If you think everyone lies in their resume, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
Research conducted in the Asia Pacific displayed a staggering 54% employment-related discrepancies, with the most common resume embellishments being variances with the last job title / designation and the reasons for leaving a previous job.
Let’s be clear, lying on a resume is bad. Very bad. You never want to misrepresent your skills or experience when applying for a new position. It’s easier than ever for hiring managers to uncovering the true information. And once they do, your chances of landing the job will disappear.
Lying on your resume will come back to haunt you - no matter how badly you want the job, it’s just not worth it, especially when you consider the damage it has on your future career. Worst of all, you’re not just lying to a potential employer, but you’re also lying to yourself.
The costs of lying on your resume
Your resume is designed to sell your qualifications in the best light. There’s nothing wrong with a little exaggeration, right?
Wrong. Lying on your resume or in a job interview isn’t the same as dressing to impress; it’s a criminal act of fraud designed to mislead people into trusting you with the wellbeing of their business. Sketchy employment gaps may lose you the job, but you stand to lose much more by lying about it.
In today’s internet generation, it’s not easy to fly under the radar undetected. Losing your job is just the tip of the iceberg; you’d be lucky if that’s all you get away with. The long term ramifications of being exposed as a fraud may affect your career and your reputation for the rest of your life.
If you’re reported to the authorities, you face punishment of a hefty fine, jail time, or both. On top of that, your employer may choose to take legal action against you, compounding the damages.
It’s easy to get caught
It’s hard to get away with lying on your resume in the internet age. These days, just about every professional has a LinkedIn profile. There are also many other digital footprints you leave across the web – past e-mails, blogs, and other social media accounts. It just takes one person to stumble across the wrong piece of personal branding on the net, to start pulling apart your carefully-constructed façade.
You’ll be expected to deliver results based on the skills and abilities you claim to have. Not doing so is a sure giveaway that you haven’t been entirely honest about your qualifications. For example, there are far better ways to engage with salary negotiation than having to lie about your past. Check out the Robert Half Salary Guide for a comprehensive breakdown of industry benchmarks.
Background checks are becoming more frequent
The chances of getting caught for lying on your resume have never been greater.
Your word matters. While lying on a resume isn’t new, a competitive job market can lead otherwise honest people to embrace embellishments. This is always a mistake. Falsely claiming to possess a certification, slightly stretching dates of employment or inflating your job title simply isn’t worth the risk. Most companies conduct reference or background checks, and just one “little white lie” can cause employers to question your character and eliminate you from consideration.
Sir Walter Scott once wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” It’s as true now as it was back then. Lies need to be maintained with yet more lies, and most people slip up eventually. The short-term gains rarely outweigh the long-term losses.
When it comes to job hunting, honesty really is the best policy.
This article first appeared as “Lying on your resume will come back to bite you” on the Robert Half Australia Blog