Can I Lie On My Resume?

The allure to "embellish" your resume may be strong, especially, if you feel that your resume won't be strong enough on its own to get you the job that you want, but can you lie on your resume?

CAN you or SHOULD you?

Can you? Yes. Should you? Well that is really the question. There's no doubt in my mind that there have been many people in the world that have lied on their resumes. Should you join the club? First let's define some words:

Lie "An intentionally false statement."

Embellish "Make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features."

So there is quite a difference between a an outright lie and a little embellishment on your resume, right?

What is the End Goal?

What are you hoping will happen by lying on your resume? If you are trying to get an interview then a lie may very well do that but what happens at the interview? What do you do when you can't speak French or when the background check comes back? If the end goal is to actually be hired and to work at the company then lying can actually end up hurting your chances. Many companies just fire people when they find out that they've lied even when they have worked with the company for a long time.

Don't lie about your education or work history. Both of these are things that can be easily checked and verified. Don't say you have a degree that you don't have but if you're graduating soon, then go ahead and state that you're "currently" working towards that degree. If you interned or volunteered at a company, you can state that you did so but don't push it to a lie by saying you were employed.

Should I Embellish Instead???

Yes, but in a smart way. While it can be considered a "lie of omission" you can choose what does and doesn't get on your resume and this is one way to embellish your work history to help you get hired. If you had a bad falling out with your last manager and you left the job abruptly, it may not be the best idea to include that job in your resume, especially if you weren't there for long or got relevant experience from it. This is technically a lie and technically not a lie. Try these other Smart Lies:

  • Leave out the bad (Did you work there only 2 weeks? Are you applying for an office job but worked construction all summer? You want to emphasize the good and relevant and leave out anything distracting.)

  • Claim accomplishments! (Did you accomplish something that wasn't part of your job or that you didn't get credit for? Say it! Read this article that gives a great example of why to do this!)

  • Find the right angle ( Most job tasks are mundane and can be done by anyone so you have to make them sound awesome and unique. Learn to use Action-Oriented Language here.)

  • Include what you did but dont lie about the position you had. (I've been there, had no manager, and had to do the managers job. That doesn't mean I should say I was the manager. Go ahead and state the manager durites you took care of just don't lie!)

  • Quickly learn new skills (Omg, Microsoft Word has come a long way since my high school days and while I know the basics, I can't call myself an expert but if need be I could spend a few hours learning it quickly so that I can use it. Same goes with other skills. Figure out what skills are needed for the job and then learn them before the interview! Just don't lie about your proficiency.)

  • Find relevant experience (LifeHacker recommends "If you want a different job, find ways to do the kind of work you want to do at your current job so you can claim it as experience on your resume." )

  • Soft-Skill it up! (If you need to "pad" your resume, use soft-skills like "Interpersonal Communication", "Self-Motivation", and "Critical Thinking". Let's be honest about how many people are actually experts at critical thinking! These really are skills that we need to continuously improve on anyways!)

So Should You Lie?

Please don't lie. I like to err on the side of me having bad luck and seeing what the worst case scenerio for my actions may be. If you decide to make up a school or make up a position you could be fired and in some cases, depending how deep the lie goes, could face criminal and financial penalties! Instead, learn how to showcase the best of you but make sure that it is really YOU!!!

Read the following articles. Some are legit and one is satire. :)