It's easy to gloat about our professional achievements sitting across a table - but would candidates really put outright lies on their resume (or at least have thought about it)? What is the line between sugarcoating details on one's resume to stretch the truth and actually lying?

Turns out, the latter is more prevalent than you’d expect.

A vast 93% of the 1,000 Americans surveyed by ResumeLab claimed to know some who has lied on a resume, but only a third (36%) admitted to having lied themselves - the most common lies being about experience (27%), skills (18%), and job duties (17%). Just 2% admitted to lying about their certifications.


Lying by gender and age

According to the survey, men (58%) lie more often than women (41%) on their resume. When it comes to age, 38% of youngsters (aged 18-39) confess to lying more often than older people (aged 40+, 30%).

Breaking the data down by industry, it was found that:

  • Business and retail professionals lie nearly 50% of the time on their resumes.
  • Education and healthcare professionals (30%) are the least likely to lie.
  • No major difference exists in lying on a resume based on education level.


To lie or not to lie?

Now, we know what people lie on their resume, but we don’t really know why people lie on a resume. Let’s see what factors lead people to lie.

Let’s be honest: people lie because they want to get an interview and the job. But things get interesting when we look at the details: about 23% lied even though they thought they were qualified.

As for some more obvious reasons: 17% lied because they wanted a higher salary for that position, while an equal 17% lies because they weren’t qualified for the position.

And, the most honest answer ever tops the list: They didn’t think they’d get caught (18%).

At the end of the day, desperate times call for desperate measures. Long-term unemployment was the main reason for lying. About 37% of respondents chose this answer, nearly double the second most common reason. It resonated more with Boomers (nearly 50%) and the least with Gen Z (26%).

Graphics / ResumeLab