Should You Lie On Your Resume?

Pursuing a dream job requires creativity. Exploiting every angle to give yourself an edge makes sense. But, should you lie on your resume to get it?

Okay, I'm positive you already know the answer to that question. Absolutely not. You shouldn't lie on your resume. End of story.

Unfortunately though, some candidates do lie on their resume and only serve to muddy the process for you. Competing with a fake or padded resume is hard. But, as tempting as it may be to twist the facts on your resume, believe me I say at the end of the day you'll cost yourself a job offer. A job offer you would have landed if you'd just been honest. With over 16 years of experience working as a career coach, resume writer and recruiting leader, I can assure you the only way to land a dream job is to be honest when writing your resume and interviewing.

Will Anyone Know If You Lie On Your Resume

I recently reviewed the results of an annual survey of hiring authorities to learn if candidates do in fact lie on resumes and whether or not hiring managers catch it. I broke down the data and the following is a quick and dirty recap on key information from my analysis that may ultimately impact your professional path, especially if you're job searching.

The survey results support the fact that some candidates will do anything to get an edge, including lying on their resume. What was most interesting is an alarming number of candidates were caught in their lie! Over half of the employers, 56% to be exact, reported they have caught a lie on a resume. So what lies did hiring managers report they most frequently see?

  • 62% discovered embellished skill sets
  • 54% found a candidate had embellished their responsibilities
  • 39% found inaccurate dates of employment
  • 31% discovered inaccurate job titles
  • 28% discovered inaccurate reports of academic degrees

The results support that when you lie on your resume, your chances of being caught are pretty high. What’s more, 7 in 10 employers reported they spend less than five minutes reviewing a resume! Taking into consideration that more than 1 in 2 hiring managers have caught a lie in 5 minutes or less, you can assume your chances of being caught lying may increase if a reader spends more time reviewing your professional documents.

Honesty and Creativity Pays

When it comes to impressing employers and landing dream jobs with integrity, the survey results revealed there are a lot of ways to get noticed, and hiring managers were not shy to list their top desires.

The results support the fact that awesome cover letters and personalized communication are in high demand. So what do hiring managers look for specifically?

  • 61% look for a resume that is customized to their open position. Wow! Over half of the respondents look for targeted resumes!
  • 49% look for a resume that is accompanied by a cover letter.
  • 26% like to see a resume that is addressed to the hiring manager or recruiter by name.
  • 21% look for a resume that includes links to a candidates online portfolio, blog or website.

What does all of this mean to you? A lot actually. If you're looking to make a career change,  take time to polish your professional presentation, including your resume and career documents. A targeted resume and targeted cover letter obviously opens doors. From there, it's up to you to crush your interview and follow up with a targeted thank you.

It's pretty clear that when you lie on your resume you won't get far. Putting yourself in the front of the line requires honesty, integrity and effort.

Personalize your approach to each job you are applying to. It may take time to target a resume to each role you pursue, but unless you want to be viewed as average, it's important that you not approach a job search with an average resume or presentation.

Not Sure How To Target Your Resume And Cover Letter?

It is obvious we are not the only ones who think a targeted cover letter and targeted resume matter. If you're struggling with aligning your background to the position(s) you're applying to, we make it easy! Our certified resume writers work within the industries they have professional experience in, allowing them to easily create content that speaks to your profession while aligning your skills to the roles you're applying to. What’s even better, all you need is 30 minutes or less and we do the rest! Simplify your career today!

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About The Author

Recognized nationally as an industry leader in resume writing and career coaching, Jeanna McGinnis, CPRW is a Founding Board Member at ReResumeMe and AVP, Career Strategy at A Players Executive Search Group Inc. Leveraging more than 16 years of experience directing hiring practices for multiple Fortune 100 companies, Jeanna and her team are refreshing how busy professionals brand, market and drive their careers. Please connect with Jeanna on LinkedIn or the ReResumeMe team on Twitter to simplify your career with updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,532 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed)(percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,532, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.95 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.