In January of 2012, Scott Thompson was hired to be the new Yahoo CEO. He claimed to have a computer science degree and that made sense as the CEO of a company that was once a leader in web services. However, just a few months later it was revealed that he had no such degree and he was ousted as CEO, leaving Yahoo in crisis mode.
A Career Builder Survey found that 75% of employers have discovered lies on a resume. Such a high number shouldn’t surprise us. There is a strong temptation to lie about our education or stretch the truth on our skills and abilities because we really want or need a job. Plus, we reason that it’s not hurting anyone or maybe no one will ever know. Here are some things to remember when you’re tempted to stretch the truth and lie on your resume:
- You’ll Probably Get Caught: Information is more available today than ever before. The internet provides access to our past for anyone to find. Social media, company websites, public databases, etc. all allow potential employers to do their research on applicants. In addition, they can contact past employers, schools, and references to clarify and confirm the information we claim on our resumes. If you are not truthful on your resume, you will likely get caught. If it happens before you are hired, you will certainly not be hired. If it happens after you get the job, the consequences could be even worse. You will likely be fired, have a damaged reputation, and find it difficult to find future employment.
- You Don’t Need to Do it: Lying on a resume shows that you don’t believe you are qualified for a job; in which case you maybe shouldn’t be applying anyway. If you do believe you are qualified, then don’t feel the pressure to embellish your credentials. Trust that who you are and what you’ve done are good enough. Do you really want a job you are not capable of doing? You’ll likely end up frustrated and disappointed. If you are capable, then don’t worry about having to convince an employer with lies.
- You Can Get Help: If you’re worried your resume isn’t strong enough, then seek guidance on how to improve it. If you think you aren’t qualified for a position, then pursue the help and training you need to be a good fit for that job in the future. Don’t take shortcuts and lie to cover up your deficiencies. Acknowledge you are still learning, show an eagerness to grow, and work hard to get there. That kind of attitude is what potential employers want to see.
Maybe you’re wondering if it’s worth it to lie on your resume? You may even be asking if it really matters. You may not even be asking that and think it’s perfectly acceptable to be untruthful on your resume. But if it really doesn’t matter if what we claim on our resumes is true, then why put together a resume in the first place? The reality is that it does matter. Resumes are meant to give an introduction on who you are to a potential employer. Have the courage to be honest with your employer and have the courage to be honest with yourself. You’ll be glad you did.