Top 10 Lies on Resumes

If you’ve ever felt compelled to stretch the truth on your resume to make yourself seem more qualified, you’re not alone.  Current statistics say that more than half of resumes contain lies.  It’s perplexing as to why anyone would fabricate their job history, especially when others can easily check references or a simple Google search.

Reasons for these falsifications can vary from an applicant with a criminal record who is afraid it will prevent them from being hired, to a prospect looking to conceal an employment gap.  Perhaps the job seeker simply doesn’t possess the requisite education or skills that a job requires, but still feels qualified.  Whatever the reason for the lie, there can be consequences beyond simply being caught.

Here are the top 10 things people lie about on their resumes:

1. Stretching Dates Of Employment 

We have always been told that less than a year of employment at a job looks bad.  So rather than being honest, some people are doctoring their timelines.

2. Inflating Past Accomplishments And Skills 

It’s one thing to embellish preexisting skills and accomplishments, but it’s something completely different to just straight out lie.  If you didn’t do it, or don’t know how to do it, it’s better not to list it.

3. Enhancing Titles And Responsibilities 

A brief phone call to the previous employer can debunk any fallacies here, but many HR staff sometimes fail to conduct these calls - sad but true. Exaggerating what you’ve done in the past can really hurt you if you’re then expected to perform comparable tasks and find you’re unequipped for the role.

4. Embellishing Education

Whether you’ve rounded up your GPA or listed a degree you never actually earned, this lie is one that could not only result in termination of employment, but could also incur legal action on the part of the employer.

5. Unexplained Gaps And Periods Of “Self Employment” 

Sometimes people will claim to have started a small business venture to explain their gaps of unemployment.. Instead of making up a job to conceal an employment gap, try being honest. If you were taking time off to raise a family, go back to school or simply take a break, just tell the truth.

6. Omitting Previous Employment 

This is a grey area. Technically you’re not lying (although we all know about “lying by omission”), but there’s probably a reason you removed your last job from your resume.  Maybe you were fired or burned major bridges.  Again, in most cases it’s best to be honest.

7. Faking Credentials 

Whether you’re claiming fluency in another language, or that you have a skill set you don’t really possess, this is just never a good idea.  What are you going to do when you’re expected to actually utilize these?

8. Falsifying Reasons For Leaving Prior Employment 

There’s a tactful way of explaining being fired or quitting abruptly, and it doesn’t have to involve lying.  Just figure out the best way to explain it in as positive a light as possible.

9. Providing Fraudulent References 

Asking friends or family to lie and act as your professional references can get them in trouble too.  Value your friendships and look elsewhere for a genuine reference.

10. Faking A Military Record 

Since military personnel can receive preferential treatment during the hiring process, it might be tempting to feign.  However, this is one of the most serious offenses when it comes to lying on your resume,  so if you value your future, avoid this.

Honesty Really Is The Best Policy

Ever heard the Walter Scott quote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!”?  Lying on your resume won’t be over once you’ve been hired.  You will have to carry on lies you conveyed for the duration of your career.  That’s a lot to keep up with.

Even if you’re convinced that being honest will deter you from being hired, you might be surprised. No prospective employer expects you to be perfect.  And if they don’t hire you because of the truth, it’s not the right fit for you.