20 Most Common Lies on Resumes and Why Applicants Get Caught

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Job seekers have been caught for providing false information on their resumes for as long as people have been desperate for employment. Sometimes, total falsifications are avoided and, instead, half-truths written in resumes. All this in a bid to land a role in a company, business, or government department.

Going by a recent CareerBuilder study, 75% of human resource executives have spotted deceptions on applicants’ resumes. In this post, we cover some of the most common and outrageous fabrications on resumes. By learning about and avoiding them, you will improve your probability of getting hired significantly. And not to forget, we will also highlight how hiring managers have caught various lies on resumes.


That said, always avoid the following:

1. Lying on Resume About Education

Never tell lies about your education. If you took a class online, be sure to indicate it. In this case, if you took an online course offered by Harvard University on edX, specify the same rather than merely including the Ivy League College in your resume.

2. Falsifying Employment Dates on Resume

No matter how tempting it may get, avoid faking dates of employment on your resume to make up for existing time gaps. Rather, you should offer information to explain the same adequately.

3. Lying on a Resume About Technical Skills

Knowing your way around a piece of work technology is not the same as being proficient at using it. So, if you cannot manage the intricacies of specific software or gadget related to your work, avoid claiming your expertise in the same.

4. Fabricated Jobs

Do not provide fake experience on resume. Hiring managers have eliminated several job seekers from their pool of potential candidates after realizing that they made up some of their past positions. You are better off listing two verifiable jobs on your resume rather than four that are made up even if the role requires many years of experience.

5. Being Dishonest About Fluency in Other Languages

Even if you are excellent at organizing your job search, it is a good idea to stick to what you know. See, you might be tempted to say that you are conversant in other languages, especially if knowledge of the same is a requirement for a particular post. Never do this as you might be asked to translate a word or even a whole sentence only to do it wrong.


6. Lying About GPA on Resume

Generally, it is not necessary to write your GPA on your resume, let alone lie about it. Most of the time, hiring managers will ask you about it during the screening process, and you should be entirely honest.

7. Providing Deceptive Details on Previous Positions

If you have never held a mid-level or senior-level post in your career, there is no point in including the same in your RESUME. Besides, when applying for a junior-level role, such a claim can hinder your success as an employer might find you to be overqualified. And still, there are many things to include on your resume to get callbacks rather than false positions.

8. Lying on Your Resume About Your Year of Graduation

Never lie about the year you graduated from any educational institution. When a background check is conducted, which is a must, you will be fount out and eliminated from the list of potential recruits.

9. Falsifying Information Regarding Promotions

Fabricating details about promotions can do the exact opposite of what you want. If an employer spots too many of them on your resume, they might ask some specific questions to see if you are what you claim. And if you cannot confirm the same, you will be kicked out obviously.

10. Giving Untrue Information on Your Past Remuneration

Never lie about your past salary, even if the point of applying for another one is to score better pay. Your potential boss might reach out to your previous one, and will disqualify you if a lie regarding your past proceeds is detected.


11. Falsifying Your Previous Job Responsibilities

Avoid lying about the responsibilities you performed in a past post. You never know when you might be asked to do them in your present job.

12. Deceptions About Volunteer Work

Putting volunteer activities on your resume is sure to make an employer see you in the best light. However, the exact opposite will be achieved when you are discovered to have provided untrue information.

13. Telling Untrue Details on Your Present Residence

It’s acceptable to apply for an opportunity in another city if you’re planning to move there. Just tell the truth about where you’re living and your plans you shift to the city. But it’s a different matter altogether if you lie that you’re already residing in the city. For example, if you’re asked to show up for an interview, the employer will assume you can be there in no time.

14. Falsifying Your Academic Degree

Don’t think that hiring managers won’t check whether you graduated or not and which degree you pursued. Many employers have caught candidates lying about their university degrees. If you didn’t graduate for one reason or the other, be honest about it. Focus on highlighting completed projects and classes related to the job in your resume’s education section.

15. Lies About Your Major in College

Some job seekers lie about their majors in the hopes of bagging their dream job. However, employers are more likely to consider a candidate who’s qualified but who don’t have the listed major than one who lied about it.


16. Deceptions About Your Minor

Deceiving your prospective employer about your minor is almost just as bad as being untruthful about your major. Most will consider such a lie as very serious.

17. Lying on Job Application About References

Thinking of listing a friend or uncle in your references? If a company is serious about a candidate, they will most likely call up the references provided on the resume. And if the person you have listed to vouch for you will probably be unable to answer questions about your duties in your previous employment.

18. Providing Fabricated Certificates

It’s unethical and even risky to lie that you have a particular certificate or license. Case in point, if you’re applying for a job which involves saving human life, you may, without wanting, cause death.

19. Dishonesty Regarding the Reasons Your Previous Job Was Terminated

Don’t lie about why you left your previous company. For example, if you were fired, don’t say your position was dissolved. The hiring manager might do a bit of digging and discover your untruthfulness.

20. Giving Untrue Information on Criminal Records

You might be tempted to hide your criminal records for fear of discrimination by employers. However, before you do, remember that a criminal check will reveal everything.


How Recruiters Catch Lies on Resume

Today, it’s very easy for a hiring manager to unearth lies you’ve told them about you. Check out ten ways they can do this:

Listed Institution Cannot Verify the Graduation

Some recruiters will trust what you put in your education on resume. Others, however, will call up the school to confirm that you went there and graduated.

Suspicious Dates

You might want to cover up your employment gap, and so you decide to lie about your employment dates. However, all the employer needs to do to know if you’re lying is to call your previous workplace.

Failed Skills Assessment

You may have lied that you’re brilliant in a particular skill. However, recruiters know that candidates sometimes give an exaggerated resume. So, they may ask you to demonstrate the skill you say you have, and your lie is uncovered.

Conflicting Cover Letter and Resume

If, for example, your resume is spotless and professional, but your cover letter is chaotic, the interviewer will immediately know that you aren’t truthful.

Ambiguous Description of Experience and Skills

Smart interviewers will immediately know that you aren’t as experienced as you want them to think if you use vague words to describe your skills or experience.


Exaggerated Job Titles

The interviewer will be suspicious if you inflate the title of the job you held to a management role when you’ve barely spent two years after graduation. Plus, they can always call up your former employer to confirm.

Body Language

Being fidgety, not maintaining eye contact, talking while looking down, among other cues may also betray you. Sometimes your body moves may tell people much more than your words.

Online Search

Employers today tend to check on candidates on Google search or social networks. If what they find doesn’t match what you’ve given in your resume, you will likely not get that job.


Sometimes, references can tell the truth about your achievements and level of experience, and the employer realizes that you exaggerated.

Background Checks

Some companies may conduct background checks on potential hires. If they do, they might know that you were lying.

To wind up, lying on a job application isn’t a great idea. Even if you’re not caught immediately and do get the job, your lies may come out later, and you get fired.

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