my boyfriend wants to lie on his resume — and his stepfather is encouraging it

A reader writes:

My boyfriend graduated from college this December, and despite having applied to hundreds of jobs in the past 7 months, he’s still unemployed. He’s been living with me during that time so I’ve been giving him tips that worked for me when I was job hunting and just generally trying to offer helpful encouragement.

This past weekend he went to visit his parents, and while he was there his stepdad suggested that he put on his resume that he had been working for him during these past few months. His stepfather owns his own business running background checks for other companies (and is the only employee), and while my boyfriend worked for him the summer before he started college and has listed that on his resume, he has not been working for him at all since. This worries me because everything I’ve read says that lying on your resume is a really bad thing to do (regardless of whether you have a chance of getting caught).

He has his stepfather listed as a reference (they have different last names and he isn’t married to my boyfriend’s mom, so there is no way for an employer to tell they are related) and I know his stepfather will lie for him, but I can’t help but think this is a huge mistake. I also worry that if an employer does a background check and looks for old W2s, they’ll see that he hasn’t worked there in 4 years, and realize he made up the more recent job experience at his stepdad’s company. My boyfriend disagrees though, and says that if it was wrong his stepdad wouldn’t have suggested it.

I wanted to get your opinion about this since you know so much about hiring practices and what things should and shouldn’t be done. I really want to discourage my boyfriend from doing this and even if he goes through with it (he hasn’t submitted this new resume anywhere yet) I want to have an idea of what will happen if he gets caught.

Oh, the irony that the stepfather runs a business doing background checks and verifying for other employers that people’s background is what they say it is, and yet is encouraging your boyfriend to do something that flies directly in the face of that.

No, your boyfriend should not do this. Because he could get caught, yes, and also because lying on your resume is a Big Deal.

If he’s caught, he’ll get permanently blackballed from whatever company catches him — and get fired if he’s already working there. And he’d trash his reputation with anyone else who heard about it. And that includes even friends of his, who he might think won’t care — but anyone with integrity is going to think twice about, say, recommending him for a job in the future, when his network could otherwise be a source of potential job leads for him. Plus, there’s the whole you losing respect for him thing, I’d assume.

Speaking of which, what’s up with him saying that if it were wrong, his stepfather wouldn’t have suggested it? Maybe we can write this off to inexperience causing him not to understand how the adult world works, but you should probably point out to him that deceiving someone in order to get something he wants is always wrong, and now that he’s an adult, he needs to do that kind of thinking for himself, not fall back on “my stepdad says it’s okay.”

{ 154 comments… read them below }


    Lying may be a sticky situation but on the other hand what is a long term unemployed person to do? NOBODY looks at you if you have been out of work for a really long time and that is just not fair. How would a prospective employer get your W2?

    1. Goosey Lucy*

      Sometimes, they ask for W-2s for background checks.

      I was unemployed for a long time. It can make you feel pretty desperate. :-\

      But, I still think this is a bad idea.

        1. Jamie*

          I’ve had to ask for proof of salary at a previous gig – paystub or W2 was fine. It definitely happens.

          I don’t think it should, I think it’s intrusive and wrong and past salary is no one else’s business – but it does happen all the time.

        2. 22dncr*

          I’ve had 16 jobs (including HR) in 2 States and never been asked for mine. I’ve only heard it used in something like Sales where they know the norm is to exaggerate your earnings.

    2. KellyK*

      In this situation, I’d say he could *start* working for his stepfather, even if it’s just a little part-time help, to shorten the resume gap.

      As far as how the next employer would get the W-2, I believe some of them ask for them, or a paystub, to verify salary. (Not that they *should,* but they do.)

      1. Lydia Pinkham*

        I know it’s not uncommon, but I find all this emphasis on past salaries extremely intrusive. So many factors go into what makes a salary acceptable that the actual number is irrelevant. Alison, do you see this changing any time soon?

      2. Victoria Nonprofit*

        Yeah, why doesn’t he do some work for his stepfather? That sounds like a good solution here!

  2. Anonymous*

    Not to suggest that lying on the resume is ok, but to the best of my knowledge potential employers have no way of getting their hands on old W2s. They certainly can’t get them from the IRS. So all background check agencies can do to verify employment is call the employers you have listed on your resume.

    1. Brett*

      Form 4506-T.

      My employer requires one for the last three years as part of the conditional offer background check. It still requires your permission, but if you don’t give your permission you fail the background check and the conditional offer is revoked.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      As others have noted above, they’re not infrequently requested as part of a background check, in order to verify your salary. Even worse, they’re sometimes not requested until after you’ve accepted the job — meaning that you can then get your offer yanked if you can’t produce them.

      1. Brett*

        As a sidenote to that, you can always file a 4506-T for yourself if you are missing any W-2 or 1099 forms from previous years. That will allow you to get up to 10 years worth of previously filed W-2s and 1099s and four years worth of full tax returns.

  3. Jamie*

    On an emotional level I get the impulse – getting desperate and nothing working and so it’s easy to start to rationalize. But things like this are such a slippery slope and a really bad idea.

    Your ethics and how you conduct yourself are all you have at this stage of the game, with no experience or achievements to stand on, and on a practical level I believe in whatever law of bad luck that says the second you lie about this the next 900 job offers will request a previous W-2.

    Just don’t. Everyone has been tempted to do something shady at some time in their lives, but this is just a bad idea.

    7 months must seem like forever when you’re unemployed, and I’m not minimizing that…but in this economy it’s certainly not unheard of (esp for a recent grad) and he can do this without lying.

    Hundreds of resumes and how many interviews? If the ratio isn’t high if it were someone I love I’d recommend they re-evaluate the types of positions for which they are applying, work on creating great cover letters for each specific job, and double, triple check the resume to make sure it’s good…then check it again.

    Much better than lying.

    1. Tina*

      “Hundreds of resumes and how many interviews? If the ratio isn’t high if it were someone I love I’d recommend they re-evaluate the types of positions for which they are applying, work on creating great cover letters for each specific job, and double, triple check the resume to make sure it’s good…then check it again.”

      THIS! I think Alison has a post somewhere about how if you think your resume/letter are perfect but you’re not hearing anything, then you’re probably wrong.

      1. rebecca*

        He hasnt had a single interview so far, one person sent a form rejection email (for a cashier job at Target), but otherwise he’s had zero responses. I think thats a huge part of what’s fueling his desperaton.

