Lying on Resume: Here’s Why Job Seekers Should NEVER Do It

6 min read
an HR manager reading a resume during an interview

Is lying on resume a bad thing? This question has become more important to talk about today, in light of the controversy surrounding United States Representative George Santos; who, upon being sworn in, has been found to have fabricated a considerable amount of information on his resume. While some publications got a hold of his resume, others even compiled a list of all the lies Santos has so far told. Nonetheless, amid mounting calls for his resignation, Santos has denied all allegations against him.

So, we ask again: Is it okay for a job seeker to lie on their resume? While this question is supposed to be non-rhetorical, let’s look at why some job hopefuls end up lying on their resume, which aspects of their credentials they mostly lie about, what they can expect when found out, and how to write a resume that doesn’t resort to lying.

Common Lies on Resumes

From white lies to egregious fabrications, lies on resume drive recruiters mad. Simply put: Never lie. Lying on resume or providing false information is not only unethical, it’s also illegal.

There are a few common lies that job seekers may include on their resumes. These include:

Lying on Resume About Your Degree

Lying on a resume about a degree is a serious offense. Claiming to have a degree that you haven’t earned, as Santos has done by stating he was an alumnus of Baruch College when he didn’t graduate there. On any other given day, that counts as fraud. Employers and hiring managers do background checks, either through their own research on social media or by contacting the schools.

Lying on Resume About Your GPA

Lying about GPA on a resume is also a serious offense. It’s important to remember that hiring managers may confirm your GPA. Either through their own research or by contacting the school. Make sure you declare your actual GPA.

Lying About Your Employment History

Lying about employment dates on a resume is also a no-no. Claiming to work for a company during a specific time frame when you didn’t is a serious offense. If you have gaps in your employment, it’s better to address them upfront. Explain the reason for the gaps in your resume or cover letter. Also, if you have changed jobs frequently, explain the reason for the job changes. They may do reference checks.

Lying on Resume About Job Titles

Lying about job titles on a resume is not good. Some do it to raise their prospects of getting the job, but this comes at a price. As noted above, employers do background checks to verify your career history, so embellishing your previous job positions might not be a wise move.

an HR manager reading a resume while looking at the job applicant with suspicion
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What Happens If You Lie on Your Resume?

If you are caught lying on resume, it can have serious consequences. These range from immediate termination of employment to potential legal action taken by the company against you. Needless to say, lying on resume is never a good thing.

Some of the potential consequences include:

Termination of Employment

Dishonesty should have no place anywhere, and a professional setting is no different. Lying on your resume is a fireable offense. When the hiring manager finds out that you lied on your resume, they may terminate you on the spot, regardless if you have already begun working for the company.

Damage to Professional Reputation

Lying on resume can also damage your professional reputation. Remember, your employer is most likely part of a large professional connection. The repercussions of you lying on your resume include having difficulty finding future employment, a flagged work history, and loss of potential job opportunities.

Difficulty in Performing the Role

On the basis of practicality, lying on your resume might make your employer believe you’re qualified to do tasks that are in reality way beyond your capabilities. So, when you exaggerate your skills, there’s a high probability you won’t perform your role effectively. This can lead to a negative impact on your professional career. Worse, you won’t get a good recommendation.

Legal Action

Job applicants may find lying on resume acceptable, but the truth is that it isn’t. The worst case for someone who did this involves legal action from their employer. Fraud or misrepresentation are gross offenses that might merit lawsuits or even jailtime. Exaggerating or embellishing the truth can be just as damaging as outright lying, as they can lead to disappointment and mistrust.

Should You Lie on Your Resume?

Never, ever lie. As we’ve detailed above, lying on a resume has serious consequences. Also, exaggerating or falsifying information on a resume can lead to difficulty in performing the role.

So, how can being truthful help job seekers have a strong job application if their credentials are scarce when stacked against the competition? Instead of lying, emphasize your knowledge, skill, and abilities. Some resume formats aim to do that, so make sure you know which format to use.

Below are resume writing tips to help you get your job search game afoot. These helpful tips can make you a marketable applicant in the eyes of the recruiters.

two hiring managers smiling at the job applicant
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Resume Writing Tips for Applicants with No Work Experience

Do not resort to lying on a resume. Take note that there are still ways on how to add valuable information to your resume that are truthful. Here are a few tips.

1. Highlight relevant education or training.

Highlighting your college degrees as well as certifications that you have earned shows your dedication to learning. It will also show your willingness to invest in your own professional development. Alongside these certifications, include any relevant academic projects, research, or thesis.

2. Include relevant community involvement or volunteer activities.

For those with employment gaps or those with little to no professional experience to show, any volunteer or community service experience can be helpful. This will prove your commitment to helping others, while also showing your willingness to work as part of a team. Apart from community involvement, other extracurricular activities that relate to your desired job post deserve a spot on your resume.

3. Include internships on your resume.

Any internships or co-op experience can provide valuable insights into the industry. Internships and co-ops can be a great way to gain hands-on experience. Include any projects you worked on, accomplishments, or recognition.

4. List all the skills that are applicable to your target job.

We’ve discussed earlier how embellishing skills constitutes as lying on resume. To avoid that, incorporate the skills that align with the job. These include transferable skills you have, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, leadership, and time management.

5. Showcase personal projects.

List personal projects or self-taught skills on your resume. Also, add links or portfolios of your personal projects on your resume. This will help the hiring manager to have a better idea of what you’ve done and what you’re capable of. Include details such as the project or skill, the time frame, and any technologies or tools you used.

6. Include a summary statement.

Include a brief ‘about you’ on your resume. Are you an entry-level professional? Or are you looking to change careers? Whatever the case, a summary statement is a great way to highlight your qualifications. It’s an overview of your qualifications and experience which, again, should align with the specific job you are applying for.

7. Tailor your resume statement for each job.

Personalize your resume to the job. Don’t submit a one-size-fits-all resume to all your job applications. Instead, carefully select the skills and qualifications you need to highlight, given that they match the position. Personalizing your resume maximizes your chances of getting the job.

How do you do it? Use the same language and terminology that the job posting uses, including words describing the qualifications and responsibilities. In addition, use powerful action verbs, while quantifying your achievements to make your resume more powerful.

8. Consider hiring a professional resume writer.

Finally, hiring a resume expert may help you save time and present job-winning resume. Professional resume writers are experienced in crafting resumes that are tailored to your specific skills and qualifications. Hence, they can help ensure that your resume is written in a clear, concise, and professional manner. This, in turn, makes you stand out from the other candidates.

a professional resume writer
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Have Your Resume Written by Professionals for a Personalized Approach

In summary, job seekers should be truthful and accurate in their resumes. Lying or exaggerating can lead to serious consequences if get caught. At all costs, never ever lie on a resume. Remember that employers and hiring managers countercheck resume information. So, it’s best to be honest. Be transparent about your education, work experience, and qualifications. Emphasize your strengths if your work history is still lacking, and incorporate all relevant activities that showcase your character and resolve.

If you’re having trouble highlighting your qualifications on your resume, consider hiring professional resume writing services online. They have a team of experts that write resumes tailored to the applicants’ specific skills and qualifications. To get you started, we’ve listed the 10 best resume writing service providers. Check them out today!