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Should You Lie on Your Resume?

Would you dare to lie on your resume? What would motivate you to bend the truth? Perhaps you saw an ad for an ideal job but you were missing just one little qualification. You are so close that one small lie won’t hurt. People get away with little white lies all the time. No matter what your reasoning though, you and I have likely wondered if you should lie on your resume.

If you’ve had the situation where you look at an ad you know you have the aptitude or the skills but you don’t have the official work experience, it’s tempting to lie. It’s also tempting to exaggerate.

Lying About Your Accomplishments and Qualifications

Imagine seeing a job for a marketing assistant and you almost fit all the qualifications. They need someone with tech industry experience. You helped out your cousin for two weeks on a product launch. Should you include that project as actual work experience if all you did was give some advice? Should you consider that as an advisor role?

Maybe you believe in karma and you believe that one day, someone will expose the truth about you. Lying about where you worked, your education, your job titles, and your skills could result in your losing your job after you are hired. It also shows a lack of professionalism if your employer discovers your lie.

You might be thinking, well, that’s not fair. I would have developed those skills or worked on those types of projects if I had the chance.

I understand your pain. I came second place during a job interview at which I was asked about experience dealing directly with stakeholders. They asked me this question more than once, so I assumed this experience was an important part of the job. I replied I was confident I could handle these situations because I handled similar situations with internal teams. However, that wasn’t good enough.

The tough part was that I didn’t have a chance to work on that work experience, not because I wasn’t qualified, but because in that company, it fell under another employee’s job description. If I wanted to develop those public relations skills, I would have had to take over someone else’s work tasks. I’m sure my teammate would have thought I was trying to steal his job, not work on my professional portfolio.

Lying About Your Skills and Experience

Lying about your education and job titles is not a smart decision. Potential employers can check up on these details during and after the hiring process. You can however, re-word your skills and accomplishments in a more favorable light.

For example, if you see several companies are looking for someone with proficiency at specific software, you can develop that proficiency on your own. You could sign up for a free trial of that software and then complete a few projects with it. Those projects would became part of your portfolio. This extra project would build on your skill set and show that you have initiative.

Similarly, if you lack the official education credentials, you can learn about the skill on your own by reading books or taking free courses on your own time. You won’t have the degree, but you will have the knowledge. For example, if you don’t have a degree or certificate to show your skills in IT, you could design your own project, such as building a website.

You won’t have to lie about your skills and experience. Instead, work on them on your own and add them to your career portfolio and resume.


It’s tempting but not advisable to lie on your resume. Lies are unprofessional and you could get caught in them. Instead, if you see a pattern of required skills and experience, work on them on your own time if you don’t have the opportunity to develop these as part of your job.

A comforting fact is that most companies don’t require you to have every skill and depth of experience that they list on their ad. They are describing their ideal candidate. It’s your job to convince them that you are the closest they will find to that ideal.

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