        I printed out a lot of the entries on cover letters and resumes from here, as they were super helpful to me when I was job hunting a year ago. He completely redid his resume recently and has been working on making solid, quality cover letter but his writing skills aren’t great so it’s still a work in progress. His high school had terrible English teachers, he didn’t learn English until sometime in Elementary school, and in college he majored in Chem (our school doesn’t leave a lot of room for taking classes outside your major) so he’s really struggling to get his writing up to par.

        I peer edit all of his cover letters before he sends them and they’ve gotten really good but he still doesn’t get any responses. I’m sure it just takes time but I think he’s overwhelmed by the idea that he’ll never get hired.

    2. Chinook*

      I was thinking that, if boyfriend sent out 100s of resumes and didn’t get many interviews, the OP may want to give him a surprise gift of the $99 service AAM is offering to review the resume. This way, he can get a 3rd party to help him out without the ethical dilemma.

        1. Recent Diabetic*

          Part of my feedback to a rejected candidate included a link to AAM. I am hoping that I just helped someone out.

    3. Del*

      This. Seven months as a new grad really is not surprising. If he’s not getting any bites he may want to look at applying for retail just to fill the time (and retail is surprisingly good for soft skills – valuable for future employment!) which will also resolve this ’employment gap’ issue.

  4. Brett*

    This seems like an exceptional risk for the stepdad. If he gets caught giving a false reference… when his business is doing background checks?

    1. Jamie*

      Agreed – he’s probably banking on the fact that there is a pretty low level of risk in getting caught.

      1. Bean*

        If the stepdad runs a business conducting background checks, then maybe he knows that OP’s boyfriend will more than likely not get caught during a background check? I definitely do not think this is the way to go, however.

        1. Chinook*

          I would agree – step-dad probably knows what to say not to raise red flags on any background checks but I, for one, want to know the name of his company so I never, ever use it. If he is willing to help family, I do wonder if he does the same for friends, blood relatives, or even strangers under the right circumstances.

    2. FormerManager*

      I was thinking the same…this could come back to bite stepdad if word gets out in his field.

      1. Jessa*

        That’s what I was thinking, I would NEVER hire this guy. Heck if he has his own company and there’s work, why NOT hire the son, even part time. That makes it the TRUTH that he works for him.


    Again, what is the long term unemployed to do? This guy just out of school will be ok with some reevaluation. Long term needs some help.

    1. Amanda H*

      I imagine it’s what Alison has recommended elsewhere–volunteer to get some more recent experience (or take on contract jobs, if possible) and network. A lot.

      Side note: I have a cousin who had been out of work for years (and, to my mind, unmotivated) but she did eventually do some volunteer work in her field, and it has finally led to a full-time job for her, with the same org she volunteered at. She starts this week, IIRC. So it can work!

      If you’re job hunting right now, best of luck!

      1. WWWONKA*

        I have been doing volunteer work but in another area, there is no volunteer work in my field.

        1. dejavu2*

          Sometimes where you’re volunteering can become your field. That’s how I got into fundraising.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          You can still gain skills/look busy doing that, though. There are a TON of transferable skills in most jobs or volunteer work. Organization, dealing with clients/customers, account reconciliation, supply inventory….

    2. Del*

      Lying is still not the right answer. ESPECIALLY lying in such a way that guarantees the unemployment hole will be much deeper and harder to get out of if caught.

      1. Chinook*

        Just imagine how you would answer the question “so, why did you leave your last job?” after you have been fired from a company for lying on your application and/or resume. And, regardless of how smooth your answer is, you can count on them calling the company that found out the truth and not only will that blackball you but probably your step-father’s company as well.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, really. If it happened after a couple of months, I suppose you could leave it off your resume, but what if they didn’t find out for several years? You’d be screwed without a kiss.

  6. Bean*

    Has he had any interviews to go along with those hundreds of job applications? If not, there is most likely something wrong with his cover letter or resume, or he is not qualified for the jobs he is applying for. I think that instead of putting all of this effort into fabricating a work history, he should spend time reevaluating his resume and cover letter (the good news is that Alison is offering her resume review service this week!)

  7. AF*

    Sorry to be the one to point this out, but I just wanted to tell the OP to protect herself. She is also presumably young as well, and I worry about her well-being if her boyfriend is living with her (possibly for free?), not doing any work whatsoever (unless he is and she just didn’t mention it), and thinks it’s okay to lie on a resume. I don’t want her to find herself in a bad situation.

    1. Chinook*

      I am giving the OP the benefit of the doubt here that she has somethign worked out with bf about their living arrangements. Speaking as one who has been unemployed repeatedly due to moving for DH’s job, the job-searching S.O. can/should be the “housewife” (gender and marital status not implied, only the job description). If someone is home full-time, there is a lot you can do to save money and be an asset in the household. For example: cooking from scratching, bargain hunting, coupon clipping, making sure the house is super, duper clean.

      I am old-fashioned in that I beleive that, if you don’t have children and you are the stay-at-home person, your house should be clean and dinner on the table when the other person gets home. Also, the money-earner shouldn’t have to do more than clean up after themselves and not be a pig. This is called splitting household repsonsibilities.

      1. AF*

        Excellent point. And of course I didn’t want to assume anything, but this lying thing is kind of a red flag.

      2. EE*

        This was me up until recently. I cooked lots of delicious meals, started making salad dressing from scratch, did necessary shopping for our new household, but oh, I was BAD at ironing and mopping. Now we’re back to a two-income household we outsource ironing shirts once more!

      3. Kat M*

        When my husband and I got married 3 years ago, I was working from 7-4 and going to school from 6-10. He was a new grad, and unemployed for around a year except for a stint with the census.

        My life consisted of work and study and more study and more work. But for that one stressful year, I never cooked a meal or cleaned a toilet. And I was So Dang Grateful to be able to have that focus while my husband took care of the home.

        Now he works full time, which gives us enough stability that I can freelance. So I’m on laundry and toilet duty now, but it’s worth it for the chance to build the career I’ve always wanted!

      4. Rebecca*

        Yep, he does all the cooking and packs me lunches and helps me with errands. We had been briefly long distance (I moved to find jobs in a better economy out of state) and I wanted him to live with me and I wanted him to have a chance at better job options elsewhere, so we thought it would be a good arrangement. Aside from this resume lying issue everything has been splendid (and has been for the 2 years we’ve been dating) which is why I was so shocked when he was talking about doing this.

