Why Do People Lie On Their Resume
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:
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:
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
How To Improve Your Cv Without Lying
Take the time to thoroughly research the company, by looking at their site, reading through the job description and finding out more about the employees that already work there.
Use this information to figure out the most relevant skills or qualifications you possess, and emphasize these as much as possible in your CV. Make sure that you position relevant expertise at the top of your application, to catch the attention of the employer and boost your chances of being invited to an interview.
Also, bring your hobbies and interests into the mix. Find ways to relate them to the company culture in order to show you are an ideal fit for the business. Make sure these come immediately after your qualifications and experience on your CV, and also include them in your cover letter, so the employer can see how your interests are relevant to the role.
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.
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When Can I Lie On A Resume
So, youve found the perfect job, but you are missings skills or qualifications. You are thinking about lying on your resumedont.
Firstly, the part youre missing may not be as important to the employer as you imagine.
Secondly, it is easy for employers to discover lies on a resume, many use specialist firms that carry out extensive background checks so your lie would be discovered, even if you manage to succeed in interviews.
By cross-checking information against the right databases, it is not hard to identify an invented qualification or job title. It is also very simple to contact previous employers to check information.
Telling small lies on a resume? It is best not to lie on your resume, as it is more likely to stop you from getting the job than increasing your chances. If you are applying for your first job and are lacking in experience there are ways to write an effective entry-level resume.
Your Resume And Cover Letter Dont Match
A sparkling, error-free resume paired with a messy cover letter is a red flag that a candidate is not being totally honest. Such a discrepancy suggests you got a helping hand with your C.V. or maybe even stole another persons work history to pass off as your own. Being unable to recall key details of your past experience and jobs during an interview is another huge giveaway that youve fabricated your past employment.
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If Youve Already Lied On Your Cv
If you have applied for a job using a CV containing false statements, try to rectify the situation. Contact the employer and let them know that there are some errors on the application that youd like to change. Making the employer aware at this stage will help you avoid difficulties further down the line.
If you are even further into a job application, you may want to consider withdrawing your application, particularly if the statements are in no way true. Choosing to end the process here will allow you to maintain your reputation, rather than damaging it should you get found out at a later stage.
Lying on your CV can severely damage your career before it even begins. It is important to be honest when applying for jobs, even if you feel that you lack the experience and qualifications you desperately want. Think about the time you would spend conjuring up false statements and instead, invest those hours in either gaining relevant skills or improving your job applications.
Rachel Campbell is a content writer for Portfolio Credit Control, an expert recruitment agency which can candidates along the way to finding their ideal role in credit control.
This article was originally published in June 2015.It was last updated in April 2021
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Tips To Avoid Lying On Your Resume
If youre worried about not having enough qualifications, you can consider expressing your willingness to learn new skills. Hiring managers also look for candidates who have transferable skills that can be utilized in this new position. Therefore, you dont have to necessarily know absolutely everything that an employer is looking for, though, you should know most. Its a much better idea to be upfront about your expertise and admit that you dont know a particular skill than lie about it.
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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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The Five Most Common Resume Lies
These are the top five and the ones any recruitment specialist can quickly detect, so, be aware.
- Job title: This is seen as an easy way to exaggerate the importance of a position. Adding words to job titles like executive and senior is not only transparent to any experienced recruiter, but also easy to check!
- Skills: Lying about skills on a resume can be tempting but its also dangerous. If you lie about the extent of your IT skills for example, it will soon become obvious when youre asked to use a program which you cant, and have lied about. This is one of the biggest resume lies.
- Responsibilities: People often include extra responsibilities on their resume in order to reach a better position. Interview questions can often make it clear that a person has lied about the responsibilities theyve claimed to have.
- Dates of employment: Lying about employment dates on a resume is not the answer to filling gaps on a resume as this information can be easily checked by potential employers with a simple phone call. Instead, focus on what you have achieved between jobs.
- Education: This is one of the worst resume lies, and one of the silliest. Firstly, it is easy for employers to check. Secondly, the employer may have been more interested in your experience and personal attributes.
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.
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How Lying On Your Resume Will Get You In Trouble
Today’s job market is competitive. Those who are in need of work undoubtedly know how difficult it can be to compete for the top jobs. This competitive environment has led some unscrupulous job seekers to embellish or exaggerate their experience in order to improve their chances of obtaining jobs. What are the consequences for the employee who has embellished on their resume they get caught?
You Probably Wont Get Away With It
Chances are, youve got some kind of online profile with your credentials, endorsements and recommendations on it. Online profiles are public, thus it’s far less likely a candidate will be bold enough to inflate their creds, says Stephanie Anderson, marketing communication strategist for LinkUp. The people youve worked with in the past know your skillsand may get called as referenceseven if you dont put them in your official list of references.
