Should You Lie On Your Resume?

Should You Lie On Your Resume?

When it comes to telling a lie on your resume most career experts will agree that it is a bad idea. The problem with this is how can a job seeker compete with other applicants that do blatantly not tell the truth when it comes to their employment credentials?

Do a search on the internet for not telling the truth on a resume and you will find most career sites stand by their hypocrisy telling people not to lie on a resume when they know behind closed doors that it happens frequently. Some of these career specialists might even say it’s okay to just stretch the truth a little or that omitting certain things is okay. The truth is doing this is still lying.

The fact is a lot of people lie when it comes to interviewing for a job and it can be very challenging to compete for employment when most of the applicants are stretching the truth. In many instances, a job candidate’s big lies will be discovered at some point. With all the detailed background checks that can be run today it is difficult even for experienced lairs to get away with not telling the truth when it comes to the larger falsehoods.

Large resume deceptions with education and criminal backgrounds will almost always be discovered. However, numerous other deceits do regularly go undiscovered.

How often do people lie on a resume?

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 75% of employers have caught people not telling the truth on their resumes. The survey found that most lies were common, such as dates of employment and exaggerated skill sets. However, some of the lies people tell are very big.

The most common lies people tell on their resume include:

  • Academic degrees: 33%
  • Job titles: 34%
  • Dates of employment: 42%
  • Exaggerated job responsibilities: 55%
  • Embellished skill sets: 57%

Another research report by Checkstar showed that 78% of job applicants lie and 66% of hiring managers could care less. Moreover, just one in three hiring managers reported they would never hire a person that lied on their resume. This results in 66% of hiring managers that are willing to hire a person that is less than truthful.

Even though lies on a resume do appear to be quite common, brazen untruths are seen less frequently compared to falsehoods of omission by leaving out important details. Furthermore, not completely lying but stretching the truth is seen more regularly.

Who tends to lie on their resume?

Although quite a few job applicants stretch the truth on their resumes, research shows trends in who tends to lie more often. study showed that people earning six figures lie more often about their work history compared to lower-income earners. Almost half of the people in the survey earning between 100k and 150k admitted to stretching the truth on their resume compared to just 25% of people earning less than 100k. The report also indicated some of the most common lies told on a resume by income bracket:

  • 42% of people earning less than $50,000 did not tell the truth about how long they held a job.
  • 37% of people making %50,000 to $99,000 lied about the number of years they have experience
  • 55% of the people making $100,000 to $149,000 did not tell the truth about their job skills or responsibilities
  • 72% of people earning $150,000 or more lied about their education

When it comes to not telling the truth on a resume between men and women males were found 6% more likely to lie. Although men have a habit of lying on a resume more often, both women and men are likely to not tell the truth about the same things.

Age also shows a tendency when lying on a resume. For job applicants 23-39 years old 18% admit to lying on a resume. People over the age of 45 have been shown to not be honest only 7% of the time.

Not surprisingly statistics show education plays a role in lying on a resume. People with just a high school diploma were found to be the most likely to lie on a resume at 27% of the time followed by those with a bachelor’s degree at 18%. The least likely people to lie on a resume are found to be those with advanced degrees at just 11%.

How often do people get away with lying on a resume?

Because so many people stretch the truth about their employment background most do get away with it to some extent. A study by found that 80% of the people they surveyed of over 1000 that lied on a resume claimed to have never been found out. Only 8% of the resume storytellers admitted to facing anything negative for their lies.

According to an article by, 54% of hiring managers agree that it is acceptable to modify a job title on a resume and nearly half of the people that stretch a detail or two to negotiate a position have been successful. The statistics site uncovered similar results in a study of 1000 finding 79% of job applicants that lied on a resume were not found out.

Should you lie on a resume?

The fact is no one is going to tell a person to be a liar and not tell the truth on their resume. Look at just about any career website or book and it’s easy to quickly discover no authority on resumes is going to teach resume storytelling and how to stretch the truth. Yet, the unspoken and quiet rule in addition to the statistics shows that not telling the truth on a resume is not only accepted but often most people get away with it.

Many career experts might go as far as to say it is acceptable to omit certain things on a resume or stretch the truth in some areas but they fail to admit this is still lying. Say it any way you want to. Yet, leaving out important details or telling embellished stories that expand on abilities or skills that might not otherwise be accurate is still untruthful.

With most corporate jobs estimated to get 250 resumes or more, it is difficult to compete and grab the attention of a hiring manager without help. Out of the 250 resumes, only 6 applicants typically get called in for an interview. This is a big reason frequently why people lie about their background and skills.


Telling the truth on a resume will likely often put a person at a disadvantage for getting called into an interview. This is because most job applicants are likely at the very least stretching the truth on their resume. Even for highly qualified job applicants, they should expect several other people applying for the same position to falsely show they are more qualified.   

The problem with resume lies is that it appears to have become an accepted practice by most hiring managers. Furthermore, the rate at which people are not caught in their resume lies or punished for them only incentivizes more job applicants to not exactly tell the truth.

The bottom line is not telling the truth on a resume is not a good thing. However, most career experts are not going to tell you that you likely should tell some lies in order to be competitive with the other 249 resumes for the same job position. The 249 other job applicants of which close to 80% of them are not exactly truthful.


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