When times get tough, job hunters face increasing pressure to find a job. Many people think lying on their resumes improves their chances: recent surveys have found between 20 to 50 percent of job seekers and employees whose resumes were checked had made “significant misstatements” on their resumes. Unfortunately for lying employees, the rise of the internet makes it much easier for employers to check references and employers have been quick to take advantage of their new tool. A 2005 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that 40 percent of human resource professionals had increased the time they spent checking references since 2002, and 52 percent said they use professional background checkers to do it.

Some common falsehoods that trigger dismissals include claiming a degree from a school not attended, inflating a grade point average, claiming to perform functions or skills that one did not do, exaggerating ones’ role in accomplishments, inflating salaries and mischaracterizing why one left jobs.

It is not just new hires that get caught: many companies have a policy to fire employees caught lying on their applications -- even if the liar has worked well for them for years. It doesn’t matter how high you go: every month or so the business papers tell of another lying executive on his way out. Recently it was the Chief Information Officer at Cabot Microelectronics Corp. who resigned after the University of Pittsburg denied his claim that he had taken a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the school. Other examples of people fired for lying include George O’Leary, ex-Notre Dames football coach and David Edmunson a former president of Radio Shack. James Minder a former chairman of gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson was also fired when it was discovered that he had omitted to mention his convictions for armed robbery on his resume.

You may wonder why getting caught lying is such a big deal. The business world relies on trust. If you lie on your resume and get caught, trust is lost: how can the employer know when you are or are not telling the truth? Another good reason not to lie is that liars know they have lied and will always be uneasily waiting to see whether or not the lie is found out. If the lie is found out that’s not the end of the problem. The liar now has two additional problems: he or she now must look for a new job and explain why they left the last one. That’s a difficult question to answer: how would you tell the interviewer it was because you lied on your resume?

If you are worried about your qualifications for the position, there is no need for lying: there are perfectly legitimate ways to position your credentials -- for example, your lack of relevant skills -- and still win an interview and the job. You may not have the specific skills asked for in the ad, but you can mention related skills and that you are a quick learner. Or if you did the work of a more senior position without having the title to go with it, a linking phrase like “functioned as” tells the truth without landing you in the kind of trouble that can kill your career.

If you still think your resume looks thin, consult a professional resume writer. Often people don't recognize or properly assess the skills they have, nor how those skills may be presented to win jobs.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Cunningham is a Certified Professional Resume Writer based in Vancouver, Canada.