I’ve never met George O’Leary. He’s probably a great guy and football coach. But O’Leary will always be remembered for a lie on his resume. If you’re not familiar with his story, just google “O’Leary resume” and you’ll see what can happen when you try to pull a fast one to land a job.
With so many people looking for jobs, and so few positions available right now, there’s that temptation to pad, embellish, or downright lie on a resume. Apparently, more people are. Automatic Data Processing found that 46% of all the fact checks they did in 2008 revealed some discrepancies. That’s up from 41%.
In a recent blog, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas said the economy is “ripe for resume boosting”.
CG&C ranks the top five lies job seekers tell on their resumes and in interviews:
- Education. Either the school or the degree.
- Job title. Making it up or boosting the one they had.
- Compensation. It usually goes hand-in-hand with that inflated job title.
- Reason for leaving. For example, saying you quit, when, in fact, you were fired.
- Accomplishments. Inflating contributions to a project.
Surely, no one is stupid enough to send a resume claiming to have been a pro baseball player, when they haven’t. Yep. That’s one of the most outrageous resume whoppers sent to hiring managers, as compiled by Careerbuilder.com. Other resume lies include:
- Candidate claimed to be a member of the Kennedy family.
- Applicant invented a school that did not exist.
- Job seeker submitted a resume with someone else’s photo inserted into the document.
- Candidate claimed to be the CEO of a company when he was an hourly employee.
- Applicant included samples of work, which were actually those of the interviewer.
- Job seeker listed military experience dating back to before he was born.
Did you know there are even companies that offer fake work histories and references to job seekers? CareerExcuse.com is one. On its website it says, “We can also act as your former employer in your own county or town!”
Fabricating fake employers and outrageous stories. Pretty brazen, isn’t it?. While the most obvious of these lies may be difficult to sneak through, a lot of resume padding it getting by HR. CG&C CEO John Challenger says, “Many companies limit their efforts to criminal background checks and reference checks. They do not spend the extra time and money to verify the accuracy of every job title, accomplishment and educational achievement listed on one’s resume.”
In his blog, Challenger says desperate times are leading to desperate measures. I especially like how he ends it. And that’s how I’ll end it, as well.
However, these desperate measures should not include lying on resumes, falsifying work histories, or buying fake references and diplomas. Instead, job seekers should be considering seeking positions in different cities, states, or even countries. They should reach out to people they have not spoken to in 15 years and identify all potential employers, not just the ones posting online and newspaper help-wanted ads. These are the types of desperate measures job seekers should be employing.