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Resume Dilemmas: Should You Lie On Your Resume?

Updated on April 11, 2010

 It is a real dilemma for over five million unemployed people who have been unable to secure a job, even a shit job paying $9 hr, for over nine months or more. If you have never been in this situation, you simply do not know what it is like. This is revealed when the infamous statement is spoken: " You mean, you can't find a job at a fast food joint?" "Surely, there is SOME job out there you can get".

Most blogs and online commentators rightly state, you should not lie or stretch the truth on your resume. Why? It is simply too easy to check. If the check is done, that is. If it is, any shot of getting a job is history. Of course, it is a gamble, which might work in your favor, the check may never happen.

If you are one of the five million out of work for nine months to a year, odds are, you are more willing to take the gamble because you have nothing to lose. With the job market having six applicants to one job, probably way more in some fields, you compete with a slew of applicants:

1. Those still working but wanting a better gig

2. Those out of work less than 3 months

3. Those out of work less than 6 months

4. Those out of work less than one year

5. Those out of work over a year

6. Those highly qualified or qualified with recent experience

7. Those with skills that are now dated because of lack of employment, yet, still valid if given the chance

Employers who read cover letters explaining why the applicant has been unemployed for nine months or more, simply are passed over into a dead file if the applicant pool provides better choices, even if you are obviously qualified. Fact is, the more time passes and you remain unemployed, the more desperate the job seeker becomes, the harder it is to present a valid argument to an employer that does not create suspicion on their part, as in, "this person must not be good person, why has he not worked"?

Employers really could care less about the sob story, they just want the best person for the gig. Period. All this BS about how employers care, how you should state you went back to school, took courses, took care of kids or loved one, really is just false hope. Sure, you might, if you are lucky, get sympathy, but when comparing resumes, if all is equal, the applicant with fewer gaps or long gaps in employment history will get the interview or job.

So, the whole economic situation, the flood of job seekers, employer attitudes about long term unemployment force many of the five million to simply lie to cover the gaps, to shorten the gap period, to make it appear one's unemployment is more temporary (a few months) instead of the reality (a year or more). It is  a gamble worth taking to them. There is nothing left to try. Most by this time, have tried all venues and the results remain bad.

If the liar gets the job, and is performing well when the lie is discovered, most employers will be ruthless and terminate it and within 30 minutes, the person is unemployed again. Job performance seems to have absolutely no meaning now, but did, just prior to the discovery. Some employers may actually give you chance to explain, this is the best case scenario, which will probably still end in termination.

If this occurs, what did the person achieve? Well, money. Maybe new skills. Maybe new contacts. If not caught, the gamble paid off. Period. The government should have a job program like the US Census. Temp work, paying $20-25 hr. Jobs given to those who score well on the exam. A person's job history is totally irrelevant. If you score well, you will have the opportunity to work for a decent wage. In this way, chronic unemployed can regain their footing in the work world, learn and be competitive.

Should one lie on the resume? Depends on the applicant's situation.

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    • profile image

      ultimate_fighter 

      7 years ago

      Lying on resume can help you get a job,but it can turn out to be a block in your career,if you are caught.So,I would recommend not to lie on resume.If you are lying,make sure that you make some provisions to overshadow the lies,if caught by the employer.

      http://www.bestsampleresume.com/examples/editor/we...

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      8 years ago

      I think HR and employers have knee jerk reactions to finding inaccuracies on resumes. But, if the person is qualified based on past experience which checked out as valid, and was hired, is a good employee yet did lie on the resume regarding employment to fill in a time gap, before a decision is made, HR should find out. If the only thing not true on the resume was about the time gap, their should be some sort of empathy. Give the guy a break. of course, if he is not qualified, that is entirely different. It seems that the Kiss of death for an unemployed person is being unable to find work in their field for 9 or more months, which is why so many probably have given up or starting over again.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      The gray area is called "Situational Ethics." We know it's lying, but perhaps we can work hard enough to convince ourselves it's justified.

      I've dealt with IT folks who lied their way into jobs. They all deserved to be fired; what else did they lie about? What qualified programmer was shut out because of their unprofessional behavior?

      I haven't seen any government statistics regarding the standard deviation of test scores for Census workers. If they all scored high, then we are getting a higher return on our tax dollars. Or the test is too easy.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      8 years ago

      I see a lot of shades of gray here, depending on how desperate one becomes. I think a job prigram like the Census is one way to address it. Most of the Census takers are well educated and scored between 95-100 on the exam.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Situational ethics are always fun.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      8 years ago

      I actually have several IT friends in this very situation. educated, skilled, good at what they do, but because of the economy and fierce job competition, they remain unemployed and freaking out. Because of the gap now, many recruiters will contact them, ask for an updated resume, and when they see no work in 9+ months, they either fail to send the resume to the client or never recontact them.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      8 years ago

      So, for a person unemployed for a year or more, it is damned if you do and damned if you don't. Would you as an employer, finding an employee in a lie on the resume, really care why they did or their situation? who you reconsider termination if they were a good employee and skilled, would you not have empathy?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Anytime you lie on your resume you have much to lose. You lose snippets of your dignity. You take a huge professional risk because documents are stored electronically and exchanged between databases. A potential employer or employment agency may very well end up with two conflicting copies of your resume; good luck reconciling that situation during an interview.

    • kowality profile image

      kowality 

      8 years ago from Everywhere

      A very good Hub. The inconsistencies or lies will catch up to you sooner or later. As an emoployer I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

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