Is it Illegal to Lie on a Resume?

is it illegal to lie on a resume

Lying On a Resume

When you’re applying for something, whether that’s a job, an apartment, or even a passport, it can sometimes be tempting to fib a little bit.

After all, there’s usually a lot at stake, and hiding a past mess up or exaggerating a qualification might be the edge you need to get hired or approved. 

Obviously, there are some moral implications with this, but is it illegal to lie on a resume? Is there a real, tangible punishment you might have to suffer thanks to that little fib or exaggeration? 

The answer to that is more complicated than you think. From a purely technical standpoint, no, it’s not illegal. However, there are some cases where you might want to reconsider. Let’s go over them.

“Only one-third of recruiters think job candidates are honest about their skills, and 85% believe candidates exaggerate their skills on their resume.”

— HR Drive

Is it Illegal to Lie on a Resume for a Job? 

Lying on a job resume is not illegal, but some employers may feel that making false statements on this document is a form of fraud.

While it is without a doubt ethically wrong, an employer won’t have much ability to take you to court or demand legal action (this may vary by state). 

But that does not mean that you should start filling out every application with grand stories of imaginary accomplishments and other nonsense though.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are There Any Acceptable Lies?

In our experience, there are no acceptable lies to put on your resume. If you know you are stretching the truth, whether on a resume, cover letter, application, or at the interview, then leave it off!

will you get caught?

There are a number of ways during the interview process and job acceptance phase where you could get exposed for your lie. Here are a few of them:

  • They uncover your lie during the background check
  • You let things slip to your new boss or coworkers
  • Your resume, application and interview don’t match up
  • Your references speak the truth
  • The skills you lied about are exposed during your first weeks on the job

Is lying on a resume grounds for termination?

Yes, an employer can terminate an employee for lying on a job application.

What is the most common resume lie?

The most common résumé lies include past work experience, job titles, GPA and qualifications.


Wrapping up | Should You Lie on a Resume? 

No, you should not lie on a resume! It’s that simple.

Lying on a resume is ethically wrong, and even if you don’t care about the ethical problems, it can quickly send you on a downward spiral to the unemployment line with a poor job record. Start off this relationship by building trust with the employer.

Honesty is the best policy whenever you’re applying for a job or anything else.

The employer will be able to determine exactly how qualified you are for the job, you won’t have to worry about this lie biting you in the rear later on, and you also get to keep your integrity intact.

Not to mention companies are often willing to invest and train the right applicant even if they are unqualified for the role.

We hope this helped and best of luck in the job search!

Title: Is it illegal to lie on a job resume?

Category: Resume

Tags: lying on a resume, is it illegal to lie on a resume, resume lies, should I lie on my resume, job application, job seekers, hiring process, job titles, job hunting

Co-Author: Reid is a contributor for theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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