Why You Shouldn’t Lie on Your Resume

Why You Shouldn't Lie on Your Resume
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There’s a lot of advice about writing a resume that will get you the job you want. But one thing that often gets overlooked is the importance of being truthful.

Despite what you may think, lying on your resume can hurt your chances of getting hired, not to mention it’s ethically wrong.

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Do resume-makers lie?

84% of job applicants falsified their résumés, according to a survey. While most lie occasionally, others go to tremendous measures to cover up. They lie about their IT skills, make bogus degrees, and fabricate accolades and distinctions.

The study found that 60% of respondents claimed to have lied about their proficiency with specific skills, while 39.5% said they’d embellished their educational background. Another 26% told fibs about having a clean criminal record, and another 13.5% claimed to have been awarded a prize or honor they never actually won.

Can you get away with lying on your resume?

You might think that the odd lie here and there won’t hurt. After all, we all slightly embellish our past jobs, responsibilities, and experiences. We don’t want to look like a liar, do we?

However, depending on the severity and type of lie you are willing to admit to, there are plenty of consequences to being dishonest.

Beyond the practical elements of lying on your résumé – such as missing out on opportunities because you didn’t put yourself forward correctly – you must also consider the moral implications of doing so. Employers are looking for honest, trustworthy people who can face their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Instead of lying, make sure you have a standout résume demonstrating everything you have for the offer.

How can you get caught?

You might assume no one will fact-check your resume. Perhaps. Incorrect? Your falsehood could backfire in many ways. You may reveal yourself.

Lying requires work. You must elaborate if your résumé lie is brought up in the interview. You’ll be caught if you can’t back up your statements or your body language betrays you.

Even if you don’t get caught first, you may have to keep this lie up and tell your coworkers or employer if you get the job. The deeper a falsehood, the greater its ramifications and maintenance.

Many employers run background checks, making it easier to spot fabricated dates, work titles, degrees, and GPAs. With so much information available, even a short Google search could reveal you, so lying is risky.

Why it’s not a good idea to lie on your resume

Have you ever lied about your resume? You’re not alone. In a recent survey, nearly half of all respondents admitted to lying on their resumes. But before you go ahead and fib about your job at the pizza place in college, consider the consequences.

1. The lies will continue

When you lie on your resume, it’s not just a one-time thing. Once you get the job, you have to keep up the lies. And if you’re not careful, those lies can bite you.

For example, let’s say you lie about your educational background and get a job that requires a college degree.

Eventually, your boss will figure out that you don’t have the degree you claimed to have. And when she does, she’s going to be pretty upset. Not only will she feel like she’s been lied to, but she’ll also question your qualifications for the job.

2. Lost opportunity

A recent study found that people are less likely to hire someone who lies about their qualifications. Once employers realize someone has lied on their resume, there’s very little chance of getting hired. And, it can be pretty upsetting when your efforts to land yourself a job backfire because you lied on your resume.

The research revealed that most people don’t want to work with liars. But honesty pays off if you’re looking to land a job—a lot. When asked how many resumes they reviewed over one week, recruiters reported that they saw an average of 20 resumes per day. So, to stand out, you better tell the truth.

In addition to making a positive impression on potential future employers, telling the truth could help you land a job faster. This is because companies often check references before hiring. If you lie on your resume, you risk losing out on opportunities.

3. You’ll drown

It could come out during the interview process if you lie about your educational background or previous employment history. You might find yourself caught off guard if asked to show proof of your qualifications. This is because many employers require candidates to provide evidence of their credentials.

Employers often ask questions such as “What did you study?” or “Where did you learn that skill?” They want to ensure you are qualified to do the job before hiring you.

Asking for documentation of your academic achievements or professional accomplishments makes sense. However, there are situations where lying about your background could cause problems.

4. Reputation and credibility damage

If you lie about anything during the job application process, the bare minimum consequence, above and beyond losing the opportunity, is “serious damage to your reputation and credibility.” This includes exaggerating your achievements, omitting relevant information, or claiming qualifications you don’t possess.

The damage doesn’t end there. People are likely to use this experience against you later down the road if you’re willing and able to be less than truthful about yourself. They might even go so far as to question your integrity. As such, it pays to be completely upfront about everything.

5. Emotional consequences

The stress of keeping up the lie can lead to emotional consequences like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even panic attacks. These are just some of the adverse effects of dishonesty throughout the hiring process.

6. You could get fired

Lying on a job application isn’t just grounds for immediate dismissal; it can also lead to being blacklisted for life. Even if you’re not terminated, there are still consequences for lying on a job application.

If the employer finds out about the lie, they may decide against hiring you again, even if you don’t get fired.

And while employers often overlook minor lies like forgetting to mention a previous arrest, some companies take matters into their own hands and terminate employees without warning. “If you lied on your application, you might never work in HR,” says Susan M. Krumholz, Ph.D., a New York City-based employment attorney with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. “You’d never know.”

In addition to losing out on jobs, applicants may be unable to use references from former employers. This is true even if the employee wasn’t fired.

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The importance of background checks

Background checks are essential for a variety of reasons. For one, they help employers verify applicants’ information on their resumes.

Lying on a resume is a common practice, and background checks can help to uncover any false information that an applicant may have provided.

In addition, background checks can help identify any red flags that may be present in an applicant’s past. For example, a criminal background check can help to reveal any previous convictions that an applicant may have.

Overall, background checks provide employers with valuable information that can help them to make more informed hiring decisions.

How to proceed after lying on your resume?

Let’s face it. We’ve all lied on our resumes at one point or another. Maybe we exaggerate our skills or qualifications, or perhaps we outright lie about having a degree from a prestigious university.

Regardless of why you did it, it can be hard to bounce back if you’re caught in a lie. However, there are some things you can do to make things right.

First, it’s essential to take responsibility for your actions. Admit that you made a mistake and offer a sincere apology.

Next, please take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. This might involve being more honest on your resume or being more careful when applying for jobs.

Finally, don’t give up. A single mistake doesn’t have to define you. Learn from what happened and move forward with your career.


Should you, therefore, embellish your resume? The resounding response is “no.”

Not only could it come back to bite you in the future, but there are plenty of other ways to make yourself look good without resorting to dishonesty.

Let our experts help you put your best foot forward with a professionally written and error-free resume.

We can also give you tips on how to improve your interviewing skills so that you can get the job of your dreams.

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