    2. BCW*

      This is like the post below about how the guy may not be trustworthy in a relationship. I don’t see how this behavior is something that throws up red flags that the OP needs to protect herself. Really? Because in a bad economy he hasn’t found work is living with her, and is trying to find a job, then apparently he is a bad guy from who she needs protection? I mean we are branding this guy a lot of stuff from one simple question.

      1. Min*

        If a person is dishonest in one area of his life, it’s that much more likely that he’ll be dishonest in others. Integrity counts.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Relax; you know people here are always concerned for OPs and commenters’ well-being.

        People can and do make bad decisions, and that doesn’t necessarily brand them as bad people. But his seriously considering such a dishonest move, one that could have long-reaching repercussions in his career, would make me think twice about hitching my wagon to that star.

    3. Rebecca*

      I appreciate your concern but the reason I had sent in this question is because I was so surprised, as this is so out of character for him and I wanted to stop him before he did anything stupid. Before I started helping him with his job hunt he had exclusively received terrible or no information on how to look for jobs (both from relatives and from his college career counselor) and so he had no idea who to trust. He figured that since his stepdad runs background checks, and since he trusts his stepdad, that if he was suggesting he do that it must be an OK or recommended thing to do in this situation. I think he’s had a lot of trouble accepting that what his stepdad is suggesting is a bad idea, because he doesn’t think of his stepdad as someone that would tell him to do something wrong.

  8. fposte*

    I’m also not sure that this would gain the guy that much. He’s a new college grad; it’s not unusual for new college grads to be job-hunting rather than job-holding, so I don’t think that’s being held much against him, and I don’t think going back to your former summer job is going to make a big difference to a prospective employer. My guess is that he needs to punch up his resume and cover letter and/or to reexamine the fit between his qualifications and what he’s applying for and to stop worrying about lying his way out of a situation that isn’t really his current obstacle.

    1. Kit M.*

      Yeah, I’d bet that it wouldn’t actually make a difference, and that there’s a lot of other not-dishonest things he could do that would be much more likely to help him.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, I was wondering what was to be gained by lying about this job. A few months’ work, really???
      I have to chuckle- all the BF needs is ONE interviewer who used to do this work ask the BF a complex question about the work. When BF can’t answer it the interview is over.

      Additionally, the dad is putting his biz in jeopardy by lying. His biz is supposed to be a source of truthful information. One person figures out dad lied and all of dad’s work is going to come into question. What else did he lie about.

      Hundreds of jobs in seven months??? Make him read AAM regularly. Tell him insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  9. My2Cents*

    The other side of this coin, cynical as it is, would be that doing this gives each of them the power to cause problems for the other down the road. Boyfriend gets mad at stepdad and has nothing to lose? “Stepdad/owner of this company lied,” end of credibility. Vice versa, stepdad and mom divorce? “Stepson lied,” twisted to minimize stepdad’s culpability, stepson fired and blackballed. I never want to hand that much power over to someone else – anyone else.

    And, the boyfriend may someday want a job that requires him to pass a polygraph, i.e. law enforcement or some form of public sector work. Instant fail.

    1. TL*

      Meh, polygraphs are only 60% accurate. And if boyfriend is a good liar, he can pass while lying. I know several people who can deliberately lie and still pass.

      1. Ash*

        You can also still tell the truth and fail because you’re giving out indicators that you’re lying. If you’re very nervous, stressed, or unclear in your answers, all of that can affect the pass/fail.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yep, because they measure stress responses. And being questioned by law enforcement is very stressful, whether you’re telling the truth or not.

        1. TL*

          They’re ridiculous and not very accurate.

          I don’t know if they’re taken weighted that heavily in the security clearance process but I imagine a lot of people in those processes are very good at keeping their cool.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I can’t speak to that, but regardless, the bigger issue will be if he’s asked to verify the employment by producing W2s or tax returns, and the lie is discovered.

      2. Brett*

        Polygraph testing is more complicated than that though. The guy giving you the polygraph already has a copy of your background investigation. If you pass the machine with deliberate lies that he knows are lies, you are going to end up failing your background. Lying is always the worst thing you can do in a background interview, with or without a polygraph.

  10. some1*

    Not only should your BF not lie about his work history on his resume with his step-dad’s blessing, but your BF should not list his step-dad as a reference. Even though he’s not married to your BF’s mom, that’s obviously a close family relationship if he refers to him as such.

    I did clerical work at my aunt’s insurance office during the summers in high school, and I listed her as my manager on my work history (because she was), but I never included her as a reference because she’s a family member.

    1. Jamie*

      I assumed the step-dad was divorced from his mom – but the relationship remained.

      My husband is technically the step dad to my kids, but he raised them and if I were to leave him tomorrow he’d still be their dad.

      And my kids do what you did – I was their manager at times when they worked at my company for me, but for reference they give either HR or the owner…because as I’ve told them no one will give any credence to a reference from someone who is also your emergency contact. And mom.

      1. some1*

        “I assumed the step-dad was divorced from his mom – but the relationship remained.”

        I assumed they have never been married, just live together as husband and wife for a long time, and he is probably referred to as a step-dad out of convenience of parlance. The LW states “we visited his parents last weekend”.

      2. Rebecca*

        So they’ve never married. They’ve been together for 5 years and will get married eventually but aren’t now and so have never had the same name. He has other great references that I’ve talked him into listing instead, he didn’t realize that listing his stepdad would look bad because he figured no one would ever know (he’s not his emergency contact and there is no record anywhere of him being his stepdad, he’s not adopted or anything). The company has no HR, his stepdad is the sole employee so he was the only one to list.

    2. BCW*

      If this is his only “professional” work, he kind of has to list him as a professional reference, since it would have been his only manager. In that case, I don’t think its the worst thing to not necessarily bring up that he is the step father. If asked, yeah, you can mention it, but don’t bring it up.

      1. some1*

        He doesn’t *have to* list him as a reference. Your references can be whomever you want. In a work history he should definitely list the step-dad as the manager at this job, but I think list former co-workers would be better than listing a close relative.

        1. BCW*

          But how many times on this blog is it mentioned that NOT listing former managers as a reference is also a red flag? Maybe its not the best thing to offer him as a reference unless they ask, but if they do, he probably should do it and not mention their relationship.

          1. Natalie*

            Seems to me it would be better to just say that this particular former manager is a family member. It’s the truth and it explains why he isn’t listed as a reference.

  11. Del*

    I’d like to echo the question above — why DOESN’T your boyfriend work for his stepdad again for a while, with the clear understanding and blessing on his job-hunt continuing? It would give him at least something of an income, and he would be able to provide evidence that he is currently employed (a major bonus on the job hunt), AND no one would have to be telling career-jeopardizing lies.

