How to Lie on your Resume (and get away with it)

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I follow lots of searches on Twitter and happened upon one denying some guy his right to learn how to lie on a resume. His grievance is none of the search results for How to Lie on a Resume actually turn up any advice. He’s absolutely right, learning to lie on your resume is a tricky thing. The key to any lie is the truth it contains, so use your language skills creatively and you’re sure to succeed at lying on your resume.
Brandon has some great thought provoking phrases in what I would call the ultimate guide to lying on your resume. I don’t think that’s what he intended, so I’ll analyze a few of his gems as a great starting point:
Trying to downplay your lack of employment or temporary self-employment in your quest for a sales job, try this: “Worked with a constricted budget was careful to leverage sales”
Need a temporary PhD? A search engine won’t notice the period (or the rest of the word) when you randomly add the sentence, “Tested water Ph.Determined amount of chlorine to add accounting for the volume of water.” Bonus reference to accounting helps you rank better in resume search engines too.
Under-qualified for that Java programming position? Make up for it with clever keyword usage: “Played Elf Bowling and other Java games.” I’m going to co-opt this one and suggest that rather than admitting to playing games, you might state you did “scalability testing of Java applications through hours of rigorous testing.” This not only sounds better, it gets away from admitting to game play.
Notice that none of these things are outright lies, they are merely creative uses of language. Think of them more as positioning statements, not lies, however, if you are caught lying, it’s not my fault. You simply weren’t creative enough. 😉 Go forth and update your resume.
Feel free to share your resume lies in the comments below.

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15 comments

  1. If information can’t be verified, than go ahead and lie. Also (this is very important) look at what the job is asking for, i.e., skills, experience, and so on. I bolded the most important qualities the boss is looking for from a recent job posting:
    Strong financial background and expert proficiency with all Microsoft Suite applications – Excel, Word etc.
    Best qualified candidate will be a self-motivated, multi-tasking guru, able to work independently but definitely a team player… Attention to detail is a MUST
    So, it says self-motivated, try to come up with an example from your past employment that will show the boss that you are self-motivated. Do this for each key word in the job posting. This is the main point, so listen carefully, give the boss what he or she wants. They have a particular person in mind, so try to be that person. Just think about it, and remember, GIVE THE BOSS WHAT HE OR SHE WANTS AND FOCUS ON THE KEY WORDS!

  2. If information can’t be verified, than go ahead and lie. Also (this is very important) look at what the job is asking for, i.e., skills, experience, and so on. I bolded the most important qualities the boss is looking for from a recent job posting:
    Strong financial background and expert proficiency with all Microsoft Suite applications – Excel, Word etc.
    Best qualified candidate will be a self-motivated, multi-tasking guru, able to work independently but definitely a team player… Attention to detail is a MUST
    So, it says self-motivated, try to come up with an example from your past employment that will show the boss that you are self-motivated. Do this for each key word in the job posting. This is the main point, so listen carefully, give the boss what he or she wants. They have a particular person in mind, so try to be that person. Just think about it, and remember, GIVE THE BOSS WHAT HE OR SHE WANTS AND FOCUS ON THE KEY WORDS!

  3. I’ve recently had to think out of the box with my resume because of the fact that despite my credentials, I’m apparently getting screwed by hr idiots because I’ve been out of work the past 2 years. I voluntarily left a job out West, and had to move to a much cheaper city with no economy or jobs in my field. I’ve been legitimately very qualified to overqualified for the jobs I’ve applied for, and it is obvious I’m being discounted because of the two year gap.
    The best way to overcome any gaps are to list the experience as something that you volunteered for, thus there is no trail. Paid or volunteer experience is the same thing as long as the volunteer experience is in your relevant field. Obviously, what comes along with that is having someone you know to verify this. If you have good friends in your field (or similar to your field) who have their own businesses, there really aren’t any ramifications for them, especially if you are applying for work out of state and (in that case) there is no way a prospective employer would know that individual, anyway.

  4. Fuck it. Say you work construction or were an independent sales rep. No manager, nobody ever checks.
    I did both (well, I still work construction). For every person who says they did something there are 50 who didn’t. One guy with a cell phone after a few beers sounds just like a GC.
    The companies are gonna fuck you over and nobody plays by the rules anymore. So just lie. If the companies can lie, so can you. There are thousands of jobs I can do that I don’t have paperwork or official experience saying I can do, even though I’ve done ’em — I might not have a year experience and a CDL, but I can drive a goddamn dump truck (and have), or run a bulldozer, repair an engine, etc. Companies list “x amount of experience required” simply because they want someone who can do it right. That doesn’t mean they actually need the exact amount of experience. And in today’s job market, with companies cutting wages and being increasingly unethical, who cares?
    Fuck em.

  5. Mike and you appear to have arrived at a similar conclusion, though you have slightly different deliveries for the message. Mike “thinks out of the box” while you say just fuckin’ lie. If I were a hiring man I would be taking a look at you two. I think you both are probably stand up guys who’d rather play it straight but the “real” world dictates that you get creative and fucking lie. I am there . . .

