January 2024
Issue Map
A businessman points to himself defensively, leaning back. His shadow, which also points at itself, has a long, Pinocchio-style nose.
TD Magazine

Painting a False Picture

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Despite obvious repercussions, US workers don't mind lying at every stage of the job search process.

It may seem harmless, but lying on your resume could lead to severe consequences. According to LawDepot, those consequences may include fines, lawsuits, or, in extreme circumstances, incarceration. Most US workers, however, aren't phased by potential penalties. As ResumeLab reports in the article "The Truth About Lying to Get a Job," the company surveyed more than 1,900 US workers and found that 71 percent confessed to being untruthful on their resumes. Thirty-seven percent of those respondents said they lie "frequently" (the study defines "frequently" as lying more than twice).


Thirty-three percent admitted to lying on their resumes only once or twice; 15 percent considered lying on their resumes but didn't; and 15 percent never considered being dishonest on their resumes.

LawDepot says applicants may fib about a variety of topics, including altering employment dates, omitting information about terminations, exaggerating job responsibilities, or providing fake references and academic credits. In fact, more than half of the ResumeLab respondents admitted to embellishing job responsibilities and lying about their job titles. Fabricating how many people they managed was the third most frequent lie.

Being untruthful during a job search isn't exclusive to resumes, either. ResumeLab's study found that 76 percent of workers lie on their cover letters, and half of the respondents admitted to frequently lying.

Rather than going the falsehood route, use the following tips as an alternative means to landing a job.

Craft strong application documents. Use resources, such as guides, videos, and templates to beef up your application materials.


Focus on proper formatting. Simple mistakes could land your resume in the "no" pile before a hiring manager thoroughly reads your resume. Pay attention to small details.

Tailor your resume to fit the job and the company for which you're applying. What information is crucial to peak performance at each specific job? That answer will vary for different businesses and positions.

Don't be afraid to flaunt your accomplishments. Highlight what makes you different from other applicants and try to relate your expertise to the open position.

About the Author

Bobby Lewis is a writer for ATD; [email protected].

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.