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The five lies you should NEVER tell on your resume

There are five lies you should never tell on your resume, according to experts who warn that you could be fired if your new bosses every found out. 

Some people believe ‘plumping up’ your resume is important, Rolf Bax, CMO at says, but it could lead to catastrophe.

‘Yes, the job market is competitive and job ad requirements can be intimidating,’ he said.

There are five lies you should never put on your resume, experts say

But as tempting as it may be to lie, it’s important to realise what that might say about you to your future employer.

‘Lying once suggests that you will lie again. Trust is broken and that’s a major career path impediment. And while it is true that everyone ‘puts their best foot forward’ on a resumé, it is easy to get caught out in a lie,’ he said.

Bax’s top five ‘lies’ to avoid on your resume include over padding your achievements, using overblown titles and submitting untrue statistics such as salaries. 

Too high achievements

Enhancing your capabilities to meet the job requirements list sets you up for potential disaster when you actually start the role, but there are also other ways that boosting yourself can fail.

If you were the junior in a team, don’t pretend you were a major player, for example.

Omission is a form of lying and it’s not difficult for an employer to fact check your role. And never pretend you were part of a team’s success if you weren’t in the team. 

What five things should you avoid? 

Plumping up your achievements

Using overblown titles

Tweaking stats including salary

Pretend you have a PHD

Covering gaps in your work history 

Even if your interviewer doesn’t do a background check, you may be asked to detail what you did. Your answer, even your body language, will tell the interviewer that you lied.

Overblown titles

One of the most famous fictional job titles is ‘creative director’, popularised by celebrities who have been hired by companies to add their fame and their followers to big brands. 

You might be an illustrator, a production designer, shop assistant or a copywriter, but you’re not a celebrity or a creative director yet. 

The second fantasy title is ‘managing director’ if you’re freelance, or even ‘CEO’. Be real. 

If you are not a senior or a manager, don’t add that either. 

‘Even though titles can vary across companies, your interviewer knows their industry well,’ Bax said.

They can gauge where you actually sit on the ladder by your career progression, Bax explained.

Simply untrue stats

You may think you were worth $100,000 in your last job, but if you weren’t paid it, don’t write it.

It is an easy thing for an employer to check. And yes, ageism is rife in many industries but if you downsize your age, you are going to have to live with it forever. 

‘What if you’re asked to give your passport to accounts to book a business trip? What if someone who knows you joins the company or is a client? What if it’s you who slips up? 

‘You can be terminated for a lie like this. And the same goes for any personal statistic on your application,’ Bax said.

Untrue stats, including your age, years of experience or salary are easy to check - but a lot of people still try to lie about it

Untrue stats, including your age, years of experience or salary are easy to check – but a lot of people still try to lie about it

About that PhD

If you dropped out of university, you don’t have a degree. If you achieved a BA, you don’t have a Masters. If you didn’t do an MBA, you didn’t do it. 

Universities know how to record students digitally. Bring to the fore the skills you do bring to the job instead of lying. 

If you have any awards, team participation, professional or personal development, highlight these.

Covering gaps

‘People have gaps in their careers for various reasons and you may feel embarrassed about yours but it is dangerous to stretch the end of one job to meet the beginning of another because it is very easy to get caught,’ Bax said.

‘It is not uncommon to be asked for a reference from a previous role, for example.

‘Your strongest option is to own the gap. If you took time off to raise a family, care for a loved one, go back to school, or take on an independent project, use your cover letter to explain them. 

‘If you were unemployed for a while, stress how committed you are to finding a job you can grow with. Ultimately, honesty is the best policy – a simple adage but true. 

‘Highlight your real strengths because these are what you will be using to shine in your new job. Make them what your new employer relies on and watches,’ he said.


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