Lying on Your Resume Can Get You in Trouble

John Krautzel
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As of 2017, the job market is highly competitive and people on a job search may decide to embellish their experience and qualifications to try to get ahead of other candidates. Lying on your resume has consequences, including immediate termination and a step back in your career. Take a look at the many reasons why you should not lie with regards to this vital document.

Lying on your resume isn't just giving a false statement. Employers may consider an omission a lie as well. For example, a person might say he completed a training course when in reality he just started the career development but never finished it. Implying that you worked at a job longer than you did, creating false references, exaggerating job duties and falsifying a job title are all common lies seen by recruiters. Research suggests up to 50 percent of candidates mislead potential employers on their resumes.

Perhaps you think you cannot live up to the expectations of the position so you mention on your resume that you have a certain amount of experience even though you don't. Ahead of an interview, any recruiter or hiring manager may check into your background. Keep in mind that if your boss suspects you're not meeting expectations, the supervisor may dig deeper after you're hired.

You may end up lying to cover up a previous lie. This is where misrepresentations on your resume can get out of hand. For example, you say you graduated from a certain college during a certain time frame. Someone at your office asks about what that experience was like, and you have to fabricate names of buildings, professors, colleagues and the like. Your boss may decide to contact some of these people if he thinks a more detailed background check is needed.


Lying about your past can lead to immediate termination. There may be a clause in your employment contract that lays out this policy. That's because your employer trusts you and takes you at your word. When a little white lie spirals out of control, it becomes harder to find the truth, and your boss may determine you have a character flaw that's too much to overcome.

After your termination, you have to repair your professional reputation. Someone on LinkedIn may reach out to colleagues to warn them about your propensity to lie. If your future boss calls a previous supervisor or HR department, that employer may say you were terminated because you lied about some aspect of your resume. Before your next job search, you must repair the damage.

Your resume serves as a personal branding document. Remember that employers respect and admire honesty because that means you are a stand-up person who knows what's right. Think about what a lie might do to your career and avoid lying when trying to find a job.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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