10 Ridiculous and Funny Résumé Lies

Harris Poll conducted a survey for CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6, and the results include responses from 2,188 hiring managers and human resource professionals who work in a variety of industries and corporate environments. Of that group, 58% said they’ve caught lies on résumés, and a third of those HR workers said they’ve seen an uptick in such lies since the recession. Common embellishments include skill sets and previous work responsibilities, but some survey respondents had some off-the-wall examples. Here are the best résumé lies shared with CareerBuilder.

1. Daddy Deception

An applicant listed his father’s work experience as his own, because the two shared a name. Junior didn’t get away with it.

2. Political Impossibility

If you’re going to lie about your experience (which you shouldn’t), you should probably make sure you claim something realistic: One person listed a previous job as an assistant to the prime minister in a country that doesn’t have a prime minister.

3. Cracking Under Pressure

A basketball player with an excellent free-throw record shows the ability to maintain composure in stressful situations. This claim blew up in an applicant’s face when, under the pressure of an interview, he admitted he lied on his résumé about being a high school basketball free-throw champion.

4. Champion of Lies

The Olympics are pretty well documented on the Internet, so it’s not surprising that someone got busted for claiming to be an Olympic medalist.

5. In the Doghouse

An applicant said he had previously been a construction supervisor, but his experience consisted solely of building a doghouse a few years before.

6. The Prodigy

A 32-year-old applicant claimed to have 25 years of work experience.

7. They’ll Never Check References, Right?

Someone took on to go-big-or-go-home mentality by claiming two decades of experience babysitting celebrities, like Tom Cruise and Madonna.

8. It’s the Little Things

A potential employer contacted three previous employers listed on a hopeful’s résumé: One job lasted two days, the other for one day and the other was completely made up.

9. These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking for…

After getting fired, a job seeker re-applied to the company, listing the same company in his previous experience with one small change: He said he quit.

10. The Split Test

Perhaps in an effort to determine the best résumé, one person applied twice for the same position, listing different work histories on each application. The hiring manager noticed.

Common Résumé Mistakes

Those are extreme examples, but it’s not unusual for job applicants to lie in the application process (and get caught). Among hiring managers who have experience finding lies in résumés, these were the most common fibs: an embellished skill set (57% of HR workers had caught this), exaggerated responsibilities (55%), dates of employment (42%), job title (34%), academic degree (33%), previous employers (26%) and awards (18%).

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