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Old September 19 2012, 05:21 PM   #1
Robert Maxwell
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Lying on a resume?

I have a friend who recently started working for a company. It's his first job out of college. They do contract software work for other companies. So, he would be a software engineer working for the contracting company, doing whatever jobs they get for him to work on.

Here's the thing: the companies they contract with want to review the resumes of the developers who will be working on their contracts. To that end, they are helping each new hire "rewrite" his or her resume, and even telling them what to put on it, going as far as wanting them to lie about where they've worked in the past. Most of these are kids right out of college with no real experience, so the company wants to beef up their resumes.

While exaggerating one's accomplishments is pretty common on resumes, I've never heard of flat-out lying being a routine practice. Does this happen a lot? Does it follow you around if you're caught? What are the potential consequences?

I don't want my friend to ruin his career by lying on his resume, but obviously I don't want him to pass up a job over something that may not be a big deal, either.

I am personally opposed to having bald-faced lies on my resume, but maybe I'm just weird.

What's the standard in your field? I would like to hear from software/IT people, if possible, but everyone else is good, too.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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Old September 19 2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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Re: Lying on a resume?

It's a dangerous game that company is playing... Not only would it look bad for the employees if they are caught, but it will definitely follow the company around. If they are caught, depending on the size and reputation of the company, any future potential employers could likely balk at hiring an applicant that worked there.

I propose taking the higher ground here. There are ways to beef up a resume without lying and I think your friend needs to make a stand (hopefully with other like-minded employees)...

If he wants to escalate (especially if he is threatened with being fired if he doesn't comply), he should consider whistleblowing to a higher authority about it (if there is somewhere higher he can go)...
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Old September 19 2012, 05:45 PM   #3
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Re: Lying on a resume?

Sounds like a terrible idea. I used to lead resume-building seminars, and I would definitely never advocate something like this. If you don't have a ton of experience, "beef up" your resume in other ways.

Or just write a kickass cover letter.
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Old September 19 2012, 05:56 PM   #4
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Re: Lying on a resume?

It sounds too dangerous to even attempt! I don't even "beef up" my resumes. If I didn't do it, it's not on the resume.
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Old September 19 2012, 05:58 PM   #5
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Re: Lying on a resume?

J. Allen wrote: View Post
It sounds too dangerous to even attempt! I don't even "beef up" my resumes. If I didn't do it, it's not on the resume.
That's not what "beef up" means in my book. When I say "beef up" your resume, I just mean drawing extra emphasis to certain things or using more colorful language to describe what might have otherwise been a fairly lame and mundane job.
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Old September 19 2012, 06:03 PM   #6
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Re: Lying on a resume?

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
It sounds too dangerous to even attempt! I don't even "beef up" my resumes. If I didn't do it, it's not on the resume.
That's not what "beef up" means in my book. When I say "beef up" your resume, I just mean drawing extra emphasis to certain things or using more colorful language to describe what might have otherwise been a fairly lame and mundane job.
I'm not saying you're advocating lying or anything, I'm just aware that many people do "enhance" their resumes with totally not true accomplishments.
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Old September 19 2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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Re: Lying on a resume?

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
It sounds too dangerous to even attempt! I don't even "beef up" my resumes. If I didn't do it, it's not on the resume.
That's not what "beef up" means in my book. When I say "beef up" your resume, I just mean drawing extra emphasis to certain things or using more colorful language to describe what might have otherwise been a fairly lame and mundane job.
Right.

For instance, on my resume, I list various things I've done for various companies. Part of that is indicating how what you did helped the company. Numbers are a great asset there. Well, what if you don't have hard numbers? Try to rough out a guess, and put that in. Is it 100% accurate? No. Will you be questioned about it? Maybe, so be prepared to explain how you arrived at that statistic. Is it wrong? I don't think so. The substance of what you said is correct.

I would never put down that I worked on something I didn't, or take credit for other people's work. Nor would I put down anything totally fabricated. That's what I see as the issue here.

I believe it is quite common to "beef up" one's own resume, though, by painting yourself in the best light and exaggerating a little about how big your achievements were. That's part of the game. Underselling yourself will just keep you out of a job.
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Old September 19 2012, 08:12 PM   #8
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Re: Lying on a resume?

One more voice saying this is a very poor idea. Risky and unethical.
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Old September 19 2012, 08:27 PM   #9
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Re: Lying on a resume?

Lying is lying, no matter which way you look at it.
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Old September 19 2012, 09:03 PM   #10
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Re: Lying on a resume?

Maybe he could write 2 resumes,one where he tell the truth,the other possibly what the company suggest,then if he's hired,he could give the real one,and explain the crap on the other.

PS a few years ago Quebec city was kinda victim of the bullcrap a prick wrote on his resume,the dude's name is Clothaire Rapaille [true name btw]
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Old September 19 2012, 09:07 PM   #11
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Re: Lying on a resume?

There's lying and then there are creative ways to tell the truth. But there is a line between "punching up" ones resume and outright fabrication. Unfortunately, many employers expect that so they factor it into their hiring process thereby giving short shrift (and what's a shrift anyway) to those who play it totally straight.
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Old September 19 2012, 09:25 PM   #12
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Re: Lying on a resume?

Let's ask Scott Thompson...
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Old September 19 2012, 09:26 PM   #13
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Re: Lying on a resume?

something tells me that if things came unravelled there would be complete deniability from the company as they threw their (fomer) employees to the wolves.
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Old September 19 2012, 10:53 PM   #14
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Re: Lying on a resume?

I agree, Marc. If the company is unethical enough to encourage its employees to lie on their resumes it's highly doubtful they'd support their employees if the latter were caught.
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Old September 19 2012, 11:27 PM   #15
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Re: Lying on a resume?

It's become quite common for employers to state on applications (or even employment agreements) that the discovery of any information on an application or a résumé to be inaccurate or fraudulent is grounds for immediate withdrawal of an offer of employment, or immediate termination if employment has already begun.

I get that your friend is trying to get and keep work, and in this economy it's tough (I'm in the process of losing my job due to "organizational restructuring" myself), but, man, this company has really put the screws to him in an awful way -- and Marc is right, if the company issuing the contract for that work were to find out of falsifications, your friend would be thrown under the bus in about two seconds flat, and suddenly there's a hole in his résumé thanks to the lovely term, "involuntary termination."
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