    1. Jamie*

      We have no idea what the step-dad is pulling in – he doesn’t have any employees so either the work doesn’t justify paying someone else or he’s not making enough to bring someone else on.

      It’s free to offer to lie for someone, it costs money to employ them.

      And I realize I’m making all kinds of suppositions without any data…I just can’t imagine one person doing that on his own is bringing in a lot of cash. I could be wrong though – maybe it’s super lucrative and it will be my next career.

      1. Del*

        That’s a good point, and I’m not familiar enough with employment law (or where the OP’s boyfriend and the stepdad live, for that matter) to know whether there would be a way to spin on-paper employment without offering minimum wage, but I still feel like there are potential solutions here that don’t involve jeopardizing both their futures with falsehoods.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Volunteer for his step-dad’s business and put that down on the resume? That’s the only loophole I’m seeing here to be able to put the work on the resume if step-dad can’t actually pay right now.

          1. Del*

            Or find a way to call it an internship, potentially. After all, if the main purpose here is to make it clear that the boyfriend isn’t spending his time sitting on the couch eating cheetos, then fitting the “shouldn’t be doing substantial work for the business” requirement should be pretty easy to manage.

      2. Chinook*

        Also, we don’t know where step-dad leaves in relatino to the boyfriend. After all, OP mentions he went away to visit them. I know I could always count on working for my Mom when I visit her (and have learned the hard way not to arrive on the 23rd of December if I don’t want to work retail on the 24th), but it is not practical because she lives (only) 500 km away.

        1. some1*

          She just said wrote that they “went to” visit them, not “away to visit”. They could live in the same town or area and just not see each other that much.

        2. Rebecca*

          Sorry that wasn’t clear, his parents live out of state he took a bus to visit them. It wouldn’t be practical (or affordable) for him to be going back and forth.

    2. Rebecca*

      We’ll initially it was because we didn’t realize it would take him so long to find a job. The economy where he’s from is a disaster, all that’s left are a few fast food restaurants, most of which are slowly going out of business. His mom just lost his job (she was a temp at a call center) and his dad’s business is failing because if no one is hiring no one is doing background checks (many of his clients haven’t paid him in over a year, he would absolutely not be able to provide an income for my boyfriend if he worked for him). I moved away for a job in a different state with a better economy and we were long distance for about 5 months. Then he graduated (he started school late because he was working to pay for it*) and so I invited him to live with me to end the long distance and to give him access to a better economy.

      If he goes home, he would be working for his stepdad for free with no access to better jobs, because there are none. And the bus ticket to get back to where we currently live would be prohibitively expensive if he starts getting interviews.

      Also, his cover letters are a HUGE struggle for him, writing is not his skill set, and neither one of his parents are equipped to assist him with that (his dad has only ever worked at his own business, his mom was a temp and applies through her temp agencies and English is her second language). At the very least, if he lives with me I can help by sending him links to askamanager, peer editing his cover letters. I also have friends who pass on information about entry level job openings to me, and he wouldn’t have that resource back home.

      *If you’re wondering what he did before college, and why he can’t go back to that it was hard manual labor that he did from age 12-18. It was in a fairly sketchy environment and definitely broke some child labor laws and as a result he has severe knee pains and some back pains. It wouldn’t be wise for him to go back to that and he got the job through his father, who he is no longer in contact with (and who moved very far away) so he might not even be able to get that job again.

  12. Sandrine*

    Dear OP,

    If your boyfriend is willing to lie about THIS, what’s to say about his relationships with others, and, especially, you ?

    You’re the voice of reason in this whole thing. You could always point the BF to this very thread. Could be interesting.

    (Really, this is why I LOVE this blog. Alison & Co[mmenters, lol] are the voice of reason for me!)

    1. Jamie*

      While the lying is a bad idea, I don’t think there is necessarily a link between that and being untrustworthy in a personal relationship.

      He’s frustrated, he’s probably getting desperate to contribute to the household they share and in those situations people can rationalize all kinds of bad ideas. Or he could be a jerk who lies to everyone just for sport …point being I don’t think this is indicative of his honesty or sense of loyalty in his personal life either way.

      1. Anonymous*

        While the lying is a bad idea, I don’t think there is necessarily a link between that and being untrustworthy in a personal relationship.

        Oh, the irony…

        1. Jamie*

          How is that ironic?

          There are people every day who lie to their bosses: calling in sick when they just want to spend the day eating Cheetos on the couch, claim a flat tire is why they were late when they really just over slept, and like the other thread – sometimes say they have a medical appointment when it’s really a job interview, and yes – pad their resumes.

          It’s not ideal, certainly, and in a perfect world we’d all be paragons of honesty 100% of the time, but a lot of people who do those things are also good spouses, partners, parents, and friends.

          If that’s the standard then I’m afraid a pretty big segment of the population should be left by their loved ones.

          It’s wrong – but it is possible to contemplate lying to what are now total strangers when sending out a resume, but not even think about doing the same to the person you live with and love.

          1. fposte*

            And it goes with the research about honesty–people really are very situational, so behavior in one situation doesn’t actually predict behavior in another. The woman who brings post-its home from work is not necessarily an adulteress in the making.

          2. Ruffingit*

            Absolutely agreed. Willingness to lie situationally does not equate to being untrustworthy in other areas of life. There is not a single person among us who hasn’t lied about something. Doesn’t mean we’re all hot beds of deceit.

          3. Gilbey*

            Jamie I agree.

            My husband is just shy one class for his GED. He has not applied for many jobs that require the GED because lying is not his thing.

            I helped write his resume and his resume depicts everything he has done factually. Nothing is fabricated or even a little blown out of proportion.

            He is 45 and has had an excellent job history but has gotten laid off twice. References are all great with the supervisors offering to give them.

            So, does he apply for job that wants a HS dilpoma or not? If they don’t ask on a app or even in the interview does he just take the job if offered? Just asking…..

            Does that lie depict his overall honesty or just a desperate attempt to be employed?

            I see more of a problem with the liars to get out of work for the day, lying on production sheets and lying on the job duties they have done.

            I am NOT condoning lying just so people know. And again we have avoided sending out resumes because of it.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Just curious, but why doesn’t he just take the class or test out of it and get the GED? At least it will be done and he can forget about it. And he won’t be limited to jobs that don’t require it.

            2. Jamie*

              I don’t think this is an either/or with lying, though.

