons:

  • Long period of unemployment
  • Wanted a higher salary for the position
  • Didnt think they would get caught
  • Not qualified for the position

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