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Its Just Plain Dishonest
Letâs start with the biggest, most obvious reason first, shall we? Padding or lying on your resume is just plain deceitful.
Remember when your parents and teachers would always remind you that, âHonesty is the best policyâ? Well, that sentiment doesnât change just because youâre technically an adult now. Theyâre still great words to live byâparticularly when it comes to job hunting.
I know that itâs tempting to add in a quick line that asserts youâre a Photoshop expert or a bullet point that claims you have extensive sales experienceâafter all, what could only a few untrue words hurt? But, believe me, youâre always better off resisting temptation and ensuring that your resume is completely, undeniably, 100% factual. It might not seem like it at the time, but honesty really is always better for you in the long run.
What If I Get Hired After Lying On My Resume
Unfortunately, the problems dont stop here, you could be fired for resume lies
The resume lie may be discovered in a future background check which may be carried, for example, before a promotion.
Or if you have exaggerated or lied about skills on your resume, it will soon become clear after starting the job that your skillset and your resume dont match.
You will have to worry each day about not being competent and up to the task. Soon enough your employer will start asking questions.
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You Fail At The Skills Assessment Test
Its easy to say you are proficient in something. On the other hand, proving it might be difficult.
Employers know how simple it is for job seekers to exaggerate their skills, so adding a test is not something uncommon.
When you are in an interview, hiring managers can ask you a variety of questions to check your language or skills level and to reassure themselves that you can provide the quality needed for the job.
Failing such a basic test is a sure sign that youve either overestimated or stretched out the truth about your abilities and that can cost you the potential job.
The Recruiter Has Googled The Real You
We are living in a time when the number of employers using social media to screen candidates is at an all-time high.
With Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media, hiring managers can easily look up your social media profiles and see if your education and working history check out.
No matter if you decide to lie about your ex-employer, year of graduation, job title, or skills, your lie can sometimes be easily exposed by a simple Google search.
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Should You Lie About An Employment Gap
You should never lie on your resume about anything. Employers can easily verify your employment dates through your references and a background check. Their discovery of the lie will likely disqualify you from being considered for the open position. If they discover the lie after you are hired, it can be grounds for termination. Additionally, lying on your resume may put you in a position where youre asked to perform duties that youre not capable of. It is always better to be honest on your resume and clearly address why you have an employment gap with your hiring manager.
Be Prepared To Compromise
If you are overqualified for a role, be prepared for some give and take. Perks and remuneration often go hand-in-hand with seniority of title, and being overqualified can mean taking a step back on some of these benefits. If you are open to compromise on aspects of your employment package you have a far better chance of securing the role.
The job market can be tough for mature age workers. But you need to work with the situation, not against it. Dont dismiss roles on the assumption you are too skilled a wealth of opportunities can become available once youre part of the company team.
Should you lie on your resume? No its a temptation that you should always resist. With perseverance and a carefully structured resume, you are well-placed to land a rewarding role with your personal reputation intact. You may not be able to replicate previous positions youve held but you will be in the workforce, and from there, new doors can open.
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The Risk Just Isnt Worth What You Could Stand To Gain
Don’t risk your reputation for a resume lie.
Exaggerating the truth or outright lying on a resume isnt unusual, but that doesnt mean its an effective way to advance your career. According to Monsters 2019 State of the Recruiter survey, 85% of recruiters said that candidates exaggerate skills and competencies on their resumes. Not cool.
We’ve recently completed our latest hiring round of eight people, says Dave Davis, CEO and hiring manager at digital analytics agency Redfly. Our latest round was a complete disaster. It took four months. Candidate after candidate came in and were found to have lied on their resumes.
Its just not worth it to lie on your resume, Davis says. Hiring managers were not born yesterday. A single question is enough to catch you out on a lie. It causes an embarrassment and an awkward situation for everyone in the room. And once youve been caught, youve trashed your opportunity to get hired and damaged your reputation.
Those are the obvious reasons to avoid lying on a resume. Here some others.
How Can An Employer Discover Youve Lied On Your Resume
Employers can determine that youve lied on your resume by verifying the information on your resume. They can do this by simply reading your resume and seeing that your job titles seem questionable based on your career level, for example. If an employer requires you to take a skills test and your results indicate that you didnt pass, then they would know that your actual skills dont match what you presented on your resume. An employer can also conduct a background check to confirm your education or call your references to verify any details on your resume or job application.
If you need help writing a resume, use our data-backed resume builder.
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