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Resume Lies Exposed: The Career-Killing Consequences

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How many resumes are dirty?

Many individuals tend to overstate their achievements, contributions, and skills on their resumes. We’ve all come across news stories about well-known figures who have included false information on their resumes, such as degrees they never earned or universities they never attended. This highlights the importance of being honest on your resume.

The concept of presenting a version of ourselves that benefits us is not a new trend. From the clothes we wear to the images we post on social media, we constantly project idealized versions of ourselves to others. However, it is crucial to draw a clear line between what can be manipulated and what is fixed in stone.

Don’t let the fear of embellishment completely take over though. The point of a resume and the subsequent interview is to appear to be an attractive candidate to an employer. This demands that you highlight your accomplishmentsClick To Tweet

How many lie on their resumes?

  • According to a recent survey by StandOutCV, 55% of Americans have lied on their resume at least once.
  • The most common lies told on resumes are about previous work experience (55.4%), skills (43.1%), college degree (or equivalent) (41%), personal details (39.5%), and high school details (39.2%).
  • 75% of employers have caught candidates lying on their resumes.

It is important to note that lying on your resume can have serious consequences, including being fired, having your job offer rescinded, or being blacklisted from future employment opportunities. It is always better to be honest and upfront about your qualifications and experience, even if it means not getting the job you want right away.

lies

Is it really a bad thing?

Here are some more recent examples of high-profile individuals who were caught lying on their resumes:

  1. Jeffrey Bingham Mead – In 2021, Jeffrey Bingham Mead resigned from his position as the top prosecutor in Solano County, California after it was discovered that he had lied about his military service and education credentials on his resume.
  2. Robert Flanagan – In 2021, Robert Flanagan, the Chief Information Officer of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was placed on administrative leave after it was discovered that he had lied about the academic credentials on his resume.
  3. David Byers – In 2020, David Byers resigned from his position as the CEO of a credit union in Virginia after it was discovered that he had lied about his educational background on his resume.
  4. Steven Biegun – In 2020, Steven Biegun, the Deputy Secretary of State under the Trump administration, was found to have falsely claimed on his resume to have a graduate degree from the University of Oxford.
  5. Carlos Lozada – In 2020, Carlos Lozada resigned from his position as the head of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority after it was discovered that he had lied about the academic credentials on his resume.

According to a 2023 study by CareerBuilder found that 57% of employers found discrepancies in background checks.

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05/22/2024 07:31 pm GMT
  • The most common discrepancies were in the areas of employment history (44%), education (37%), and criminal records (26%).
  • Employers are more likely to find discrepancies in the background checks of younger job applicants.
  • Employers are more likely to find discrepancies in the background checks of job applicants with criminal records.

These statistics suggest that the percentage of background checks that find discrepancies has increased in recent years. This may be due to a number of factors, such as the increasing availability of background check information and the increasing sophistication of background check technology.

It is important to note that these statistics are based on self-reported data from employers, so the actual percentage of background checks that find discrepancies may be higher or lower. However, the statistics do suggest that a significant number of background checks find discrepancies, which highlights the importance of conducting background checks on job applicants.

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05/22/2024 07:25 pm GMT

If you were to candidly ask anyone who has been fired because of a resume falsification if they regret having that extra education section on their resume, I’m sure they would say yes. Sadly, most of these individuals achieved personal success which was not directly correlated to having these falsifications on their resumes but instead a result of a thousand other variables including track record, networks, and achievements.

So if you have the connections, and are aiming to be a CEO of a multi-million dollar company (it seems you must have the latter to achieve the former), then maybe distorting your resume isn’t all that bad of an idea. However, if you are like the rest of us, it’s probably not worth it. Everyone (yes, you too) knows the inevitable result of consistently lying; they catch up to you, and they bite. The average person won’t have the million-dollar cushion to pad their falling from grace should their employer discover falsities on their resume.

Is it Illegal to Lie on your Resume?

Resumes are legal documents, so it should not be technically illegal to lie on a resume (emphasis on “should”). I suppose there is the outside chance that if you were hired at an executive level in a public company because of falsifications of your qualifications there could be shareholder lawsuits.

Something else to remember is that if you get fired for lying on your resume you do not have any legal recourse against your former employer. Additionally, you could be denied unemployment because you were fired “for cause” (lying). For more senior employees, you could lose deferred compensation as well.

Acceptable Inflation

Don’t let the fear of embellishment completely take over though. The point of a resume and the subsequent interview is to appear to be an attractive candidate to an employer. This demands that you highlight your accomplishments and place emphasis on your strengths while downplaying (or not mentioning at all) your weaknesses. Be honest, but be proud of what you’ve accomplished and it should show in your presentation of yourself. Also, the prevalence of online resume builders and career coaches these days helps to keep people honest by providing structured formats, how-to’s, and advice on the key points of creating a strong resume.

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