10 Times Lying on Resume Backfired in the Most Spectacular Ways

Last edit March 18, 2018

Lying doesn't pay off – and it's not just about ethics. Now that we live in a digital age, any piece of information can get leaked at any given moment.

Your resume is no exception. Imagine that awkward situation when the truth comes out and the whole world comes to see that you're a cheater.

There's just one advice: be honest and truthful. Pursue authenticity in your resume or cover letter.

Otherwise, you can end up in one of these 10 hilarious situations. 

1. Nobody's language skills could be this epic.

Making up your language skills is one of the silliest things you can do. The moment will come when you'll be asked to demonstrate your expertise and it goes without saying that you shouldn't fail.

Watch Catherine Tate's attempt to speak seven different languages go wrong. In this sketch, English actress and comedian volunteers to step in for a translator during a business meeting. But what she ends up producing are just stretches of meaningless gibberish.

2. The same goes for computer skills.

Do you remember that famous scene from the British sitcom IT Crowd with Jen's job interview? She fakes computer experience and ends up in a wrong place with the weirdest people she's ever met, also known as 'standard nerds'.

Don't say you're familiar with modern technology unless you truly are. IT experts might be some of the best-paid professions nowadays, but trying to pretend you have their skills is sure to do more harm than good

3. That one when Joey applied for a job.

Revise your resume well before submitting it. Or even better, ask your partner or a friend to do the fact checking for you. There's usually plenty of reality twisting and you definitely want to filter these things out before applying for a job.

In one of the episodes of Friends, Phoebe bombards Joey with questions related to his resume. Apparently none of it is true. No tap dancing, archery or horseback riding. But to drink a gallon of milk in just 10 seconds — that he can do!

lying on resume

4. Degrees from the "University of Life" don't really count.

It's pure folly to lie about doing military service or having a college degree, especially when you're applying for a prestigious position. However, there are still some people — such as one of Trump's advisors — who believed they could get away with it.

But at the end of the day, an honest apology will be the first thing you'll need to do. Faking your academic achievements will make your career sink right away. So why would you ruin it before it has even started?

5. Can't do something? Don't act like you can.

This adventurous Venezulean athlete has probably never seen snow in his life. And yet he dared to include cross country skiing on his virtual resume as one of his dominant skills.

Get rid of bragging and keep a humble opinion of yourself. If you don’t feel confident with certain skills, it’s better to exclude them rather than lying on resume.

6. Even Cedric Diggory had to lie about his education.

To get his role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter, the actor Robert Pattinson deceived the casting directors by saying he attended Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In fact, he'd been unemployed for a long stretch of time.

Explaining a gap in your employment might get tricky at times, but lying can never be a solution. Try to emphasise the benefits you reaped from the time when you could focus on the career change. 


7. Expert horse rider? Olympic fencer? Please.

List your real hobbies. Coming up with impressive yet fake pastimes can lead to embarrassing situations.

Did you know that even James Bond himself – Daniel Craig – claimed to be an expert horse rider to get various movie roles? Whether you enjoy playing checkers or collecting stamps, go ahead and use your resume to tell your true story.

8. Doesn't matter it was 40 years ago. People are still gonna check.

Do not attempt to embellish your academic credentials. Vice President in the Obama administration, Joe Biden, had to abandon his presidential bid. It was discovered he lied about graduating in the top half of his class in law school. Too bad!

9. You can't judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. 

Think twice about your area of expertise. It’s absurd to claim you’re an accomplished alpine ski racer when you actually excel in gymnastics. Watch the aspiring French skier Julien Lizeroux showcase his extraordinary skills before he even touches the snow.

To avoid making your career somersault, list the most important skills first and proceed to more marginal ones towards the end of the list. Recruiters will read your resume from the top to bottom, not the other way round.

lying on resume

10. Is the job you have to lie to get really worth it? 

Focus on larger goals. Small-scale steps are important, but getting stuck on them will lead to nowhere. To elucidate this point, just have a look at this insanely bad freestyle skier Elizabeth Swaney, the halfpipe sensation of 2018 Winter Olympics.

Swaney worked towards the single-minded goal of making it to the Games. If your only objective is to get to a specific job position or pay rise, you might miss out on far more important features – such as simply being good at what you do.

Keep your feet on the ground.

Learn from the mistakes of others and don't let half-truths and little lies enter your resume. Whether you are a fresh graduate or senior staff member, it's high time to do away with fabrication and exaggeration. Sincerity is the safest path to credibility. Build up your career step by step, work on your skills and the results will come along the way.

If you're just out of college, check out our ultimate guide to an irresistible college student resume. It will help you get your resume into shape in no time!

  • Jakub Kapral, Career and Resume Writer at Kickresume
  • Jakub Kaprál
    Career & Resume Writer
    Jakub Kapral is a former professional linguist and a career writer at Kickresume. He has written almost 100 diligently researched resume advice articles and his texts are visited by thousands of people every month. Jakub is a natural teacher who looks to help those who want to enhance their career prospects. He's also an avid drummer and a proud father of two.

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