Recruiters and hiring professionals share some of the whoppers and doozies job seekers have tried to sneak into resumes over the years.

Breaking Resume Rules

Recruiters and hiring professionals share some of the whoppers and doozies job seekers have tried to sneak into resumes over the years.

48-hour promotion

David Lewis, SPHR | Regional Manager
Express Employment Professionals

I once got two resumes a couple of days apart from the same candidate — (who was) applying for different jobs. The dates of employment and some of the areas of responsibility were changed in the second resume. And she must have had a promotion in the past 48 hours because the second resume showed a new manager title at her current job!

Me too
Didi Miesen | Former Recruiter
Snelling & Snelling (currently Snelling Staffing Services )

I not only interviewed countless people who lied on their resumes — I got the job because I’d lied on my resume… LOL… and it wasn’t the only time. Had I been honest about both my age and experience (or lack thereof, at the time), then I would never have been considered, never mind hired, for positions I knew I’d do well in and did.

Habla Espanol?
Christine Bolzan | CEO

Graduate Career Coaching

(Former VP in charge of Global Emerging Markets hiring for JP Morgan)

Specific examples I have witnessed include … stretching a one-day volunteer activity into a semester’s worth of skill building and community involvement, (and) inflating language skills. I have started out interviews speaking in Spanish when the resume claims fluency only to discover that the individual never got beyond the basics and I lost them at “Hola.”

10-credits shy
Sally Haver, Senior Vice President, Business Development
The Ayers Group /Career Partners International

It was one of our large investment-banking clients who sent us a candidate for our outplacement program. The person in question was a technology professional and a foreign national. Human resources discovered, quite by accident, that the employee had not received his bachelor’s degree from a university, as he had listed on his resume. The truth was, he was 10 credits short of having earned his degree.

The company had a policy that if an employee had lied on his resume, the person had to be released. Everyone at the company was heartbroken, as this was a generally beloved employee, but they had to terminate his employment, according to the letter of the law.

Sharing the credit
David Couper | Transitions Coach

When I worked in Japan I reviewed the resume of one of our teachers who was teaching English at the company I worked at. He said that he went to Poole University (in the U.K.). Unfortunately, as I am English, I knew that there might be a Poole Community College but there was not a university. But he was a nice guy and a good teacher so I let it slip by!

I worked for a manufacturing company that was moving out of state so I helped a number of managers and supervisors polish their resumes. What was funny was that three people all had exactly the same accomplishment about designing and bringing a new product into production. It wasn’t possible that they all led this project but that’s what their resumes said!

Fake references
Barry Maher | Business Speaker
Barry Maher & Associates

(Some candidates) substitute the name of a company friend for that of their immediate superior. Call to check the reference and the friend tells you the candidate is a cross between Jack Welch and Mother Teresa. That’s when the fun begins, especially if the candidate wasn’t smart enough to send the friend a copy of the resume. The friend is willing to vouch for anything but they can never be completely sure of the fabricated details.

“So you can verify the candidate made $250,000 their last full year there?” I’ll ask, looking at the line on the resume that claims he made $150,000.

“It was right around there,” the friend says, thinking he’s being cagey. “Maybe a few dollars more, a few dollars less, but in that ballpark.”

I make up a couple more “facts” the friend is happy to swear to, and then move on to the next candidate.

No class
Marsh Sutherland | President
Walden Recruiting

I’ve had three placements in the past year and a half fall off due to candidates exaggerating their educational backgrounds. In all three placements the candidates indicated they had earned a m aster’s degree when they had not completed the program.

In one placement the candidate had earned a m aster’s certificate from a university in Canada and was continuing on with the m aster’s program, but his resume simply said ” M.S. in Software Engineering.” The hiring manager revoked the offer for demonstration of his exercising poor judgment. He was of Chinese origin so it might have been due to a language barrier.

Another candidate, who has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, received an offer from MITRE that was revoked. He indicated on his resume that he had earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, but he was four credits shy of earning the second master’s degree. The hiring manager said this demonstrated a lack of integrity and education is very important to a research institution like MITRE.

Another candidate wrote on his resume that he earned a “B.S. in Electrical Engineering” at a university some 30 years ago, but didn’t mention he was only enrolled and didn’t complete it. Again the offer was revoked as a demonstration of lack of integrity.