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The Most Common Lies On Resumes

By Dan Fastenberg

It's the ultimate temptation of the job search -- lying on your resume. The tendency to embellish information on a resume is so widespread, nearly half (46 percent) of job applicants commit some form of resume fraud, according to ADP, the human capital management and research firm. Indeed, the topic is such a popular one that, as Business Insider points out, entering the phrase "lying on" into Google will lead to "lying on your resume" as the top hit.

Lying on a resume, of course, has a wide range, well beyond outright lies -- such as listing a fake degree. Marquet International, a security consulting firm, has compiled the 10 most common resume lies:


  1. Stretching work dates.
  2. Inflating past accomplishments and skills.
  3. Enhancing job titles and responsibilities.
  4. Exaggerating educational background.
  5. Inventing periods of "self-employment" to cover up unemployment.
  6. Omitting past employment.
  7. Faking credentials.
  8. Falsifying reasons for leaving prior employment.
  9. Providing false references.
  10. Misrepresenting a military record.

In a stubborn labor market, is it worth it? Can workers get away with it?

Some high-profile experiences suggest not. Before Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo, her predecessor, Scott Thompson, was forced last year to step down as CEO of the tech giant when it was revealed he never actually earned a degree in computer science from Stonehill College, as he had claimed. George O'Leary also was forced to step down as coach of Notre Dame, as was Dave Edmonson from the CEO position of Radio Shack, when it was revealed they lied about their education and qualifications.


Specialists note that digital advances have allowed for greater scrutiny of job applications, raising the risks for lying. "People are asking us to check more things than they have historically so it would suggest they're more concerned about it," Ben Allen, President and CEO of the security firm Kroll, told CBS.

In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management says employee background checks of all kinds are way up over the past decade, from about two-thirds of all employers conducting a check a decade ago to 96 percent.

AOL Jobs contributor and career coach expert Miriam Salpeter has referred to the "paradox" of resume lying -- the worst-case scenario is that you get the job. Eventually, you will be found out. And it's for that reason that career experts strongly discourage job seekers from trying to cut a corner to get ahead.