One-Third of Americans Workers Admit to Lying on Their Resumes

One-Third of Americans Workers Admit to Lying on Their Resumes

Many are fired or lose their job offer once they're caught, according to new survey findings
in person job interview

The pandemic-era job market has been a dynamic one, with workers leaving their jobs and finding new ones in a matter of weeks or months.

Still, there are many without jobs, and in the middle of a health crisis that has crushed the financial stability of millions of working Americans, the stakes are high for job seekers. Some may be tempted to stretch the truth a bit if it means landing that lucrative dream job.

In fact, according to new findings from job search resource ResumeBuilder.com, 1 in 3 Americans admitted to lying on their resumes. Some of the most common ones include the applicant's years of experience (46%), educational background (44%), length of position held (43%) and skills or abilities (40%).

Job seekers who lied on their resume often face consequences when caught

A recent survey conducted by GoodHire found that nearly half of all U.S. workers would either quit their job or look for a new one if their employer mandated a return to in-person work. But with many companies pushing for a mass return to onsite work, there may soon be many employees updating their resumes — and embellishing the truth — in the months ahead.

Although the vast majority of respondents (72%) claim they do so to improve their chances of getting hired, others lie because they:

  • Lacked the necessary qualifications (44%)
  • Got fired or parted on bad terms from their previous employer (41%)
  • Wanted to add more keywords to their resume (40%)

On the one hand, ResumeBuilder.com found that 80% of applicants who lie on their resumes report getting hired for the position. However, about 2 in 5 of these respondents (41%) lost their employment offer once the company found out the truth. Another 18% managed to start at their new company, only to get fired afterward.

Nearly a third of this group (29%) faced no consequences after stretching the truth on their resumes. These survey participants were most likely to lie about their years of work experience.

High-earners, IT workers and finance professionals more likely to lie on their resumes

The ResumeBuilder.com survey also discovered that workers earning six figures tend to lie more on their resume compared to lower earners, although certain lies were more prevalent in each income bracket.

For instance, almost half of workers earning an annual income between $100,000 and $149,999 (49%) and those earning over $150,000 (46%) admitted to enhancing their resumes, compared to only 25% of those earning $99,999 or less.

The report also highlighted some of the most common lies by income bracket:

  • 72% of people earning $150,000 or more lied about their education credentials
  • 55% of people earning $100,000 to $149,000 lied about their job skills and abilities
  • 37% of people earning $50,000 to $99,999 lied about their years of experience
  • 42% of people earning less than $50,000 lied about their length of time holding a position

Employees working in IT (55%) or finance (45%) were also more likely to lie on their resumes compared to those in other fields — these lies tended to be about their education credentials, years of experience or previous employers.

And on the other end of the spectrum, ResumeBuilder.com found that health care workers (17%) and educators (18%) were the job candidates least likely to lie.

Methodology: On July 16, 2021, ResumeBuilder.com conducted an online survey via Pollfish of 1,250 American adults (ages 18 and older) who have applied for a job using a resume.