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The Pitfalls of Lying on Your Resume


The Pitfalls of Lying on Your ResumeHelen Perruzza, receives tons of resumes from hopeful job applicants everyday. She is a senior personnel consultant with First Choice Personnel, an employment agency in Toronto. Early in spring 2000, a young woman sublimated a resume for a Customer Service position with one of First Choice’s clients. Her resume was outstanding and paralleled the job position. Perruzza invited her in for an interview. Her performance in the interview was very satisfactory and she was introduced to the client, who was also impressed by her. A background check was performed and alas, the diploma she claimed she had received from college never existed. So no job offer!

Perruzza’s experience with this job seeker is unfortunately a common occurrence for many recruiters. While there are no statistics, various sources of information indicate that a high percentage of job applicants lie about their credentials or work experiences on their resumes. According to CNN Money, the five most common lies job seekers tell in their resumes pertain to education, job title, compensation, reasons for leaving and accomplishments.

Making bogus claims or exaggerating credentials is very tempting and may seem like the easy way to go to get that attractive job, but it is also very risky. Many employers and recruiters are very much aware of the increasing rate of resume fraud and as such, conduct extensive background and reference checks on prospective employees.

“A lot of companies these days have an outsourced background check company to perform background checks on applicants,” says Perruzza.

The consequences of lying in resume are dire because no organization wants to have a dishonest candidate on its team.

“The mentality is that if they had lied about this, what else they are going to lie about,” says Perruzza.

In the case of Perruzza’s candidate, her lie stopped her from getting the job when she was the number one candidate for the position.

A resume fraudster may assume that being caught lying by one company is just the end of it and they can carry on with life but a simple resume lie could very well hurt one’s long term career prospects. Companies or employment agencies are likely to red flag a candidate that was caught lying.

“We work with so many different clients and we network with them extensively,” says Raimey Olthuis, senior recruitment consultant for Everest Management Network. “So it really gets around that this person is a liar.”

A resume liar can certainly get past the application and interview process but they might not be able to live up to the claims they made in the resume. In addition, that could lead to a quick termination and a blotch on their resume.

Being as truthful as possible in ones resume is the best and safest way to go. As Perruzza points out, there is no shame in saying you have only completed one or two years of college courses but to actually say you have completed a degree or diploma when you have not, or claim you were a manager of customer service when you were only a customer service representative would leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth when they find out later.

“If you have any questions about wording something or if you want to be truthful but think it would have a negative connotation, then you should seek professional advice,” concludes Perruzza.”

By Surranna Sandy, CPRW, CEIP, President
Surranna Sandy, CPRW, CEIP, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career and Certified Employment Interview Coach and former Human Resources Management Professional, is the Founder and President of Resume Solutions. offers advanced resume writing, resume distribution, career coaching and interview coaching services for entry level, management, technical, mid-career through to executive clientele in the global marketplace. Her team of client-focused resume writers and career coaches has helped thousands of job seekers meet their career goals. Contact Ms. Sandy via email at [email protected] or by phone at (416) 361-1290/1-866-361-1290.

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