              The job I have now wanted a degree I don’t have – but I didn’t lie when I sent in my resume. I just explained in my cover letter why based on my past experiences I thought it would be a good fit.

              He can still apply for jobs without the GED and not lie – just not bring it up. It may very well not matter if he has the other experience they are looking for.

          4. Fee*


            Honesty is my top priority and yet I have done exactly what the OP’s boyfriend is contemplating. Granted I wasn’t a graduate; to get a temp job on a summer abroad between 1st & 2nd year college I said I had worked in a similar business that my aunt ran at the time. If I hadn’t I would have literally been submitting a blank application form. It was in a different country and I figured they probably wouldn’t check (in fact I was so naive I’m not even sure I warned her that they might). I certainly wouldn’t do it now but at 18 I saw it as a essentially a victimless crime. And dammit, I made those sandwiches all summer like it really mattered :)

            I understand this is not advisable but I think to imply that contemplating it makes OP’s boyfriend a lyin’ cheatin’ ne’er-do-well is a bit much.

        2. TL*

          Yeah, I lie all the time to people about how cute their kids are or how funny their cat poop stories are (they aren’t, they really, really aren’t) but I wouldn’t commit fraud.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Yes, exactly. It’s like saying the person who takes a pen from the office would also be willing to embezzle. It just doesn’t equate.

          2. Tasha*

            Agreed. People draw lines between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, even if they aren’t always the same around “small” things. I’ve gone so far as to return a pen (which I didn’t know I’d taken) to a coffee shop the next day because it was basically burning a hole in my pocket. However, I have no problem telling the hosts of a highly tedious party that I had a great time.

            The OP’s boyfriend might think of falsifying his resume as a social “white lie” meant to showcase qualifications he thinks are excellent, when in fact it’s closer to a contractor fudging quality tests for a manufactured part.

    2. Chinook*

      Hey, in boyfriend’s defence, the lying wasn’t his idea. His step-father is showing a lack of character for suggesting it (and probably has some really good reasons for doing it) but the boyfriend is only just passing the idea by the OP. In fact, I bet there is a part of him that thinks it is a bad idea otherwise he could have done it without mentioning it.

      1. Rebecca*

        This is very true, before he went home for the weekend he had been applying to part time jobs and looking for side work (like dog walking) to fill the gap. It was his stepfathers idea, and he figured that if his stepdad suggested it it must be a common or accepted thing. He mentioned it to me because we’ve been talking about his job hunt a lot, he received a lot of bad information about how to apply for jobs (this was just the icing on the cake) and I’ve been helping him sift through that. I know he’s really found the askamanager links I’ve sent him useful and I wanted to get a professionals response to this problem because he was having a really really hard time understanding that his stepfather was suggesting he do something wrong.

    3. Rebecca*

      Hi, I’m the OP. I really really appreciate your concern and I see where you are coming from. It might help to understand that, before me, he had only ever received bad advice (and a lot of bad advice) about job hunting. No one talked about this to him growing up, he was the first to graduate high school (his stepdad graduated but neither one of his parents did), and the first to go to college. He didn’t learn English until sometime in Elementary school. There wasn’t really a lot of advice for how to be prepared to have an office job, or anything where you can work indoors but not flip burgers. And his career counselor in college gave him really terrible advice on cover letters and resumes.

      So he is running on bad advice, has been unemployed for 7 months, and is scared and confused and depressed and has no idea what to do. So when someone he trusts tells him to make a change on his resume, he does it, because why would his stepdad lead him astray? And who else does he have to turn to? I’ve been helping him by sending him relevant links to askamanger but I only just realized how bad the information he’d been given (and how many things he’d been doing wrong) recently and it’s a process of getting all the misinformation unravelled.

      And I will be emailing him this article, I think he’s having a hard time believing that his stepfather would ever give him advice that would truly be bad, and part of the reason I wrote to Alison is to show him a professional’s response, so he can see that this is a serious issue.

  13. Yup*

    Just to add a hypothetical wrinkle:

    What if the lie works? What if, due to listing non-existent work experience on his resume, your boyfriend gets hired somewhere? And then his new job wants him to perform a task and or use skills related to the job he claimed he held for seven months recently, that he actually held for three months over four years ago (ie, explain to someone how a background check is run under the brand new ZigZag rule, or something) He would have to sustain that one lie *for the entirety of his tenure at the new job and probably into the next one.* Because, as Alison stated, lying on his resume and application will probably get him fired. Which will then be part of his employment history — fired for lying on application — in future job searching.

    In addition to being unethical and unprofessional, this is a bad plan.

    1. Chinook*

      Good point about sustaining the lie. I once was given golden advice by interviewers when at a day long interview sessino to join an exchange program – don’t be anything but yourself because we are hiring and placing you with others based on what we see. If you pretend to be something just to get in, it is going to be a long and painful 9 months because we will not have placed you approriately.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I read some where that is the point of day long interviews to wear a person down so the interviewer can see what the person is really like. No faking on this interview for sure!

  14. HR lady*

    As an HR professional, I kind of want to know what the name of the reference checking firm is, so I can stay away from using them to check references. OP, I am just kidding about this – please don’t “out” the company – but seriously, this sounds like a big ethical breach on the part of the stepdad, given his business! (So, yes, I’m agreeing with the first sentence in AAM’s answer.)

  15. Rob Bird*

    What about a company that uses the step-father’s business to conduct background checks and hires this kid? If the company finds out the job seeker lied, this would most likely damage the step-fathers reputation.


    1. Rebecca*

      I’m the OP, and yes I imagine it would really damage his stepfathers reputation. His parents live in a different state than we do so it’s unlikely, but it still makes the stepdad look bad for suggesting it. I think he figured because he would be listing stuff he’d done before (the current things he was suggesting he add was stuff like filing, and researching and whatnot) that it would be ok but I still think it’s a terrible idea.

  16. Tiff*

    My suggestion would be to do some work for the step-dad and list it as volunteer work. Getting a little extra work experience couldn’t hurt, and it would clear his concience if he uses it on his resume.

    But I totally get where he is coming from. He’s feeling desperate, and all the morals in the world won’t pay bills. But he’s still got to live with himself and if he lies he’ll be looking over his shoulder.

  17. Mary*

    As for the W2; don’t companies issue that for employees? I have had an employer who would issue W2s to family members if they needed one to prove employment at her firm. The stepdad could probably do that. I am not saying it is right; but is has been done. I doubt if any potential employer will go to the IRS for verification of the W2.

