Article | 2:58 min read

Employers Tend to Spot Resume Embellishments

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Applying for a new job can be stressful. From filling out all of those online applications to the phone interview, until - finally - the light at the end of the tunnel: the in-person interview.

The job application process can be especially difficult for those applying to cut-throat fields where the competition is vast and the job opportunities are slim. This sort of pressure can lead people to embellish a bit on their resumes in order to stand out from the pack, but will a little white lie help you land a new role or will it exclude you - a solid candidate for the position - from being considered?

Of 2,188 hiring managers and human resources professionals from all over the country, 51 percent of employers said they would automatically dismiss a potential candidate if they found a lie on his or her resume, according to CareerBuilder. Two-fifths of hiring managers said it would be depend on what the candidate lied about, while just 7 percent said they could overlook a lie if they were partial to the candidate.

"Trust is very important in professional relationships, and by lying on your resume, you breach that trust from the very outset," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "If you want to enhance your resume, it's better to focus on playing up tangible examples from your actual experience. Your resume doesn't necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate."

Catching the fibbers

More people are spreading false information on their resumes than you might think. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 58 percent of hiring managers said they have caught someone lying about their credentials on their resume. And in a tough job market where people are struggling to save for retirement, the lying doesn't seem to show any signs of slowing down. One-third of hiring managers said they have seen a surge in resume fabrications since the Great Recession hit.

But what are people lying about? According to to CareerBuilder, some falsehoods are more commonly used than others. Employers reported the most common lie they see on resumes concerns an embellished skill set, which 57 percent of hiring managers reported seeing.

Other popular deceptions that job seekers put on their resumes include embellished responsibilities, as 55 percent of employers commonly notice this. Dates of employment (42 percent), job title (34 percent) academic degree (33 percent), companies worked for (26 percent) and accolades/awards (18 percent) were lies also commonly spotted by human resource departments.

"People think that they can make up and embellish details about companies that have been sold or gone out of business," Career expert Liz Ryan told Monster. "But LinkedIn, Facebook and our wide-ranging networks will put a quick stop to most efforts to change history in our favor."

Exposed lies can greatly impact a person's reputation in the workplace, Brad Karsh, president and founder of JobBound, told Monster.

Some industries have more dirty laundry than others

But not all industries are created equal when it comes to a little fibbing on resumes. The CareerBuilder survey found that employers in certain job sectors are more likely to catch falsehoods on a resume than other industries. The least honest job seekers seem to be in the financial service industry, as 73 percent of hiring managers in this sector reported spotting lies on resumes.

Leisure and hospitality wasn't far off at 71 percent. Information technology (63 percent), health care (63 percent) and retail (59 percent) rounded out the top five most deceitful job sectors for lies on resumes.


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