Your dream job has just come up. You have just seen it advertised, and it is perfect. The money is great, the location is superb, the kudos is phenomenal, and it really is the place to be right now. But, there's a little problem; you are not quite qualified enough. You reason that it really doesn't matter because you could do the job standing on your head, and you go ahead and write a fictional resume covering up the points that you know will be contentious, and lying outright about the missing qualifications.
If you think that sounds far fetched you would be surprised at how often it happens. People get tempted to try it on for all sorts of reasons, and some do get away with it. This course of action is fraught with danger; the best case scenario being that you get thrown out of your interview, and the worst case scenario being that you get sacked from your job. Should this happen after several years, you could lose your pension rights, and even face prosecution for fraud, misrepresentation, or worse.
One of the biggest misunderstandings about lying when it comes to resumes is that the lie need not be a false statement. Equally bad, in the eyes of the law, is lying by omission. By that we mean, say, making out that you have finished an educational qualification, or course, when in reality, you only just started it and gave up without gaining the qualification. Other examples are, perhaps, giving false references in the hope that nobody checks up on the referees themselves, or embellishing a job title or description to make you sound more responsible and senior than you actually were.
One of the most common “lies” told on resumes and CVs is that of the reason for leaving a previous position. This is awkward, because if you left under a cloud and in a contentious way, there may be no love lost between you and the former employer. This means that it gives you a golden opportunity to invent a reason, other than the real one, for leaving. The former employer can be accused of trying to undermine your attempts at trying to find new employment and the whole thing becomes a nightmare for everybody.
It is believed, on anecdotal evidence across a wide range of employment agencies, HR departments, and recruitment specialists, that up to 50% of all resumes and CVs contain false or exaggerated information. The most common area of distortion is in the educational section of the resumes.
If the information went no further there would be no problem; but, of course, the aim is to get an interview - and sitting through an interview knowing that you have lied about something is excruciating. This is because you have no idea how much homework the potential employer has done and what they have uncovered. You cannot relax, and that tension will come across at the interview loud and clear.
Assuming you manage to get through the job interview you then have the potential nightmare of your co-workers and seniors in the workplace asking awkward questions about your background and about your previous experiences and employers. This is particularly bad if someone happened to work somewhere you claimed to work at the same time, but they have never met, nor heard of you. The same is true of claims to have been at a particular college, or to have taken a certain course, or attended a seminar session. It is so easy to get caught out, especially if you are in a small niche industry, or confined to a geographically small location where everybody tends to know everybody else.
Ultimately, any employer finding out that you have given false information or references has the right to renounce your employment. The lie or omission is enough in itself to warrant such action. The employer has been put in the position where they cannot completely trust the employee - this has implications for customer facing positions and business relationships - if the employee lies about such things - what else might they lie about?
Having been dismissed for such behavior, your chances of getting a future reference are non-existent. In an age of ever-connected social media, word would soon get around about your transgressions, and you may well become unemployable. You may even become blacklisted by agencies and HR professionals who do keep lists of such candidates.
Finally, there is always the risk of some kind of legal action against you for false representation. This is particularly so when the employer discovers, weeks or months, or even years, into your employment, that you cannot perform the tasks that you stated you could, know the people you claimed to, (by virtue of saying you worked or studied somewhere you did not) or if you cannot perform the task that your resume clearly indicated that you could.
Do not be tempted to take shortcuts. We, at Resumes Expert, know how to create the right impressions without resorting to practices like those we have outlined here. Our resume and CV services are second to none - be safe - give us a call today; and discover how to do it properly.