  6. Dude, you’re awesome, you are 1,000% correct, and your usage of profane diction is totally justifiable (haha!).
    “Fuck em” . . . that’s damned right. I hate to use this old cliché, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
    The company that laid me off totally screwed me. I lost everything because they declared bankruptcy and skipped out on paying my $3,500 in severance. They even cancelled my medical insurance 30 days before it was supposed to run out.
    Anyway, I’m going to try checking for companies in my area that went out of business during the time I’ve been unemployed and using those businesses on my resume. It’s not like they can call and verify anything with a supervisor or HR department . . . there’s no one to call!
    The only thing I’m kind of concerned about is stuff like a Lexus Nexus background check whereas none of these jobs will show up on my record. There’s a few good excuses I can make up for this, though.
    Mind you, I’m only applying for jobs I’m qualified for. Impersonating a doctor or lawyer is a horrible thing to do and a damnable offense. But fibbing on a resume so I can get a receptionist position isn’t exactly something that will hurt anyone.
    I’m gonna give this a try and come back periodically to post whether or not the little white lies on my resume have worked in my favor.

  7. Its nice to finally come to a site where you aren’t lectured on the morality of lying…. I went back to grad school and then dropped out….I have a two year resume gap but am using my past employer as my current employer hoping they don’t check with your “current” employer….I am using past references which will check out….. its nerve racking but I gotta get a job…any thoughts?

  8.  Just use friends as references. say they are your boss. buy a pre-paid phone, give it to your friend. List that number as the contact number. Whenever that phone rings, your pal has to answer unenthusiastically, “B and B Accounting, this is Mark Assington.” and just generally sound unenthusiastic. Oh.. Steve.. um, yeah he was a hard worker. good guy. grunt.    it’s not real hard to play the roll of an self-important rude boss.  
    If you’re going for a more high-profile appeal, look into drop-box answering services. You list them as a business (fake) and they will answer any calls to your number with your company name like they are a secretary. When they ask to speak to you, the secretary transfer the call to whatever phone number you provide to them. (and the person that finally answers is your friend pretending to be a boss)
    If you’re afraid that they will check backgrounds through government records, just say you worked overseas. most people don’t know, and won’t bother to learn how to dial an overseas number.. and if they do, they won’t want to pay for it (especially if they are a smaller company) if they are a large company, the underling troll HR reps don’t have permission to dial overseas.
    I might add though, generally conversations between former employers and HR reps are very short. They usually won’t ask nosey questions like “we he a good worker?” because any smart former employer will know not to answer that question negatively. 1) why do they give a crap if this new company hires some flunkie? 2) if they say something bad and it gets back to them, they can be sued for defamation and the company they badmouthed you to would nark them out in a second if you demanded to know why you weren’t hired. why should they care if some other company (quite possibly a competitor) gets sued by you? They only at most, confirm that you worked at the job during the dates you provided, and if you listed your responsibilities, they can ask that too.
    so just do it. strait up lie. companies care about 1 thing. the bottom line. there’s nothing they can do to find you out if you’re even a little creative outside of conducting a full scale investigation. unless you’re applying to some 6 figure job, they aren’t going to waste the resources on some piss-ant when all they have to do is fire you and grab the next desperate sucker in line on the database.
    I once worked for a HR company that managed databases, did calls, set interviews, etc for dozens of huge corporations. We never did anything to ensure the applicatants weren’t lying. They could actually blatently lie to us on the phone. If a 3 year old child called in and said he was of the legal age to work and met our requirements, we would set him up with an interview. Sometimes women would call in for their lazy husbands and we’d just send them on through to the interviews if they met the specs. We could make a note in the file, but the file wasn’t sent onto the local branches in most cases unless it was a really special case. Even then, we’d send them through and call a supervisor. There’s huge issues with liable and slander if you second guess someone because there’s always the off-chance that you just got unlucky and this 40 year old man sounds like a 3 year old because of some kind of throat cancer or something… and if you deny him a job for the reason “he sounds like a 3 year old” you could have some problems.
    Most fortune 500s use outsourced HR for the shill jobs, and the outsourced HR prioritizes protecting it’s own rear and reducing their client’s HR costs (in order to keep the client). A final priority is the quality of applicants. Quantity was much much more important. We would actually call people about jobs that didn’t exist just to make sure they were still looking, otherwise we’d delete them from the database. They did that because there was a statistical projection that in X days there will be an opening available in the region. We sometimes had 200-300 people in a database for jobs that didn’t even exist yet.
    Supposedly smaller companies are starting to outsource HR as well. Whenever you feel like the conversation is railroading you into yes/no answers or specific information without any chance to get a word in, it’s because it’s a call center. they charge their client by the minute, so short and quick is the objective. open-ended questions are a no-no. Instead of “what kind of experience do you have?” (you can rant to this answer)  the question(s) will be “Do you have experience with… blah?” (yes or no) Do you blah blah blah? (yes no) and if you attempt to give more information, they will cut you off with another question (because 99% of the time people will just shut up after being cut off since they are in a subservient position to the interviewer)in short… if this happens. lie your ass off. you can say anything you want and they won’t check it.

  9. yeah….Fuck em is right…. i work for a private contracting company …they had internal interviews for a position which requires little to no brain at all…. i have a strong knowledge of C# programming and got passed up for the job, they gave it to some 20 year old kid that didnt even submit a resume….
    i felt like shooting the whole place up…. I’m just a few keystrokes away from lying all over my resume

  10. I’m surprised at how much more competent I am than university graduates. I lied and got an internship with Chanel, which is pretty huge. None of the other girls are as well liked by management or as productive as me. If you can lie properly, you’re probably better than the brain-dead people with quals.

  11. Assuming an exorbitant number of folks are “mildly” prevaricating to fetch a decent job, too, then where does integrity supersede a relative sense of reason in your pursuits of a career? (Find the line, flirt with it, and NEVER REGRET IT!!!)

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