Resume Lies3

Lying on Your Resume Can Kill Your Career Chances

I get it, you need a job or want a role beyond your reach. All that is standing in your way is a requirement or two that you don’t have. In desperation, you might be thinking:

What’s the harm in falsifying a little info on my resume to get me that interview? If I can just get my foot in the door I’m *sure* to dazzle the employer with my abilities… and that minor fib will surely be overlooked, right!?


Outright lies can damage your career.  Even stretching the truth can hurt application chances. Take the former CEO of Yahoo – who was out of a job just 4 months after starting the leadership position, all because he listed the completion of a certain degree on his resume that he didn’t actually have. Ouch.

This week I spoke with a hiring manager who interviewed a candidate that appeared to be a ‘perfect match’. On paper, this candidate claimed experience and a professional designation well-suited for the role. Yet during the interview, something seemed off. The candidate couldn’t provide examples or a deeper understanding of core skill sets…and when pressed about his professional designation he danced around the topic.

It only took a short bit of investigation to find out that this candidate did not have the designation he claimed to. Just a brief check  – and poof  – busted. Reputation tarnished. Chances blown.  If you are applying to jobs that appear out of your reach, the answer isn’t to hack your way into them (lie, cheat, stretch the truth, or falsify facts).  Smoke and mirrors in your resume might work to garner initial interest, but most hiring managers are smart enough to sniff out mistruths and follow up on warning signs.

Even if by chance you land the role, what if the truth comes out? Instead of focusing on short-term gain, think long-term reign. Enter a job knowing you are the best, authentic candidate.

If you are job searching and feeling frustrated, a better approach (to save both your sanity and your reputation) is to:

  1. Own what you have and seek out roles that are a natural alignment.
  2. Compel an employer to hire you based on true abilities. Write a resume that demonstrates value. 
  3. Focus on jobs you are well-qualified for. If you feel like the job is a big stretch, skip it.
  4. If a qualification is standing in your way to the desired role – figure out how to get qualified!

Don’t let a lie, big or small, negatively impact your career.

Adrienne Tom

Looking to take your executive resume or job search to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? I can help! Visit me online at to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.
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