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What To Do If You’ve Lied On Your Resume

What To Do If You’ve Lied On Your Resume


You know that when they call you for an interview, they’ve already decided they want to hire you based on your resume.

RELATED: Need to write a resume? Watch these tutorials!

But what if you lied on your resume?

An Estimated 50+% Of Resumes Are Inaccurate

People do lie on resumes and job applications. According to U.S. News, they change employment dates to gloss over gaps in employment or they claim to have experience that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. They claim to have finished training or degrees they’d only started. People falsify job titles, military service, and salary history, too.

The most famous U.S. example is Vice-President Joe Biden. In the 1988 run-up to the presidential elections, his resume misrepresented that he had graduated “in the top half” of law school cohort. He failed in his bid to obtain the Democratic Party nomination for President in that campaign.

Why Do People Lie On Job Applications?

Because they are scared they can’t get hired based on the facts.

First of all, you can get hired with your current qualifications. Have faith – there is a job somewhere out there for you. However, it may not be as grand a role as you’d like if you haven’t earned your stripes in the trenches yet. It’s important to know your genuine strengths and to leverage them certainly. It’s definitely important to sell yourself in your resume and your interview.

Lying about qualifications to get ahead faster, though, will only put you in harm’s way. People won’t always know if you lied on your resume or are faking your way through a new job, but if they figure it out, you are back to Square One. Only this time you’ve been fired.

One TV broadcaster in Toronto, Canada, for example, was fired over 10 years after he was hired purely for lying about completing his education. Marilee Jones was an ambitious academic administrator who attained the position of Dean of Admissions at MIT on the false claim of an undergraduate degree that had never been completed. She was promptly fired after the information was discovered.

Some companies will go ahead with verifying your employment, find out you’ve lied, and never tell you. They just won’t hire you – and they’ll flag you as ‘Do Not Hire’… ever.

Let’s avoid that.

What To Do If You’ve Lied On Your Resume

So, what can you do if you’ve lied on your job application or your resume? Do you try to bluff your way through for 10 years or more? On the job application form, did you tell them about your misdemeanor felony conviction – if not, then when? How can you handle this without losing the job?

1. Withdraw your application.

This is your safest option. Simply call and say you are “Withdrawing your application at this time.” If asked for a reason, tell them you’ve “reconsidered your application.” That’s the truth.

They may assume the timing, title, or money isn’t right or that you have another offer or you heard something that makes you think it’s not the right company for you. That’s all okay.

2. Revise your resume and provide it to the hiring manager, asking them to refer the new copy.

In this case, you can tell them you “noticed some errors” and “want to correct them.” Note that this won’t work if you’ve created jobs or performance claims that were exaggerated. However, you can truthfully state that you want to be “more exact,” if you wish. They may assume you had someone else write your resume and the errors were theirs.

3. Come clean.

This may mean you lose the job, but sometimes people have big hearts. There’s a good chance they are going to find out anyway through reference checks or your own social media presence (like LinkedIn). Provide a corrected resume or job application and tell them the truth.

In life, we need to own up to our mistakes and learn from them. Tell them that, too – that you made a mistake and you want to make it right. It’s a sign of good character to do that. People make mistakes, especially under pressure (and needing a job is a lot of pressure).

It’s best not to end up in this position, but if the deed is done, these are the top three ways of fixing the problem.

How To Avoid The Problem

You can explain gaps and sudden departures from school or a former job in the interview. If you have a criminal record, and that would include any DUIs, be straight from now on whenever asked or call immediately to tell them you ‘neglected’ to mention it and would like to ‘set the record straight.’ They are going to find out anyway and it is not a guaranteed barrier to employment- whereas lying about it may be. And now is the time to change your resume and social media profiles such as Google+ and LinkedIn, so you never have to worry about this again. Do it today so if your dream job opens up tomorrow, you are polished and perfect.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Danni MacDonald Danni MacDonald helps people find jobs as an Independent Career Coach with CareerHMO.com. She has a long professional history in management and training.