It’s normal for any job seeker to want to improve their image to a potential employer. However, if you lie on your resume, it can land you in some hot water.

Consequences of Lying on Your Resume

1. Criminal Charges

A resume is not a legal document. A resume is a marketing document used to ‘advertise oneself’ to potential employers. However, if you lie on your resume, you can potentially face legal action based on fraud.

If an employee presents fake documents which supports made-up credentials or degrees, they can be charged with fraud. Furthermore, if you sign a legal form confirming false credentials, this is fraud.

Governments are now beginning to crack down on resume fraud. In Western Australia, state governments can now fine CEO applicants up to $5000. If these applicants provide false or misleading information during their application process, they will be chargedAdditionally, in the UK, a worker who lied about her tertiary qualifications to her employer received a 6-month prison sentence. The court ordered her to repay her fees to the employer and complete 150 hours of community service.

2. Termination of Employment

If you lie on a resume about your skills integral for the job, your employer can terminate you. For example, if you are hired for data entry, but cannot use Microsoft Excel, you can be fired. Not only have you lied about being suitable for the position, but you cannot complete the duties of the position. After termination, you will have no options for compensation. Generally, this is the most common option for employers.

3. Financial Consequences

If an employee has made a mistake in their job, after being believed to possess the skills listed in their resume, the employee will have to pay reparations to the company or to the victim. The employer and company are able to defend themselves as the employee has committed fraud.

4. Future Employment

If you lie on your resume, you may also face repercussions for future employment. If you have been fired due to committing fraud, it would be very difficult to reapply for other jobs in the same industry. In fact, committing fraud in this manner hugely damages an individual’s reputation.

How to Boost your Resume Without Lying

You should first start by ensuring you have the necessary skills to fill the position. After, you should research the company as you should understand what their aim is and what values they uphold. Generally this information will be available on their website, or their job advertisement.

By researching what values the company upholds, you can prioritise your relevant job experience and personal skills. In cases where you think certain job experiences are not relevant to the position, it is legal to omit this from your resume. However, it is illegal where you add job experience you do not possess.


It’s important that you are honest when you apply for jobs. You should remember that in all positions, you will have to apply all the skills listed in your resume. If you are an employer looking to dismiss an employee who has lied on their resume, you can refer to our article, Termination for Misconduct, or consult an Employment Lawyer.

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