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You find the “perfect job.” It’s at a company you most admire, they have a great reputation, and the job is your dream! The only thing is you don’t exactly qualify or you have too many gaps in your employment that you’re embarrassed to even try with your “truthful” resume. So, what do you do? It’s so tempting to add false experience or stretch the truth about your dates of employment, so you can at least get your foot in the door. But will this actually pay off in your favor or backfire and ruin your chances of ever getting that job?

Lying is never a good idea. Not only is it ethically wrong, but it is inevitable that you will get caught and when you do, you will lose the respect and trust of the perspective employer and colleagues.

Lies and How You Get Caught

Exaggerating Duties

Say the job entails writing reports, but you only exported or entered data for someone else to write reports. If you fib by saying you did it all, this is a lie. The hiring manager may ask you specific questions about that job responsibility during the interview or you get hired and can’t figure out how to do the job correctly. Either way, you waste their time and yours.

Adjusting Employment Dates

You may have gaps in your employment, so you adjust the dates to look like you went from one job to the next without being unemployed. Many people make the mistake in thinking that employment gaps will make them unemployable, but truly, it’s the lying about it that can destroy your chances. With one call to your past employer, the hiring manager could find out. Or you might have a paper trail on job boards that show your true dates of employment.

Faking Current Employment

Lost or quit your most recent job? Don’t pretend to still work there. It’s easy for the hiring manager to call to verify employment.

Adding Skills, Education, or Experience

If you add skills, a college degree/certification, or even experience in a certain field and these are required for the job, you will most definitely get caught when you can’t do the job. Save yourself the trouble.

What Are Your Options?

If you are reading this because you lied on your resume, you have a few options to save yourself.

Option #1: Updating your Resume

No guarantees this could keep you in the running for the job, but you could update your resume to fix the lies and then forward it to the hiring manager explaining that you noticed some mistakes on your resume.

Option #2: Come Clean to the Hiring Manager

Honesty could be the best policy for you. It takes guts to do this option as it could knock you out of consideration for the job. But, you don’t want to be hired based on a lie.

Option #3: Hope for the Best

You could do nothing and hope you don’t get caught. However, lying and maintaining a lie can be exhausting and confusing. Chances are you will trip over the web of lies you create from doing this.

Option #4: Remove Yourself from the Running

Probably the best option is to politely remove yourself from consideration for the position. You don’t need to give a reason. Simply tell the hiring manager you are not interested at this time. This option keeps this door open for you to reapply later to this company when you do qualify without lying.

Takes Confidence to Be Truthful

We’ve all been there. You want the job so bad that you’ll do anything to get it. Instead of lying about what you don’t have, be confident in what you do have. Confidence in who you are as a professional and confidence in how you can learn and keep progressing toward your dream job will make all the difference in the long run. If you have gaps in your employment, be confident in your circumstances. Our blog post Unemployed? Work your Cover Letter has tips that can help you leverage your cover letter to convince the hiring manager to give you a chance. If you’re just not there in your career (i.e. missing education, skills or experience), be confident that you’ll get there and keep working hard. Just because you can’t get the job now doesn’t mean that the opportunity is lost. There will be more opportunities.


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