    1. Ruffingit*

      There are any number of ways the OP’s boyfriend could potentially get away with this, but none of them are foolproof and he’s better off just not doing it at all. Sure, the step-dad could maybe issue a W2 or 1099 or some other employment document. Hell, boyfriend could make one on his computer if he was so inclined, but I would not want to be looking over my shoulder forever after wondering if I was going to be caught in my lie.

      The first letter in an old Dear Prudence column is about a woman who lied on her resume about a degree. She got away with it for more than 20 years, but then BAM! Caught! Just not worth the risk. Here’s the column for anyone interested:

      1. Mary*

        If the boyfriend uses a W2 for his job search and attains a job and experience; going forward, he will should not have to use his stepfather’s company ever again as a reference. If he does this once, he will not be ‘looking over his shoulder the rest of his life’.

        Lying about a degree is an entirely different issue and is easily proven true or false.

        1. Ruffingit*

          You don’t know that. Whether or not someone actually worked somewhere is provable should an employer ask for documentation and making up a W2 or 1099 for a place you never worked could come back to bite you. Will it? Don’t know, but I wouldn’t take the risk.

        2. Natalie*

          But there’s almost no chance that this lie will actually help the boyfriend. As others have pointed out, it’s pretty common to be unemployed immediately after graduating, and if the boyfriend isn’t getting any interviews that suggests something is wrong with his cover letter, resume, or the positions he’s applying to. Why on earth go through the effort of faking a W-2 and take a risk, however negligible, for what will likely be zero reward?

      2. Jazzy Red*

        On the other hand, Robert Irvine cooked up a bunch of false items on his resume, and his career is now going great guns after all the publicity he got.

        I wouldn’t do it, though, unless I was more desperate than I’ve ever been and had absolutely no resources.

  18. Anonymous*

    Surely it would be obvious he’s lying when he can’t produce a p45 or p60 from his last job (as in this imaginary job), and hasn’t been paying tax while supposedly working there. Unless he claims he was tax-dodging…

    1. Brightwanderer*

      Pretty sure those are UK-specific tax forms, so it’s not relevant here (assuming OP is in the US, as most questioners are).

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          Although I assume every country has some sort of document from the tax authorities confirming taxes paid, and these need to be provided during the job-hunting process.

  19. Pussyfooter*

    I’m in the “what the heck is wrong that he’s sending out *hundreds* of resumes and can’t get a response?” camp. Something’s not right with his job search:
    Is he getting interviews? is he getting at least 1:20 interviews per targeted employers? (My rates are higher, but I’m not in work that requires a college degree.) Has he gone to a community “job center” in his locale and checked what he was taught to do in school against what is actually in vogue outside academia? Contacted a couple professionals in his field for a critique of resume/cover letter?
    Does he tweak every letter/resume for one, specific job, using the same terms to describe his skills as the terms in the ad for that job? Start each example of what he accomplished at previous jobs/volunteerships with a verb (so readers can just scan at a glance without wondering where the statement is going)? and so on…
    If he’s not even getting interviews, then his cover letters/online image/resumes/or manner of contact are probably to blame.
    I also second the idea of volunteer work for the step-dad or another organization–while he figures out how he’s been coming off wrong to prospective employers. Tell him not to waste his time lying, as lack of current employment isn’t even the biggest red flag that you mentioned in the post. Not to mention it would burn both him and his step dad if either of them got caught.

    1. Rebecca*

      He hasn’t been getting interviews, although he’s been doing all the other things you suggested. His big issue is that his writing skills are not up to par, and a lot of the career centers (at his university, at our local library, etc.) have given him bad advice. I’ve been helping him because I’m actually pretty good at cover letter writing, and I have a whole booklet of printouts from this site that I gave him and that he’s been studying. His main issue is that he went to a really bad high school and his writing skills never reached the level that they should have. In college he majored in Chem and didn’t have room in his schedule for much else (he took a basic English course to try and help but he got a C despite much studying). His cover letters have gotten much better recently with my help (and with the advice from this site) but it’s still a work in progress.

  20. rw*

    I hire several previously long-term unemployed employees every year. What do they do that impresses me? They volunteer (either physically to the community or virtually to open-source projects), they learn languages (spoken or programming), they keep up-to-date with modern methodologies (either through certifications or documenting their self-studies), they write research papers or books (many sites exist for self-publishing), they continue their education (many colleges and communities offer low-cost non-credit courses), etc.

    There is no excuse for lying on your resume.

    1. Senor Poncho*

      Yes there are. They’re called bills.

      Not that having bills would be a good excuse, but it is an understandable one.

  21. Senor Poncho*

    With that caveat that everyone’s advice seems to be basically on point, I do think a couple things are getting a bit overblown, and I’d like to play devil’s advocate and/or offer up some of my own semi-random thoughts.

    First, at some point, a guy’s gotta make a buck to get by. Whether that means applying for lower-status work, lying on a resume, or whatever, one needs money. That is, after all, the primary (if not the only) reason why *most* people go to work every morning.

    Second, I think it’s safe to say that these days, the qualifications required for most low-level jobs (let’s say entry level and low-wage work) are far beyond what is actually needed to succeed at a particular job. Whether that’s due to over-reliance on hiring software, an oversupply of college grads, the inability of some older workers to retire, the lack of good HR folks, or whatever else, I don’t think that an absence of qualifications is as closely related to one’s ability to actually do well at a particular job as some comments here seem to imply. I’d also throw out the separate thought that most jobs — particularly entry level jobs and low-status jobs — just aren’t that difficult.

    Third, this may be peculiar to my industry, but sending out hundreds of applications and getting only a handful of interviews seems to me to be pretty standard among my peers. Perhaps it’s different for something a bit more in-demand than what I do, or maybe my peers are the anomaly, but I don’t view this guy’s situation as all that unusual.

    Fourth, I don’t think this is an ego situation, based on the vibe I’m getting from the OP. I think it’s more of a “damn the torpedoes, [I just need a job]” type frustration. I can empathize. I still wouldn’t recommend lying, but I can understand it (see my first point).

    Fifth, my advice to the guy would be to develop a hustle. By which I mean, have a plan to *just make money.* As much as I don’t think it’s an ego thing for this guy, I doubt he’s broadened his search to basic service sector stuff. I’ve mentally got the dude pegged down as someone who still thinks having a BA is going to get him a “better” job, but who lives in an environment of 50% underemployment/unemployment for young grads. I’d say apply to be a waiter, or a barista, or a substitute teacher, or a security guard, or whatever. Take a real estate salesman test, or a welding class at the JC, or try to get an apprenticeship. This goes back to number one, but just making money and getting any kind of work experience is going to make him happier, more confident, and probably more qualified. It’ll also probably break up the godawful monotony of applying to jobs and writing cover letters, give him the freedom to be a bit more choosy when professional job offers do eventually come along, and perhaps expose him to lines of work he hadn’t considered but might actually enjoy.

