Help! I’ve Lied On My Resume, Now What?
Help! I’ve Lied On My Resume, Now What?
December 16, 2021

Don’t lie; you lie too.

While many of us would purport to take the moral high ground and never utter something that was utterly false, the truth is that’s probably as big a lie as any.

In fact, 60% of adults can’t even go a ten-minute conversation without telling at least a single lie, with the average amount of lies being 3.

That’s 3 lies every 10 minutes. And we don’t just lie when we speak, either.

People lie on dating sites more than anywhere else. Up to 90% of people on them have fudged the truth.

But the second biggest contender for faking it? Resumes. 

Lying to get what we want is one of the most common reasons to lie. And when we want to get ahead in the job search rat race, we’re often willing to make up the extra mile that sets us ahead of the pack.

Unfortunately, this usually only offers short term gains with long term consequences. Sometimes, it’s just immediate consequences with no benefit.

So if you “haven’t” lied on your resume (wink, wink), then we “don’t” have the fix for you 😉

Why No Lie?

Lie bad. Lie very bad.

There are plenty of consequences for lying on your resume.

Maybe you’ve seen a tv show like “Suits”, where a young drug dealer fakes his way into working for a prestigious law firm without actually being a lawyer. We’d all love to imagine that we could fake-it-till-we-make-it, but reality is often stranger than fiction.

In the real world, you have to live with the lie. And like the tell-tale heart, that constant reminder that you could be caught and lose everything is a huge weight to bear.

Now maybe you’ve only told a small lie on your resume, one that you think you could live with (and get away with) rather easily. A little detail here or there; closing the dates of an employment gap, creatively updating your job title, etc.

Nowadays, however, employers have more tools to cross-reference your resume and factcheck your work history. The chances of them running across a discrepancy on social media or with your references is greatly increased.

And if you’re shopping around your resume, chances are you don’t want that to happen.

When a lie is exposed on your resume, it can cost you a job (or a job opportunity). And unlike simply being turned down normally, now you have to deal with the shame. It’s also quite likely that you’ll be added to that particular employer’s blacklist, but it’s also possible that they could spread the word, hurting your chances of finding work in general.

And even worse, if the lie is exposed after you’ve been hired, and causes you to lose your job, now you have a history of termination with cause to add to your resume. It’s a black spot that’s hard to distract from, for sure.

So What Do I Do If I’ve Lied?

You pick one of the 4 options below! These are your choices when you’ve given a resume to an employer with a lie (or more) on it.

  1. Fix Your Resume

You should probably do this, even if you’re not going to take this approach with the recruiter you’re currently working with.

Edit your resume to remove the lie. Then tell your recruiter that you’d like to submit an updated copy. 

Pro tip: edit a few other things, like layout or font choices, so that it isn’t as obvious that you’ve made significant changes. Remember, they likely have the old copy to cross compare.

  1. Adopt An Honesty Policy

You can just come clean. Tell your recruiter that your resume isn’t accurate, or that it contains an outright lie.

Sure, there’s some small chance they’ll forgive your indiscretion and appreciate your honesty. But chances are you’ll just be respectfully removed from the runnings.

At least you won’t have to worry about it down the road. And who knows, maybe you can reapproach this employer at a later time.

  1. Keep Your Mouth Shut

Whenever you’re presented options about what to do, remember that you always have the option to do nothing.

With this option, you’re taking your chances that they won’t find out. You’ll end up having to do more work to keep up the lie, especially if they have you fill out other documents like an application form or a background check.

Just remember, recruiters weren’t born yesterday. They know what to look for. These are the most common resume fibs and what percentage of people who lie on resumes lied about that particular item:

  • Embellished skill sets: 62%
  • Embellished responsibilities: 54%
  • Dates of employment: 39%
  • Job titles: 31%
  • Academic degrees: 28%

If you’ve lied about these, understand that these are what recruiters are most likely to check up on.

  1. Bow Out

You can simply give up and live to fight another day.

You can withdraw your application without even giving a reason why. This means you can avoid dealing with the consequences all while saving face.

Chances are your lie will go undetected and you can even think about circling back to applying to this employer down the road.

Ultimately, this is the safest option.


Whatever you choose is up to you. It will depend on your character, your morals, and the nature of your lie. At the end of the day, just be sure to protect your career interests.

And remember, it’s dangerous to your career to put lies about yourself out there into the world. Because, like they say in the X-Files, “the truth is out there” as well.