The End of Resume Lies

Every now and then, someone will ask me the age-old question: “Is it OK to lie on my resume?”

I’ve always said no – I never think lying is a good idea because (a) it’s wrong (b) you might get found out, and (c) you might not get found out, get the job, and then not be able to do it!

So lying on your resume has always been a bad idea, and every now and then we would hear about some senior executive who got fired after his or her lies were discovered, but most people who lied probably got away with it. After all, most employers are terrible about checking the references you provide, let alone digging any deeper.

But the advent of social media and Google and all the other stuff that has changed all our lives, means it’s now more than a bad idea to lie on your resume – it’s just plain stupid.

Employers can google your name and find the truth about you more easily than they ever could, but that’s no longer the end of it. Your co-workers can now find out all about you. Your company’s customers can find out all about you. Managers in other departments can find out all about you – and they don’t even have to be looking for the information!

Consider this case from Switzerland where a colleague stumbled across an employee’s Facebook activities and it ultimately cost her her job.

Now think of all the information that’s out there about you on sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn … if you lie on your resume, anyone can find out about it. No longer does being found out depend upon a diligent researcher in the HR department – it can be the guy who sits across from you and happens to follow you on Twitter, or the co-worker who’s friends with one of your friends on Facebook, or the customer who looks you up before a meeting.

Bottom line, social media has put an end to lying when you represent yourself to others – or at least doing it effectively for any length of time. And that means every word of your resume needs to be honest.