Would you lie on your resume, CV, or job application? (MIT Admissions Dean resigns)

If you haven’t seen this story, here’s a link.

I am amazed at people at high levels who embellish their resumes and CVs… and never correct them. It’s terrible that people would feel compelled to do this, but perhaps I’m more understanding of a young person doing this than someone at the apex of their career. George O’Leary did a similar thing and was busted as he was named the new coach at Notre Dame.

I’m absolutely sure my CV consists of things that I’ve done. It never occurred to me to add on another degree, or more accolades. First, I think I’m fundamentally honest. Second, I’d be scared that someone would find out the truth. And even if you had a reason to embellish your resume, wouldn’t you fix it when you went to the next level? Or just get a degree at night school or something so you could at least claim that you had the credential (just not where you claim it came from)? Barring that, why not at least remove the lie from your resume? Jones’ CV had three degrees, where she only attended one of the schools (with no degree).

So how 'bout it? Would you, or have you lied on your resume/CV/job application? What about? And if you did, would you correct, or have you corrected the lie?

With ambitions as low as mine, there has never been any need.

I have never lied on my resume or a job app. I may have been selective in what I wrote or emphasized certain points over others…but I have never outright lied.

Sometimes people misread my CV and say I’ve done things or have degrees I don’t have. Once on national TV, someone stated that my parents didn’t finish high school (they did, I actually told the producer that they didn’t go to college). I corrected the presenter, no big deal.

Another time I gave a speech for an event that my fraternity sponsored. The emcee misread my CV and announced that I was a graduate of Howard. (I went to Harvard.) The crowd clapped enthusiastically with the mention of Howard - my fraternity is historically Black. I didn’t make a point of correcting the emcee, because, well, it didn’t seem to be a big deal.

I was a finalist in a prestigious award at my undergrad school, and this is on my resume. Occasionally someone will say, “Oh, you won that award!” I usually correct them, and I’m actually going to remove this, because people seem to think I was the winner… the winner is a friend of mine, and I don’t think I need it anymore, anyway.

Like Antinor01, I’ve emphasized things and de-emphasized others, but never lied.

I never understood why people, particularly people further on in their careers, would lie on a resume.

That said, I have embellished my resume, if you will. For instance, my last job as gift shop _______ in a museum-

  1. My title was gift shop associate. However, I had my own office and extension, was the only full-time gift shop employee (we had a couple of students/retirees who ran the register on weekends- during the week it was staffed by volunteers), and was responsible for placing orders, dealing with customer complaints, cash control, etc. My resume lists that job as GS associate/manager, because though I was the de facto manager, I’m afraid they might check my references, find out my actual title, and decide I was lying. (I actually left that job because they wouldn’t promote me and because they acted like I had authority over/responsibilty for the GS when something went wrong, but left me out of meetings where they made major decisions about the GS)

  2. I have slighlty embellished parts of the duties of that job- I believe it says something about coordinating with the exhibits and education departments regarding upcoming exhibits and events, when in reality it was more of a passing in the halls comment or brief email to the effect “We’ve got X event coming up- you should order some books about X.” Not downright lying, but could be construed as making myself sound more important / involved than I was.

My previous job at a bookstore- the dates employed listed could be misleading. I was hired originally on a temp basis. Once that ended, I briefly got another job, but a few months later the business was sold and I was unemployed again. Started working at the bookstore again. My resume lists the original start date and makes no mention of the job in between, because it’s a big PITA to explain and I want to keep my resume to one page. I could see some finding that dishonest and will change it or eliminate it as soon as I have another job to put on my resume instead.

The only other potential “embellishment” on my resume is my Bachelor’s degree- it’s in progress, and I have it listed with an expected graduation date. A person skimming the resume could be confused and assume I have already earned it, but it states quite clearly “expected graduation date: May 2008.” I’m not so worried about that, no one can accuse me of being dishonest or misleading in any way. I just want to make it known that I’m currently a student seeking this degree (should that be an issue) and an observant person will notice both the use of “expected” and a future date- not to mention that the dates listed for attending the school are 2005-present. Just worry sometimes someone won’t notice, will hire me because they think I have a BA, and then notice at some point in the future and fire me for not fulfilling the job requirements.

