What Are the Consequences of Lying on a Resume?

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Lying about your experience, skills, education or other abilities on your resume could disqualify you from getting a job or even get you fired from your current role. The better you understand the consequences of lying on your resume, the more you’ll be able to stick to the facts for your future applications. This article details the consequences of lying on your resume and answers related questions on the matter.

Is lying on a resume acceptable?

Lying on your resume is completely unacceptable. Whether it’s a blatant lie, an omission or you’re exaggerating the truth, lying is frowned upon in all forms. Even if you think lying on your resume could help your resume stand out, it can lead to dire consequences. Hiring managers can easily determine if you’ve provided false information and once you’re caught, it can lead to embarrassment and tarnish your reputation.

Tips to avoid lying on your resume

If you’re worried about not having enough qualifications, you can consider expressing your willingness to learn new skills. Hiring managers also look for candidates who have transferable skills that can be utilized in this new position. Therefore, you don’t have to necessarily know absolutely everything that an employer is looking for, though, you should know most. It’s a much better idea to be upfront about your expertise and admit that you don’t know a particular skill than lie about it.

Consequences of lying on your resume

Here are some of the consequences that could result from lying on your resume:

Possible termination

If you lie on your resume and your employer finds out, it’s possible that you could face termination. When employers hire you, they trust that you’ve provided the right information and verify it to the best of their ability. If it turns out that you lied, this trust is gone and will be hard to rebuild. This will lead to your employer questioning your character and wonder not only what else you’ve lied about, but also what you might lie about in the future.

Unable to perform job duties

If you list skills on your resume that you do not have in actuality, this could lead to you not being qualified for the job. This will result in you not being able to perform the job duties or meet your employer’s expectations. Once your employer notices that you’re not able to complete your various responsibilities, they could become suspicious about your qualifications and conduct further research to verify your abilities.

Damage to your reputation

Lying on your resume could also lead to much embarrassment and potential damage to your reputation. Your employer—and potentially your coworkers and employment references—won’t want to be associated with you after determining you lied. It’s also possible that more and more people will find out that you lied, further adding to your humiliation and a tarnished reputation. One lie on your resume has the potential to follow you throughout your professional career.

Loss of legal claims

If you lie on your resume, it’s possible that you’ll lose the right to take legal action against your former employer if applicable. For example, if you plan to sue your former employer for discrimination, you could end up losing this right. False information in an employee-employer relationship could end up not being actionable by law.

Criminal charges

Though it’s not common, it’s possible that you could face criminal charges for providing false information on your resume or job application. This is especially the case if you’re applying for a job with a state or federal employer. In some cases, you may be charged with a criminal fraud offense.

Civil liability

You could also face civil liabilities by lying on your resume. For example, if you created a structure that ended up hurting someone, this could lead to you being sued for not following the right building codes and letting your employer know that you had no expertise in this line of work. This may also fall on your employer for hiring you in the first place.

Loss of your license

If you lie on your resume, this could result in a loss of your license. For example, if you claim to have certain skills as a surgeon but wind up hurting someone because of your inability to perform a surgery correctly, you could face serious charges. This could include a malpractice lawsuit and the loss of your medical license.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions in regards to lying on your resume:

What should you do if you lied on your resume?

For starters, you can update your resume, tell the hiring manager that you noticed some errors and present them with an updated copy. You can also tell the truth. Though this might disqualify you from getting the job, it would avoid further consequences down the road if you were to get caught. You can also withdraw your application from the job you’re applying for. Though you won’t get the job, you won’t have to let the recruiter know why and you’ll avoid any future consequences. Lastly, you could do nothing, however, it is uncertain what could happen if you go this route—especially if the recruiter tries to verify some of the information you provided.

What are some common lies found on resumes?

There are a number of different lies you can find on a resume. Some common ones are found in regards to job titles, skills, job duties and the academic degree earned. Candidates can also lie in regards to the dates they worked for an employer.

How can an employer discover you’ve lied on your resume?

Employers can determine that you’ve lied on your resume by verifying the information on your resume. They can do this by simply reading your resume and seeing that your job titles seem questionable based on your career level, for example. If an employer requires you to take a skills test and your results indicate that you didn’t pass, then they would know that your actual skills don’t match what you presented on your resume. An employer can also conduct a background check to confirm your education or call your references to verify any details on your resume or job application.

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