1) If it's on your resume, it is potential question/answer material during an interview. (That is not when you want to get caught in a lie. "Ummm...yes...about my Student Government Association experience. I think that we were...umm...all just technically members as students so I just thought I would stick that on there."
2) It's called a background check. Why risk it?!
Just be honest and do enough self-reflection so that you can honestly convey the applicable skill set and experience you possess that fits potential employers' needs.
Based on a Career Builder article, here are the most common lies on resumes. (That means employers are looking out for these!)
- Lying about getting a degree
- Exaggerating numbers
- Increasing previous salary
- Playing with dates
- Inflating titles
- Lying about technical abilities
- Claiming language Fluency (Clip from Friends where Joey has lied about speaking French.)
- Providing a fake address
- Padding grade point averages
Résumé impostor No. 1: Ronald Zarrella, Bausch & Lomb chief executive officer
Misdemeanor: Zarrella falsely claimed an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. He attended the program from 1972-76, but never earned his MBA. His claim was never checked by his prior employers.
Punishment: He was forced to forfeit $1.1 million from a bonus that could've potentially reached $1.65 million. Zarrella remained employed with Bausch & Lomb, who said he brought too much value to the company and its shareholders to fire him completely.
Résumé imposter No. 2: George O'Leary, ex-Notre Dame football coach
Misdemeanor: In 2001, O'Leary divulged his lies about his academic and athletic backgrounds. He claimed to have a master's degree in education from New York University and to have played college football and earned three letters while doing so. Contrarily, O'Leary was a student at NYU but did not earn a degree, and while he played football, he never earned a letter, let alone played in a game.
Punishment: Five days after he was hired, O'Leary resigned. "Many years ago, as a young married father, I sought to pursue my dream as a football coach," he said in a statement. "In seeking employment, I prepared a résumé that contained inaccuracies regarding my completion of course work for a master's degree and also my level of participation in football at my alma mater. These misstatements were never stricken from my résumé or biographical sketch in later years."
Résumé imposter No. 3: Marilee Jones, admissions dean for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Misdemeanor: Jones fudged her credentials, claiming to be a "scientist with degrees in biology from Rennselaar Polytechnic Institute and the Albany Medical College," and to have her doctorate. Jones said in a statement she "did not have the courage to correct my résumé when I applied for my current job or at any time since."
Punishment: Jones resigned in April 2007 after officials learned of her fabrications. MIT's dean for undergraduate education said MIT couldn't "tolerate this kind of behavior."
Résumé imposter No. 4: Kenneth Lonchar, chief financial officer of Veritas software
Misdemeanor: Lonchar fabricated his education, saying he earned an accounting degree from Arizona State University and was a Stanford MBA graduate -- in reality, all he had was an undergraduate degree from Idaho State University.
Punishment: Lonchar resigned and Veritas stock investors responded -- the company's stock price fell about 16 percent.
Résumé imposter No. 5: Jeff Papows, chief executive officer of Lotus Corporation
Misdemeanor: In 1999, The Wall Street Journal discovered Papows exaggerated his military record (he was a lieutenant not a captain), feigned his education (he doesn't have a Ph.D. from Pepperdine University) and claimed he was an orphan (his parents are alive and well).
Punishment: Papows resigned after his exaggerations were exposed at the same time as a sexual discrimination allegation from a former Lotus employee against him. Papows is now the chairman and CEO of Maptuit Corporation.
Résumé imposter No. 6: Dave Edmondson, chief executive of RadioShack
Misdemeanor: Edmondson falsified his résumé by claiming to have a degree in psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California (though the school doesn't offer a psychology program), along with a degree in theology from the same unaccredited college.
Punishment: Like the others, Edmondson admitted his false claims and resigned.