I Lied on My Resume; What Happens If I Get Caught?

Question:

I’ve been uneasy ever since I read the post you wrote about lying on your resume, https://bit.ly/3kpQ6YS.

I’ve done that, but only a little. I felt that if I didn’t, I’d never land a top job. Now I’m worried about what happens if an employer catches me.

Answer:

If an interviewer catches the lie, your chances of landing the job are shot. You may never know that’s happened. Most interviewers, when spotting deception, simply deep-six the application.

While many individuals “enhance” their accomplishments or inflate past job titles or salaries, those who do put the jobs they land and their reputations at risk. Because employers expect new hires to arrive with the skills they claim to possess, many employers toss applicants into the new job water, expecting them to swim. When those new hires instead splash around, their employers wonder. Sometimes these employers conduct post-hire reference checks and lose trust when they find out they’ve been defrauded.

What happens then? You get fired.

Other consequences

Your lack of experience could hurt others, as happened when a former government official falsified his disaster relief experience and botch the response to Hurricane Katrina. Or could have happened with the airline pilot who claimed better references than he had to gain a captain position with a commercial airline.1

You’ll also find that lies grow. When you lie on your resume, you need to lie each time anyone asks you a question related to your original lie. That creates continued problems. as you can get caught at any time. Or, you might forget your original lie and say something that doesn’t square with what you said during the recruitment process, leading your new supervisor to ask you a question that forces you to—guess what—lie again. Or imagine the embarrassment if you’ve claimed to be a manager on a prior job and your former actual shows up, as a vendor, customer or because he’s also hired.

Lying on a resume is a breach of trust and a lack of integrity. If they fire you, you won’t get a positive reference. In this digital age, it’s easier for you to get caught and the word to spread, especially if you work in an industry or community where the employers know each other. If you land a job with a competitor after you’ve been fired, and your former employer spreads the truth, you won’t be able to call them on it. You won’t be able to sue them. Since your employment was fraudulent, your employer’s illegal acts aren’t legally actionable.

Catch-up ball

If you’ve claimed a degree that you didn’t have or experience you lack? Make the lie true. Finish that degree. Work on your own to live up to the expectations you set.

1 https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/pilot-listed-star-wars-character-reference-repay-training-costs#gref

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One thought on “I Lied on My Resume; What Happens If I Get Caught?

  1. Lynne!! You’ve given great advice here and not sweetened it up. Yes, you could not be offered the job or lose the job if you have it; you could get bad references; there even could be legal and financial penalties. It was encouraging to say that you should finish that education or get that training that you claimed and just not embroider.

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