I’m just too scared that I’ll be found out if I listed jobs I’ve never held or degrees I haven’t earned. I can’t understand the people that are willing to take that risk.

It’s certainly hard to understand why anyone would lie about something that is so easily verifiable. A prospective employer may find it difficult to check a vague statement like “I contributed significantly to the ABC project while working at XYZ”. But it’s pretty simple to test the veracity of a claim such as “I have a degree in ABC from University XYZ”.

I have no truck with that. IMHO MIT was too nice in “asking her to resign.” Three fake degrees!?! That’s the type of stuff firing is for! In her role she was presumably responsible for making sure MIT’s *students * had the prior qualifications they claimed. If it were up to me I’d be looking to terminate her on some kind of gross misconduct provision. What kind of message does “asked to resign” send to MIT’s students about academic misconduct? Not the right one, I’d say.

In my experience, employers quite often don’t check up on educational claims at all.

I’ve never lied, though I always use a resume targeted for a job, so I list the skills I used in each job that are the most relevant to the job I’m applying for.

Thus, if it were a computer job, I’d mention the computer skills I used on the job; if it’s a tch writing job, I mention the tech writing skills I used on that job.

My career path has been so unqualifedly brilliant I have no reason to lie on my resume :smiley:

I am, though, reminded of a co-worker who said of the fine art or resume embellishment, “if you saw it, then you did it, and if you did it, you were in charge of it.”

I also have never outright lied on any resume or job application, at least not that I can remember. The closest I’ve come I guess was changing my resume to list previous jobs in terms of years (i.e. 2002-2007), instead of months with years (i.e. March 2002 - April 2007). To be honest, although I do think the change made my resume look more professional, the real reason I made it was to make periods of unemployment (from before I graduated college even) less noticable and to make a job that lasted 10 months look like it was two years because it happened to span two calandar years.

If I were to put together my resume again and start circulating it, I’d really like to think I would never blatantly lie on it, but until I’m actually faced with a situation it would be hard for me to know how I could react. Unfortuantley, if there was a job I was interested in and I knew I could do well, but I didn’t meet the qualifications, and if I was certain that I wouldn’t get caught, making up a resume would be awfully tempting. Still, I’d hope I would do the right thing and either take a pass or submit my subpar resume, but like I said, its hard for me to know for sure.

Although I am a very honest person, I do admit that a big reason I’d be afraid to lie on a resume would be fear of getting caught. Even if I got hired I’d be concerned that at any time I could be exposed and lose my job, and to me that’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.

Another reason I wouldn’t lie would be that I’d feel guilty about screwing over other job applicants that maybe should have gotten the job instead of me. Really, I’m pretty paranoid that many (maybe most) job hunters do blatantly exaggerate if not outright lie on their resumes, but that still doesn’t mean I’ve got to stoop to their level.

I’m always amazed when people lie about degrees when they work in higher education. Everyone already knows each other, if someone’s degree is from a certain program, sooner rather than later they are going to run into someone from that same program. It’s not hard for any business to check credentials, but on top of that, there is a very high risk that people in education will get “checked” socially as well, because we love playing Six Degrees of Derek Bok, or something. The very next person you hire, or meet at a conference, or bring in as a consultant, could have their degree from that program, and then it’s all “oh, Random Research University? When were you there? Did you know our new Dean, Hippy Hollow? Yes? What? ABD? Surely not … oh.”

I invented wool!!!

However, Al Gore has be beat - he invented the Internets!!!

