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Lying on your resume? You're not alone-- 7 in 10 workers say they lie on their resumes when looking for a job

Posted at 6:55 AM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-05 12:16:22-05

DENVER — Have you ever told a fib on a resume to get a job? If your answer is yes, you certainly aren’t alone. A survey out from ResumeLab shows that 70% of workers they interviewed admitted to lying on their resume and 37% admit to lying frequently.

“Lying on resumes is something that has become a bit maybe more normalized with the internet,” said Geoffrey Scott, a senior hiring manager and senior manager of SEO content at Resume Genius.

According to the ResumeLab survey, people with a Master’s or doctoral degree admitted to lying most frequently.

The survey shows that the majority of people who stretched the truth on their resume embellished their job responsibilities or title to sound more impressive. Nearly half also lied about the number of people they are in charge of while about a third fabricated how long they were employed at a company or the name of an employer.

“The stretching of the truth scenario where maybe someone trains one or two people, but then they push it to three or four because they train people, but is the HR representative that's looking to hire that person going to call that company and say, ‘Did this person actually train three or four people?’ They're going to say, ‘Did they train people’ to verify it,” Scott said.

He’s also seen a number of people start using AI tools to help craft their cover letters.

However, Scott says the downside to lying on a resume is the potential of getting caught and then being immediately disqualified for the job.

“I think there's other instances where it could also lead to legal consequences, especially if there's potential harm to other employees based on your negligence,” Scott said. 

This could be a position that involves people’s safety, for instance. Instead of lying, Scott says there are a few simple things job applicants can do to get themselves noticed.

First, check your spelling and grammar. Scott says a clear cover letter and resume without grammatical errors can go a long way to landing an interview.

Second, clearly read the job description and tailor your pitch to each individual position you are applying for rather than sending a generic cover letter. Scott says it’s better to have a few, carefully crafted applications than a dozen generic ones.

“Looking at the job description and pulling out words from it, and then giving examples of how those words apply. to your own background. So, if there's soft skills listed in there, like communication skills or attention to detail, like illustrating attention to detail in your application or giving an example of how you're a strong communicator. I think these are good ways to make a good case for you as a candidate,” Scott said.

Finally, do your homework on the company and try to get some information ahead of time about what their culture is like.

His bottom line is that lying on a resume or job application is a bad idea and actually might not even be necessary.

“If you get caught on those lies and hurt the trust, then you've lost that opportunity and maybe you didn't even need to stretch the truth to get that opportunity,” Scott said.