    Long comment, but figured I’d give my 2 cents for the day I guess.

    1. Senor Poncho*

      I should add that my first point — i.e., the necessity of making money — is also the reason why volunteering/interning is not a feasible solution for everyone.

    2. Chinook*

      While I agree 100% with he probably needs to open himself up service type jobs just to earn cash, I would like to point out that substitute teaching is not a good idea if you don’t have the training. I did it to support myself and, on a practical level, it is worse than being a temp because you would often be called an hour before you needed to be there, there is no guaranted work and stidents can smell fear and uncertainty and will eat newbies alive. Just think about what you and your friends did to subs. It can be very rewarding (I have fond memories of being the sub for a grade 6-8 band teacher on stress leave) and a good way to get your foot in the door. But, if you need money, work retail where atleast some of the people are happy to see you.

      1. Tiff*

        I think it depends – I substituted for a few years while I was finishing a degree and not really focused career wise. The money was horrible but it wasn’t any worse than other entry-level positions and 10 years later I’m still pulling on that experience. Being able to break concepts down on the fly helps in my line of work, and the classroom experience is especially helpful when I present in front of a large group. I figure if I can handle 32 rowdy smart mouth 16 yr olds, a crowd of 100+ reasonable adults is a piece of cake ~ after all, no one will jump up and yell YOLO in the middle of my presentation.

        1. Editor*

          I substituted about a decade and a half ago, and it was eye-opening. I discovered that there were aspects of teaching that I loved, but that I wasn’t observant enough to be really good at classroom management. I would not recommend substituting to a recent college graduate unless they’ve had some training. Methods of teaching, test preparation, and classroom technology have changed a lot, and stepping into the classroom is much more difficult now. The way that the teachers I know approach their lessons is much different post-NCLB.

    3. Rebecca*

      Hi, I’m the OP and I really appreciate your advice. He has been alternating his applications by doing one day for entry level jobs in his field, one day for entry level jobs in fields he thinks he has the skills for, two days for part time or temporary work (including fast food and waitressing and stacking boxes), and one day to contacting temp agencies and one day for working on his resumes and cover letters. Then he takes one day off to clear his mind and begins again. So far nothing has yielded an interview (his only response from an employer was a rejection from a sales assistant job at Target). I think his big issue with the entry level jobs is that he needs to work on his cover letters (he knows this, and is working on them but it takes time to develop writing skill if you’ve never been taught it before) and with the other jobs, well, the economy is terrible.

      There isn’t really a type of job he’d turn down. The only thing he’s ruled out is hard manual labor, because he did that from age 12-18 and it left him with really bad knee problems that he doesn’t want to make worse since he doesn’t have insurance. I think it’s common to assume recent grads are only looking for “better” jobs but he’s truly applying to a wide range of things and I think it’s fair that he’s ruled out one area that has caused him health issues.

  22. Gilbey*

    This is such a fitting post for me. I just went out dinner with a friend this past weekend. We were talking about our jobs and I had just updated my resume.

    I told her of the changes I made regarding what I do and she told me to write down I was a project manager. What??

    I am in no, way, shape or form a PM and nothing on my resume remotely indicates it. No I didn’t put it on my resume.

    Well I took a look at her Linked In resume and went… OK, I see what she is up to. Wow talk about stretching the truth.

    Knowing basically what she has done ( I worked with her at one job and know for a fact what she does in others), I read that resume and thought to myself if she really had to substantiate her claims she’d fall flat on her face.

    Her duties seem to be OK but all the rest of the resume with the skills and expertise, her specialites part and the summary part is a bunch of…

    She has 17 specialties listed and lists 20 of her skills and areas of expertise. Most of which was repeating in each section. No joke.

    I can’t believe she can’t see how bad her resume looks and that it is basically full of lies.

    She is saying she has supervisory exp and team building and doing budgets, business development and she has no actual background in any of it. No job duty to back it up.

    I will not be taking resume and interviewing advice from her!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Someone told me to fudge a job title on mine. I said no way; all it would have taken was a phone call to that employer:

      Prospective Boss: “I’m calling regarding Elizabeth’s position as a Monkey Wrangler at your firm. What? Oh, you don’t have a monkey wrangler position there? Well, then, what DID she do? Oh I see. Thank you.” *CLICK*

      *Resume immediately hits the round file*

      1. Gilbey*

        I actually put my job title as what it is…. and then put in ( ) a little better description.
        My title makes no sense. Think Chocolate Teapot Clerk in a office setting in a business that sells software. And say… and what does that even mean? So I put Chocolate Teapot assistant in the marketing dept next to it. Then list my duties below like a normal.

  23. voluptuousfire*

    I don’t blame the OP’s BF for wanting to lie on his resume. It’s tempting but if you’re feeling the weight of desperation on you, you’ll try almost anything to get that foothold.

    But again, a lot of people do put jobs on their resumes that they were paid in cash and didn’t pay taxes on. Things like babysitting/au pair work, tutoring, etc. I don’t necessarily think people pay taxes on jobs like that. And concerning background checks, most of the ones I went through were fairly short. Just calling of references and validating my degree via Sterling. None were more extensive than that. A fairy tale job like the OP’s boyfriend’s probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. I also think for a lot of businesses the effort needed to submit forms to the IRS to get a hold of old W-2’s would not be worth the trouble for the average employee. Once he got the foot in the door with the new company and gained some experience, he could easily drop the fake job off his resume. As it’s been stated here, your resume is a marketing document and you don’t need to include every job you’ve ever done.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Employers don’t get the forms from the IRS; the IRS won’t release them to anyone but the taxpayer anyway. Rather, they require the candidate to present them as part of a background check. This is actually pretty common, although certainly not everyone encounters it.

    2. fposte*

      Sure, desperation is understandable. But I will cynically say that if you’re going to lie, you should at least make it worth it. This is both wrong and unprofitable–double whammy. If I found out he was lying I’d fire him not just for lying but for lying stupidly.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Agreed. I describe this as “if you’re going to rob a place, make it the bank not the convenience store.” ;)

    3. MJ*

      Be careful about dropping questionable things from your resume.

