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Resume Lies You Need To Avoid

Resume lies to avoid

The thing about lying on your resume is that you can get caught. Therefore, lies seem harmless until you are faced with consequences that can affect your long-term prospects.

These reasons will convince you not to lie for the sake of getting hired. So instead of stretching the truth, check out the best course of action that will still take you to the job of your dreams.

Top Resume Lies to Avoid

According to a Checkster study, as reported by, 78 percent of applicants surveyed lied during hiring.

Based on the survey and other sources, here are the most common things that job seekers lie on their job application:

  • Overinflating education and academic credentials, such as claiming to be a graduate of a prestigious university (but it isn’t the case), earning a degree that was not completed, or holding two or three degrees that turned out to be none
  • Saying they quit when they were actually fired
  • Adjusting employment dates to cover gaps or omitted employers
  • Providing fake references with family, friends, or even the applicant posing as the reference
  • Exaggerating skill proficiency levels, job responsibilities, job titles, and accomplishments that don’t exist
  • Overstating salary as a bargaining strategy

Whether you are making stuff up, deliberately hiding facts, or embellishing the truth, you are still lying one way or another.

Why You Should Never Lie and What You Should Do Instead

1. You Are Sabotaging Yourself

Getting caught lying is not the first impression you want your future employer to have of you. Yet, it seems to be that way when your answers during the interview didn’t match with your resume and cover letter.

Aside from your body language and words, employers can verify the truthfulness of your statements:

  • Running a background check
  • Verifying with the schools, companies, or people listed on your resume
  • Contacting references
  • Googling including checking LinkedIn, Facebook, and maybe YouTube

It would be a waste if your application is terminated or your job offer rescinded because you lied.

What to do: If you are really interested in the position despite not meeting some of the requirements mentioned in the job description, build your case in your cover letter. You can highlight skills that you actually have and think would apply to the job.

2. Lies Plant Doubts and Distrust

In the workplace, trust is key in building relationships. Your boss and coworkers will likely feel betrayed if they found out about your fake credentials to get the position (and possibly better pay).

If you supervise a team, your credibility will suffer, and your team members won’t probably trust you as much with their work-related concerns.

Once doubts are planted, it’s hard to shake them off as your intent will always be questioned. Your “little secret” may not cost you your job, but it can damage your work relationships.

What to do: Admit your mistake, apologize, and attempt to regain their trust.

3. You’ll Struggle with the Job

The job is the actual demonstration of your skills. An experienced manager or direct superior will know if you are simply getting the hang of things or truly lacking in the skills department.

If you don’t want to struggle or get burdened by unrealistic expectations, don’t claim to be a master of a skill that you are barely good at.

You may be able to survive by googling things or learning the ropes as you go, but the learning curve can be steep. Expertise, after all, takes education and experience.

Being in this situation where you are like an impostor affects your mental health and job satisfaction in the long run.

What to do: Invest in yourself. If you want to start a coding career, enrol in courses that teach you the theories and let you practice. You may not have much experience, but your willingness to learn may be an edge.

4. The Trouble with Lies

It may take days or years, but your lie can surface during a background check for your promotion, for example. The consequences of getting caught can be as grave as employment termination.

Your employer can fire you for as long as the reason is not illegal. They may also be able to use after-acquired evidence that can prejudice your ability to sue and recover damages for wrongful dismissal.

Generally speaking, employers can sue for fraud or other charges on the grounds of workers withholding or misrepresenting information resulting in business losses or liability. Consider the risk if someone lied about being able to operate heavy machinery or having a license to perform medical procedures.

Signing a contract brings a legal dimension to employment. And some applications are explicit about information (or mis-declaring it) as cause for dismissal.

What to do: Legal expenses and jail time should discourage you from resorting to false statements, especially those that affect how you carry out your job. Read up on relevant employment laws or consult legal professionals about the implications of this action.

On the other hand, protect yourself against discriminatory practices. Under the principle of equal employment opportunity, you are not required to divulge information, such as the following, that is immaterial to the job:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Civil status

5. Lying Can Hurt Your Career

Getting fired due to resume lies is an unsightly mark on your employment record and casts doubt on your abilities as a professional and character as a person.

Plus, you’ll have to explain why you were fired during interviews with potential employers. With more convincing to do, that makes finding a job doubly hard.

Burying your past by omitting it from your resume is not a great option either because it can mess up your work history. That’s another instance of misrepresentation and more explanation.

What to do: It’s better to be forthright about the circumstances at hand. You’ll face the risk of ruining your chances, but that is to be expected anyway.

You can, however, show that you’ve learned from your experience and deserve to be hired given your qualifications.

Facts Only

Lies are not created equal, with some carrying graver consequences than others. Still, don’t attempt to bluff your way through hiring and recruitment. Trust that you can get hired based on merit.

As a final tip, build a strong resume that looks professional and communicates your strongest points.

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Julia Hurtado

Julia Hurtado

Having spent an entire summer dedicated to travelling abroad, Julia now focuses on helping other students experience life outside their home country. As an American now working in London, Julia enjoys sharing advice on interning abroad, sipping tea (with 2 sugars, 1 milk please) and reading in her spare time.

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