5 Ways You May Unwittingly Commit Resume Fraud

Resume fraud is nothing new, just ask former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, e-commerce Etsy co-founder Rob Kalin, or former Lotus Development CEO Jeff Papows.

But did you know actions like this where bigwig tech executives put false or embellished information on their resumes is having a reverberating effect on your job search? Well, it is.

An estimated 33 percent of all resumes contain false or embellished information, says Marquet International, and, surprisingly, this is impacting your job search.

For starters, widespread fraud makes hiring managers leery of every claim you make and they’re responding by adding background checks, technical assessments and additional interviews to the hiring process. Plus, employers have become so risk averse that they’d rather eliminate a candidate they don’t trust, than make a hiring mistake.

Here’s how you can keep the problem of resume fraud from spilling over into your search.

No. 1: Get Your Story Straight

Make sure the dates and titles on your resume are correct and coordinate with your job application, online profile and employment records. If you decide to use a recognized industry job title, be sure to list your real job title in parenthesis. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 64 percent of HR professionals did not extend a job offer to a potential employee because their background reference check showed inaccurate dates of previous employment.

No 2: Vet Yourself

Did you earn your degree under a different name? Did that brush with the law during college result in a misdemeanor or a felony and is it still on your record? Has someone stolen your identity?  Will nosy employers find digital dirt? Clear up any issues that may keep you from getting an offer and remember, you can run but you can’t hide from social media.

No. 3:  Mend the Fence with Previous Supervisors

Background investigation companies may unearth an old boss who isn’t on your reference list. So cover your bases by giving previous supervisors a heads-up and putting unresolved issues to rest. Also, review your job title, duties and achievements so your old boss doesn’t volunteer information that conflicts with your application or resume.

No: 4: Market Honestly

It’s OK to call yourself a Java guru, security savant or bug eradicator as long as you can back-up your claims. Tout your real strengths so you don’t get exposed during technical assessments, peer interviews and white board exercises.

No. 5: Volunteer Proof

Nip employer concerns in the bud by proactively offering copies of your transcripts, certifications and a link to your digital portfolio. Don’t let the seeds of doubt take root and ruin your search.

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Image: Resume by Bigstock

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20 Responses to “5 Ways You May Unwittingly Commit Resume Fraud”

  1. The best way to back up a resume is to have a Curriculum Vitae (CV) which backs up everything on your resume and more. The CV must include: Diplomas, Certifications, Continuing Education Certificates, Accomplishments, Awards, and Recommendations. Amen!

  2. InTheKnow

    The most stupidly obvious thing has been left off this short list. Get copies of the resumes being sent to companies for review by the headhunter before they are sent to the employers.
    I found a supposedly ethical contracting firm had changed my date of last employment after reviewing my resume. They told me they fixed it, when I got to the interview I found out both the prospective client and myself had been lied too. I took the first three minutes of the interview to make it clear I was not as current as the resume stated.
    I still got the position but I live by the edict ”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive…”.
    BTW – the name of the firm is Dedicated Technologies Incorporated, they requested in writing five times that I was willing to work for a specific wage. After getting the job and going to the home office to sign the contract they had reduced my wage by a dollar an hour…

    • Leslie Stevens-Huffman

      Dear INTHEKNOW,

      Good point about reviewing the resumes sent by agencies. Also, some headhunters submit a form called a candidate summary, which aligns your qualifications with the job description. Make sure your resume and online profile match the agency’s summary, especially if you furnished additional information to illustrate the match between your background and a specific job.

      Good luck.

    • The methods to work around the law are called temps or temporary contractors – oops, sorry Indians, I meant temporary *consultants*. Indians do not like to be called ‘contractors’ – they prefer to be called ‘consultants’. I know since I’ve had sensitivity training to acclimate myself to the large proportion of Indian ‘consultants’ at my workplace. The ‘consultants’ frequently prove to be less than capable but are tolerated because they eventually get the job done, more or less. Oftentimes the ‘more or less’ doesn’t matter but ‘management’ has been discovering that customer satisfaction is frequently more important than short term cost savings. We’ve started hiring Americans again…

  3. I do not for one second think you should lie on your resume about anything, but any employer who is dissecting you to the point of determining if you left on September 30 vs October 1 is probably a place you really do not want to work in the first place.

