Lying on Your Resume? It’s a Bad Idea (Duh!)

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A new CareerBuilder survey found that nearly 60 percent of employers have discovered a lie on an applicant’s resume. Check out some of the worst lies employers have been told.

Are you an Olympic medalist? If the closest you’ve come to the Olympics is watching it on TV, it’s not a good idea to claim you’re an Olympian on your resume.

It turns out, there’s a good chance you’ll get caught if you lie on your resume. And not surprisingly, getting busted will more than likely ruin your chances of getting a job. Those are the findings of a new survey by CareerBuilder.

Fifty-eight percent of hiring managers said they’ve discovered a lie on a resume. And it appears more job candidates are being less than honest on their resumes. About a third of those employers said they’ve noticed an escalation in resume lies since the Great Recession. According to a press release:

Half of employers (51 percent) said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on his/her resume, while 40 percent said that it would depend on what the candidate lied about. Seven percent said they’d be willing to overlook a lie if they liked the candidate.

While you want to stand out from the competition when applying for a job, creating resume fiction isn’t the best way to go. According to Business Insider, Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said:

If you feel that you have to embellish your skills to be qualified for a job, then chances are it isn’t the right position for you and you probably won’t get hired. Pay attention to what is most important to that company and draw parallels to your own experience. That’s what will make you stand out.

A handful of the most common resume lies include:

  • Embellished skills – 57 percent of hiring managers mentioned this.
  • Inflated job responsibilities – 55 percent.
  • Dates of employment – 42 percent.
  • Job title – 34 percent.
  • Academic degree – 33 percent.

Some job applicants take their resume deception a step further, creating unusual (and often ridiculous) lies that go far beyond embellishing their job skill set. Employers recalled the most memorable lies they caught on applicant resumes. A few of my favorites include:

  • Like father, like son. One boss remembered an applicant who included job experience that was actually his father’s. Both father and son had the same name, though the father was a senior, and the son a junior.
  • Doghouse expert. An interviewer learned that an applicant who claimed he was a construction supervisor was actually referring to his experience completing a doghouse.
  • Government/country confusion. A hiring manager recalled a job candidate who declared that he was an assistant to the prime minister of a foreign country that doesn’t actually have a prime minister.

The survey polled 2,188 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

I’m surprised that more employers don’t toss a resume directly into the trash after discovering a lie.

What about you? Have you lied on your resume? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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