You Won’t Believe What Some Job Seekers Are Putting on Their Resumes
Life + Money

You Won’t Believe What Some Job Seekers Are Putting on Their Resumes

© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

These job applicants were not only unforgettable, they were unemployable.

One applicant listed a former employer as a reference. Too bad the company had an arrest warrant out for the applicant—for embezzling money.

Another claimed to attend a college that didn’t exist.

Then there was the applicant whose personal website linked to a porn site.

These were among the biggest resume blunders for CareerBuilder’s annual survey of 2,532 hiring managers and human resource managers.

Related: Looking for a Job? 7 Deadly Cover Letter Mistakes

And there was no shortage of whoppers. One driver claimed to be driving for 10 years on his resume, but only held a driver’s license for four. Another applicant’s multi-tasking skills were so amazing that he claimed to work for three different companies in three different cities at the same time. That’s a schedule that only Hermione Granger using a Time-Turner could handle.

More than half of hiring managers—56 percent—said that they have caught a lie on a resume—with 62 percent finding applicants who had embellished their skill sets. Fifty-four percent encountered applicants who had inflated responsibilities (like the one claiming to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying), and 39 percent found applicants had lied about dates of employment. Apparently lying about job titles and academic degrees were also popular, at 31 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

While a lie is certainly attention grabbing, there are better ways to hold a potential employer’s interest:

  • Customize your resume for the open position.
  • It’s a good idea to accompany your resume with a cover letter.
  • Link to your online portfolio, blog or website.

Related: Lie on a Resume and You May Lose More Than a Job

You definitely want your resume to be noticed for the right reasons and not the wrong ones, especially since 70 percent of hiring managers and human resource managers spend less than 5 minutes reviewing them:

The good news? Forty two percent of employers would consider a candidate who met only three out of five key qualifications for a specific role—but probably not the candidate who claimed to have won a Nobel Prize.

Managers tended to be most open-minded in the Midwest, where 48 percent of hiring managers said they would consider a candidate who had met only three out of five qualifications for a position. (That could bode well for the applicant who listed “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse” in their work history.) In general, the Midwest also reported the lowest incidence of lying—with 50 percent of hiring managers in the Midwest catching a lie on a resume, versus 60 percent in the Northeast, 59 percent in the South, and 58 percent in the West.