Employers Are Not Gullible When it Comes to Your Resume

job interview Foolish fibs on your resume are considered full-out lies in the employment world. A resume is no place for stretching the truth, especially when it is an employer's first impression of you. Your resume is not the only indication of who you really are, and many of today's human resource professionals dig deeper to find the truth.

Information about past employment dates, job titles, accomplishments, education and credentials are just some of the areas where people have falsified information on their resume or employment application. As a best practice, most companies conduct background checks, verify degrees and do much more to confirm the information on your resume. It only takes one falsehood, created by you, to leave you without employment. Accurate information is vital to securing employment, no matter the industry or position.

According to research conducted by the Society of Human Resource Managers, 53 percent of individuals lie about a "fact" on their resume. In the same study, human resource managers asked college students about lying on a resume, and more than 70 percent said they would do it just to land their dream job

As a leading background screening organization, HR Plus has noticed some common resume manipulations over the years. And in every case, honesty is always the best policy.

Really, a CEO at 20?

Tailoring past job titles and skills to meet prospective employer demands is all too common. Employers know that it takes certain experience and skills to be placed in a high-level position; typically someone is not going to become a CEO or president of a large organization overnight. Those positions require time and dedication to reach. Skills are harder to verify since they are technical or personal to the applicant, but past employers can be contacted about titles and roles, and they won't lie.

Making the big bucks

According to a survey by Jobacle.com, 27 percent of people exaggerate about their current or past salary. Employers can verify this information simply by requesting past W2 statements as a condition of employment.

Time travel

One of the most common forms of resume fraud is stretching employment dates to cover gaps in employment or to make years of experience match the employer's needs. Prospective employers can easily confirm dates of employment with past employers.

The University of Imagination

Degrees, and even schools, have been fabricated on resumes. In fact, ADP did a review of over two million job applicants in 2001 and found a staggering 41 percent lied about their education in some form. The Internet can prove to be a powerful tool for prospective employers because they can simply do a search of the school and the degree to see if it really exists.

Doctor who?

Listing a false credential, such as a professional license or group membership, can lead you to hot water. Licensing bodies and professional groups have Web pages and phone numbers available to employers to verify the applicant's standing.

Star or slacker

It is great to say you cut expenses by 30 percent or led the development of the company's new widget, but you must be able to prove it. Employers may ask you to show how you cut expenses or explain your role in product development, which would be easy if it were true. However, 15 percent of people lie about their job performance, according to Jobacle.com. Former employers can be called to verify this information.

Dream crushers

It may seem simple enough to supply a good reference who will praise your past work, but applicants have lied about references. Lying about what the reference thinks of you, how well you've worked together or the job title you had while working with this person can haunt you. Prospective employers can interview references about you personally, as well as your job performance.

Homeward bound

Applicants have lied about their address to appear to live closer to a workplace to eliminate concerns over commuting or excuses for not being able to make it to the office. Whether it is a family member's address or that of a close friend, it is still not the applicant's permanent address, and the employer can find out. While it may not seem like a reason to not be hired, it is still lying, and will not make a good impression.


People have lied about their time in the military, their rank or even if they were honorably or dishonorably discharged. Military personnel can obtain free copies of their military records or separation papers, so employers may ask for these documents. If the applicant does not have military documentation, the employer may request records from the National Personnel Records Center.

Bon voyage

Saying you were part of a mass layoff is quite believable in this economy, but not mentioning you were singled out due to job performance, or even due to a crime at work, can lead to trouble. Resigning and being fired are also two different reasons for leaving a job. In order to protect their interests, prospects employers can check your employment and criminal history, and inquire whether they should hire you.

It is important to remember that telling the truth is best, because employers can verify almost any piece of information you supply. If any information is found to be false on a resume, you could be taken out of the pool of applicants or terminated, thus jeopardizing your career and future.

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