Yeah, isn’t that weird? O’Leary probably never thought he’d rise to the levels he did. Jones similarly started at MIT as an administrative assistant. I mean, did she aspire to stay a secretary her whole life? Apparently she fibbed about not having a bachelor’s degree. How hard would it have been to go to Cambridge College and get the blasted thing?

Some people use the “oh, I never read my resume, so I’m not aware of what’s on it.” So you don’t pay close attention to your most essential personal document?

If you work in a field where your degree is basically the price of admission - like consulting, it’s still bad but somewhat less bad than actually working a job where you are making decisions on people entering an institution of higher learning, where the general understanding is that you’ve all matriculated from college. I hope for her conscience’s sake she never gave a thumbs down on a candidate because she didn’t think he or she would finish school…

I never lied like that. Jeez. I can’t even figure out precisely what she did. Made up a degree she didn’t earn?

I’ve stretched the truth, said I did more work in one area than another (say, working with customers if I were a stockboy), listed a computer program I’m not an expert at, but understand the rudiments of…

I’ve been at my first real job for only four months and I can’t believe the amount of crap I’ve done that I can pad my resume with. I don’t see why anyone would need to if they had real work experience.

Total BS. That line might work for a phone number (I never call it), but your resume?
Hell, it’s only a page!

HELL no! The closest I’ve ever come is to using a type of resume that features skills, experience, and education first and includes job history dead last. That was many years ago, and was done to insure that my actual expertise was looked at first and that some rather sizeable gaps in my employment history (I’d stayed home with my son for long periods on and off up until he was about three), weren’t the first thing that they’d focus on.

In September of 2005, I was hired for a project; the project leader was also a new hire. I happened to see her DoB when we went to pick a rental car and thought it was funny: she had been made leader because “she was the most experienced” but the DoB put her at 24.

She couldn’t take her flight out of Spain because her passport was expired.

We had a lot of problems with her; she didn’t even seem to know the first thing about her own parts of the project; definitely had no idea how to manage a team. She was always reading self-help books (company paid housing, she was my roomie); a lot of the things she did would have been good if done right but she managed to do them wrong. She did not mention her birthday, something which in Spain is considered quite impolite because you’re supposed to invite people to something (bring cookies or candy, or pay for coffees).

Then someone in Central made a remark about her being 45 but not looking like it and the receptionist said “she’s not 45, she’s 25.” The receptionist is also the archivist, she’d seen the photocopy of the National ID and been struck by the date.

Turns out that this woman with 10 years experience in our field and a dozen projects under her belt was fresh out of her master’s and had, before joining our company, a grand total of one month experience. The years she’d spent out of the country? In her mind. Her passport hadn’t been expired, it had been nonexistant.

Later in Central, the HR manager said "everybody lies in their CV, but that much?", others expressed agreement and I said “uh, I don’t.”
“You don’t?”
"So you’ve really done this?"
"And that?"
“Oh. Wow.”

I’ve been accused of lying in my resume by people whose experience was limited to very small projects, so they refused to believe the size of some of mine. But the closest I’ve come to lying in my resume is forgetting to list irrelevant degrees :stuck_out_tongue: Why would I set a trap for myself?

Well, my CV doesn’t say a word about the four years I spent in Takon-Galtos in the 2980s. And instead of admitting that my first job out of college was as a PR guy for the Legion of Doom, I claim to have worked for Sears.

So yeah.

Nope. Never would do such a thing. My resume was pretty thin early on but I put my HS, college work so far ( started freelancing during Freshman Year ) and built from there.

I’ve been nominated 4 times for an Emmy Award and never won. -sniffle- The resume makes it clear that I am a nominee. Aside from that kind of a thing, I suppose people pad their freelance resumes all the time but that idea really puts me off a lot.

Besdies, as a freelancer at some point I had so many credits I had to weed through and delete some of the older or not-so-high-profile ones.

God, no. I’m refreshing my resume at the moment, and I will certainly put my best face forward, and emphasise all my experience and skills, but lie? Hell, no! You will get caught, sooner or later. It’s just stupid to do.