    Many employers moan about not finding good employees while simultaneously creating longer and longer lists of reasons to not hire people. Bring em on…if it doesnt work out you can always replace them. Salaried IT employees work at the discretion of the employer, it is not like they are hard to fire.

  4. I found the only companies that have problems like this are the companies that don’t have dedicated IT managers. If your HR manager has only rudimentary IT skills she /he will not be able to tell the bull crappers. Even doing a full background check can not tell if the person is good or not. Questioning the person on the job then decide if they can handle it

  5. Jimmy don't play that

    Remember the sins of omission – by keeping my resume to 2 pages I have had to seriously de-emphasize the first 20 years of my career. While it helps disguise my age, it has led to questions, especially as to why I would be qualified for work (that I can do blindfolded) when that experience is not explicit in the resume. This isn’t lying, it is but a fact of a terrible job market and rampant age discrimination.

  6. Who named this page??? It says “5 ways you may unwittingly commit resume fraud”, and when read it seems to tell you “5 ways to prevent yourself from unwittingly being perceived as having committed resume fraud”. Two entirely different sets of information. The data seems as short sided as the name. “Volunteer proof” may work great for a first year intern, but you seem to be asking a truely seasoned professional to take a file cabinet of information to an interview, or create a resume that would be disposed of by nearly every hiring manager without the time to read a book.

  7. Yes, some, but thankfully, not all, consulting firms do change the resume content without consent to increase their and your chances of winning a project engagement.

    Any company that over scrutinizes your background and history is most probably not the company you want to associate yourself.

    Social media should be off limits to companies. Bottom line is, if you don’t want them being nosenbaums, stop putting your “stuff” on social sites!! Especially you younguns out there! You’re shootin’ yourselves in the foot!

    We need to come to grips with the fact that there are two or three standards at play;

    the jobs available to Americans,

    the jobs available to Americans that will never get those jobs due to offshored, outsourced, H1-B, L-1 or other visas, jobs requisitions that are not only going to US recruiters, but are going to any of the hundreds, maybe even thousands of offshore (primarily Indian) mom and pop recruiters

    the jobs that US companies blast out to the many, many recruiters mentioned above, that these same US companies have absolutely no intention of hiring an American in the first place

    First things first. Resume accuracy is very important to be sure. However, I’d first work on solving the above issues and I mean now, today, fast, and adopt an American first attitude for a while! NOT FOREVER, so don’t anyone get yourselves into a frazzle! I said, for a while, so that we can bring our technical employment, and technical edge, home again.

    Geez, I know we’re part of a globalized economy, but it’s time for American companies to step up and go to bat for Americans again.

    Please tell me if I’m off base with this!! If you disagree, I’m fine with that. What I’m seeing right now is that Americans in most areas of IT, aren’t hurting enough yet!! You’re simply not fed up enough!! Otherwise, we’d all be in Washington complaining about it!!

    • Leslie Stevens-Huffman

      Dear MACMANJIM,

      Any deviation between your online persona and your resume or personal brand can raise suspicions. Digital dirt can be those 615 comments you posted on a sports blog during office hours or that comment about your recent “sick day” posted by a co-worker that conflicts with your claim of being a hard-working professional.

      • Could be, but it isn’t ironclad. Another thing is, my resume “persona” is just for jobs. If someone, for instance, doesn’t like my politics, that isn’t fraud. I don’t include politics, hobbies or personal information on my resume. If someone goes digging and finds something they disagree with, it’s not fraud at all. You’re off on this one.

  8. Really, who would lie on a resume…who would lie anyway. It is not worth it, especially if one is in IT..I am surmising these are very intelligent people….It is not worth it….and who would want to hire a dishonest person?

  9. I find the directive about earning a diploma under a different name to be a good tip. Women who change their names after marrying don’t tend to think of this. The comment about leaving off 20 years of prior experience is valid, as is the cautionary comment about being careful about what you post online. I assume everything online will be public at some point, so I am very careful about what I post.