In a competitive job market, applicants are always looking for a way to stand out — and some have resorted to lying about their experience altogether.
According to a recent survey of over 1,900 U.S. employees from resume advice resource ResumeLab, 70% of workers admit to have lied on their resume at some point, with 37% of those admitting that they lie frequently. Seventy-six percent of workers have lied in their cover letters and 80% have even lied during a job interview.
Job applicants with master’s or doctoral degrees are some of the biggest offenders, the report found. Fifty-eight percent admit to frequently lying, while 27% say they’ve lied once or twice. Those without a college degree were a bit more honest: only 29% admit to having lied frequently, and 42% admitted to fibbing once or twice.
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But what credentials are applicants lying about? It seems that any information, save for their name and address, is fair game. Fifty-two percent of applicants have embellished their responsibilities to make their job title sound more interesting, and 45% have fabricated how many people they managed at their previous jobs. Thirty-seven percent of applicants lied about the length of time they were employed at a certain company, and 35% have even lied about the name of the company they were employed at. Applicants have also been found to make up positions, pretended to have won certain awards or accolades and have lied to cover up career gaps.
And while it may get them through the recruitment process faster and even land an applicant the job, it doesn’t guarantee that they will be successful once they’re there. On the contrary, it could shorten a person’s career at a company if they aren’t careful.
“Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to job applications and interviews,” said Agata Szczepanek, career expert at ResumeLab in the release. “Even slightly stretching the truth can result in immediate or long-term consequences.”
Lying on your resume is not only considered unethical, but it could end in applications being immediately rejected and employees losing out on other job opportunities in the same industry due to a damaged reputation. In certain cases, lying on a resume or a cover letter could result in legal ramifications, including expensive fines, and in extreme cases, imprisonment.
Even without meeting all of the requirements jobs are asking for, employees can rely on strategies such as crafting strong application documents, making work details easy to find and accessible, tailoring resumes to fit the position, as well as enthusiasm and honesty, according to Szczepanek.
“Instead of lying about employment history or education, workers should try shifting the focus,” she said. ” [They should call attention] to related experience and transferable skills they can offer.”
This article originally appeared in EBN and was written by Paola Peralta Associate Editor, Employee Benefit News. It is being reposted with permission.