      I’m a hiring manager at a large (Fortune 100) company. Our staffing system actually tracks a permanent record of every candidate, and it’s continuous since the first time we even spotted the candidate in passive sourcing activity (let alone those who actively apply). This means that when I review a candidate’s resume, I have access to every resume, cover letter, and even LinkedIn profile we ever saw for that candidate, going back many years. If something looks a little off to me in the current version, I *will* check it against old ones to see if something changed. And that can be a big red flag.

  24. Nicole*

    Beyond just getting caught, I’d think that this guy would have to be a pretty great liar to get away with discussing his “current” job duties and reason for leaving in an interview without it coming off as pretty awkward and suspicious.

  25. Elizabeth West*

    OP, your boyfriend is delusional if he thinks he won’t get caught in this day and age. And his stepfather is dishonest. This could backfire not only on your bf, but on the stepfather, whose business could be irreparably damaged if it comes out that he does BACKGROUND CHECKS and is lying. Guess who he would blame? Your boyfriend, for getting caught.

    No. Just no.

  26. Tara T.*

    There is no reason for the boyfriend to pretend he worked anywhere during the 7 months. He was studying for his degree the past 4 years, and just graduated. His job hunt has only been 7 months long. That is NOT a long time to be on a job hunt, especially for someone just out of college. He has absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. The suggestions of rw above are good suggestions, about doing volunteer work, learning languages, getting certificates, or spending the time in some other worthwhile way, while job hunting. But if he wants, he could always simply say that he has been job hunting the past 7 months since graduation and no one will think a thing of it. It is not long at all. Even people with a lot of experience are taking that long, and longer, to find jobs these days.

  27. rebecca*

    Thanks so much for answering my question! I think his reaction to his stepdad is because he figures that since he works doing background checks he would know if it was wrong, and since he suggested it it then it must be an acceptable thing to do. He never got much info about job growing up, he was the first in his immediate family (before his stepdad came along) to graduate from high school and the first in all his family to graduate from college and he’s been completely on his own in navigating the working world. Until his stepdad came along that is, and I think that’s why he’s taking his advice.

    I’m going to print out your response and show it to him, and hope that changes his mind. He’s never been the type of person to do something sketchy like this so I’m hoping he was just desperate for work, and too trusting of his stepfather and reading this will put some sense back into him.

    Thank you so much for your advice : )

    1. Editor*

      Could joining the American Chemical Society help him find job openings? I would suggest he try getting some informational interviews to answer this question — the annual dues are about $150, but chemistry is specialized and he’s have access to job listings, professional publications and so on. It might be worth his time to go to a convention or state meeting if interviews or networking can be done there.

      Could he talk to some people who run labs at hospitals and find out if he has skills that would be useful there? He would probably need a background in organic, plus some biology background. Maybe Jubilance would know more about places he could look.

      Also, there are some jobs that involve very little chemistry knowledge but might be stopgaps — water testing comes to mind, such as working for a municipality in a water or sewer plant. Look at municipal websites for listings.

      I hope he can find something now that he’s redoing his resume and so on. I have a couple of relatives who work for chemical companies or were chem engineers. I get the impression that these days, it helps to have a master’s degree. I would not recommend he try for a master’s program now, but try to find a job where he can either save enough for it or where he can go to school on the company dime. My relatives tell me chemists are hard to find, but I don’t recall if that’s a general problem or a problem of finding someone to fit a specialized niche.

      Is there a national temp agency that specializes in jobs related to chemistry and other science and engineering specialties?

      1. Rebecca*

        THanks so much. This is excellent advice. Right now he doesn’t have $150 but I have a 3 paycheck month in October so if he hasn’t found something by then I can help him out with this. I really like the idea of talking to people in hospitals and labs, I will definitely suggest it to him.

        The tricky thing about some of these jobs is that in our area a lot of them require a certificate to apply to them. Which is a problem because he cannot afford to pay for the testing to get the certificate, and I don’t think he should take out a loan for it because he already has 50k in loans (he put himself through college) and these jobs mostly pay $11 an hour. Which is a good wage but not so good if you are adding debt on top of more debt.

        There isn’t a temp agency that specializes in these things, but he is signed up with 4 temp agencies that focus on both science and administrative work (most of his work experience is in admin work), they just don’t have anything at the moment.

        1. Editor*

          Yes — health care tech positions seem to have added a lot of certifications in recent years, although not without cause.

          Another thing to consider is whether his search for jobs is unearthing the places that would be best for him. Can your librarian point him to a listing of chemical companies so he can look at their websites and unearth the site map and the page with job listings (sometimes that’s easy, sometimes it is not so easy if the website is more of a sales tool for the manufacturer). There used to be bound volumes that listed company specialties, such as the Thomas directories, so I would assume that a librarian could direct him to business directories that might help. If the librarian at the public library doesn’t know, he might be able to go in and use a local community college library during the day and find more help with professional directories, even if he isn’t enrolled. He won’t be able to take materials home, but everywhere I’ve lived, the community college libraries provided basic reference services to walk-ins and local residents.

  28. SougDhelton*

    I just got fired from a good job (for me) and I am tempted to lie on my new resume. The only thing that worries me is that the people doing the background checks can run your SSN can’t they?

    If you sign for a background check don’t they run a SSN check for employment and Credit?

  29. Tara T.*

    I think banks would run a credit check. However, from what I understand, the background check is to find out if the person had any criminal convictions. The employment check is usually only to check references, although the FBI or CIA might have something more extensive.

  30. shawn*

    There is no question of W2 or p45 or p 60 if your Boyfriend put down on his CV that he was we working as a freelancer.

  31. Susan*

    I disagree with this immensely. Lie, lie, lie. If I stated on an application that I didn’t graduate from high school I would have never gotten a job in my life.

    Once you’re in the position for a time and everyone knows you better and sees that you are competent, no one will care that you lied.

    At least, that’s my experience and I’ve had the same job for 15 years.

  32. Janelle*

    A wise man once told me “fake it till you make it”

    If you aren’t bluntly lying then you are exaggerating on your resume. 80% of resumes according to a study has one form of a lie or another.

    Yahoo’s ceo was a resume liar, if it took him to lie to get a ceo position and pay, I would do it too.

    Being unemployed and unable to pay for rents and whatnot legitimizes a lie… who wants to end up on the streets?

    I would say you should encourage him too and explain to him that he should slowly start making a real resume where he would be more and more honest but for now consider this a white lie.

Comments are closed.