One of the most challenging parts of getting a job is standing apart from the other prospective job seekers. You can be the most qualified candidate for a position, but if you do a poor job on your resume, you may not receive job offers.
A misconception regarding resumes is all applicants must spruce up their resumes by misrepresenting their abilities. In some cases, applicants lie about their resumes because they have most but not all of the required skills for a job.
Some applicants who only worked at a job for a short period list their employment time based on years and not months, making it seem like they were employed for a significantly longer period. Other lies are blunter, such as applicants making up job titles or listing qualifications they do not have or experience they did not receive. Lying on your resume is never a good idea, even if you think you are only making up an insignificant detail.
Getting Caught in a Lie
Even if your employer does not initially catch your lie during the interview process, there is the chance someone could discover your lie later on. When your employer is calling up your references, what happens if one of them confirms you do not have a skill or job title you claimed? Even if you get hired, any inaccuracies in your resume may come up when you start your job and your employer expects you to demonstrate one of the skills you claimed to have.
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If you are caught lying, there is a good chance you will be let go or demoted with less pay. Even if you prove to be great at your job, employers do not want employees they cannot trust. If you were willing to lie on your resume, there is no guarantee you have not lied about something else at work. It is not only your boss who can find out the truth. Other employees may accidentally let it slip. For example, one of your coworkers may mention they had to help you with a skill you had claimed to know on your resume.
Destroying Your Reputation
Getting caught in a lie damages your professional reputation. If you are fired from your job because you lied to your boss, you are unable to collect unemployment insurance. In addition, depending on the nature and extent of your lie, you may not be able to reliably list the job on your resume, which could lead to a resume gap. Depending on your profession, you risk damaging your network. Even if you are able to work around having a resume gap, it is possible someone could hear from your former employer or coworkers about what you did. In some fields, especially more niche jobs, word travels fast.
Lies of Omission
Many applicants do not set out to lie on their resume but end up using shady tactics equal to lying. Lies of omission refer to any lie you tell by leaving out information on your resume. For example, some applicants list schools they attended on their education history, even if they did not end up graduating from those schools. Applicants may even take this further by listing their major along with the school. These applicants try to argue they did not lie since they never specifically mentioned they had those degrees. This is a lie of omission, since the applicant left out that she or he did not graduate, implying that the degree was completed and allowing the employer to assume as much.
Another situation where applicants do not necessarily intend to lie is when they embellish their resumes. Embellishment refers to any tweak or half-truth you list on your resume. For example, some applicants embellish their resume by listing a job position they did not have, such as calling themselves a manager instead of an assistant. Other applicants stretch their qualifications. If the applicant previously used a software program, he or she may list it on their resume even if he or she has at most a passing knowledge of how the program works. If you only understand enough Spanish to have very basic conversations, you do not want to list yourself as being proficient in the language.
Employers perform background checks and asks for references largely to catch any embellishments on your resume. Even if you believe an embellishment is not a lie, your employer may not share your belief. It is a large red flag for employers when a detail, even if it is small, does not add up on your resume. Catching an embellishment puts employers in a difficult position, since they are left wondering what else on your resume is embellished and what is the truth. It indicates you are not taking the job seriously if you are willing to make up details about your resume.
Lies Lead to More Lies
You may intend to lie about only one area of your resume, but lies often spiral out of control and lead to additional lies. For example, if you lied about your employment time, you may find yourself lying about your work responsibilities if it comes up in an interview. Your interviewer may press for you additional details, such as what you did during your year of employment or the skills you gained. If you only worked at the listed job for a few months, you have to come up with additional material to make it sound like you were at the job for longer.
If you lie about having a particular skill but your employment or education history does not cover where you learned the skill, you may need to invent a plausible explanation. If you end up being hired, employers may want to skip over areas of training as well because they believe you already possess the necessary knowledge or skills based on your lies.
The only way to break the cycle of lying is to be honest during your next job interview. If you have a lie listed on your resume, correct the lie. You can either remove it entirely or change it so that it reflects reality. Take extra classes to learn a skill you claimed to have. If your employer asks you why you left your previous job, tell the truth while highlighting what you have learned in the meantime.
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