Ever lied on a resume to get a better job? If so, you’re not alone. These people share what happened after they ‘exaggerated’ their resumes. Content has been edited for clarity.
“I Said I Spoke Spanish”
“I said I spoke Spanish on my resume. They never asked about the fluency part in the interview. They asked how long I had been speaking and I said since 7th grade (which is technically true because that’s when I took my first class). And, then I had kitchen jobs all through high school and university. So, I spoke really good ‘kitchen Spanish’ —which is to say I could order food and tell the cooks how to prepare it, and generally insult them.
So, I got hired. We were a graphic design house in the early 90s in Texas and we had a single Mexican account.
One day my co-worker called me over, ‘Hey! These guys don’t speak English. Can you talk to them please?’
Then she handed me the phone.
I thought, ‘Uh-oh.’ But I grabbed the phone, and said, ‘Bueno?’
The client started chatting to me in Spanish, which was unintelligible to me. I pretended to understand, saying, ‘Ahhhh…sí sí.’
And then there was silence. It was now my time to respond. So I said, ‘Bien, Bien…¿Con permiso? Ah…Yo tengo solo pequeño español del cocina a la restaurante. No intiendo nada de este conversacion.’
I then turned to my co-workers and said, ‘Hey guys! Looks like this will take a while. You want me to just let you know what they say?’
Somehow I managed to get out of the room unscathed and un-exposed. But, I also never got another Spanish call. Maybe they knew and just liked my dazzling personality.”
“I was working at a Target Warehouse and they asked me if I had a forklift certification. I told them yes. Mind you, I had minimal experience with one. I had just watched a couple of YouTube videos to figure out what each handle did. So they called me in a couple of days after I got the job to ‘qualify’ on a forklift.
When I got there, they asked me to grab a pallet off the top row and swap it out with a lighter pallet that was lighter in weight. I was nervous. I didn’t do all that great but it wasn’t the worst either. The only thing I wasn’t used to is rear steering.
I got the job but got fired a couple of months later for missing time. I wasn’t stressed because it was a seasonal position.”
She Failed The Training 5 Times
“A former co-worker (we’ll call her ‘Red’) was basically a secretary in another department in this government agency for over a year and she liked the position, but somehow Red applied for a technical position within the agency (a position that paid a lot more than her secretary position). In her resume, she put down that she had years of technical experience. The manager, James, kinda knew of Red and knew she didn’t have the experience but still hired her.
Part of our training is to be sent to technical training for 3 months. The first class is absolutely math heavy…she failed it. The second class was sorta math heavy…she failed. The third class was basic electronic principles…she failed. The fourth class was basic wiring and circuits…she failed. The fifth class was basic troubleshooting…she failed. And the sixth class was basic networking…she failed. Any other new hire would probably have been fired, but since Red was already in the agency and not a new hire, she was given remedial training back at her home station. It took Red 4 extra tries to pass the FIRST class. In between retaking the class, she was taken out to the field to learn about equipment. She couldn’t understand the basic concepts of our equipment or even try. When we asked Red to check the reading on a certain meter, she couldn’t find the meter…even though it was right in front of her.
When it was time to start the second class, she said no and started looking for another job with another agency. An investigation was launched on Red’s resume. While HR and management did their investigation, she basically sat in the office and did nothing. It was during this time, she was looking for another government position elsewhere.
When the manager tried to fire Red for incompetence, the union supported Red saying she can’t be fired because she had already passed her probation period and she hasn’t caused any damage to the equipment. And since the manager did not write her up previously, he has no evidence of negative performance.
When management questioned Red about her resume, she was advised by the union not to answer any questions. An agreement was reached between the Union and management that since she was moving to another position within the government and leaving our agency soon, no administrative action would be taken on Red.”
He Lied Not Only On His Resume But Also His Business Cards
“The field I work in is mainly experience-based pay/ commission, which even then is decided by your experience. At about the age of 20, I started with zero experience making 400 a week. For 3 months, I picked up what I could and started to apply at different places. I found a long-time company that went out of business recently and said I worked there for 5 years. No way they could verify unless they knew someone there personally. I was then hired on for 1200 a week. I learned enough in my first job to be able to play off having more experience. When it came time to make business cards, I had them put I was in a much higher position on the card than I actually was in reality, saying that it would help me bring in more employees if they thought they were being referred by a manager. The company liked that idea.
Right away, I set up interviews with other companies for managing positions and used my new business cards to show I had the position and just wanted to work closer to home (that part was true). Within a week had an offer closer to home for an 8-3 job paying 1500 a week plus a bonus at the end of every month. Stayed there for two months. One of the former managers was friends with the current owner and he would swing by now and then. Turns out he started his own company and he said he wanted me on the team after watching my numbers and how I handled any problems that arose with customers. Was offered slightly less than 1500 but a significantly higher commission, a choice of a company vehicle of up to $40k (any new car I wanted) same 8-3 hours with the ability to have two half days a week (leaving at lunch) and the location was literally 1.2 miles down the road from my house. And because of the large commission, my weekly checks came out over 2k almost every week, but never below 1500 of my previous job.
So yea I would recommend it, lying hurt no one, my actual work was valued enough after a certain point to be sought after, and within a year I quintupled my earnings.
“I have a long-time friend who lied to get a job coding new software for a major corporation. She already worked for the company in another department not related to IT, however, she once helped design that department’s internal ‘webpage’. When she saw the IT position posted and the huge pay increase, she figured, ‘I can do that. Why not?’
She BS’d her way through the interviews and got the job and the hiring manager (who was female, btw) was so enthusiastic about her being in the team because my friend would become the only other female on the team in a heavily male-dominated field.
So it is best now to share a little background on my friend’s computer experience…. she had never coded before. All she did was help create an internal website for her old department, which was more like a newsletter, using website creation templates she found online.
So after they hired her, they told her that she would go to a two-week long training in another city to bring her and her teammates up to speed on the software projects she would be working on. So she figured she would learn everything about coding during that training.
You can imagine how excited she was. Not only did she get the job but they are paying for her training while she stays at a nice hotel in a nice city and eat for free. She had never been on a business trip before. Never made the pay she was going to make before. Plus this was a higher-profile position she was in.
The first day of training was mostly a meet and greet. The second day was mostly company policies and the agenda of the training. The third day was when it all went to hell. When she was given the source materials, it was like she was reading an alien language. She said she stared at a blank computer screen that had nothing but a blinking cursor for about half an hour while her team members were typing all kinds of letters, numbers, and symbols she was not familiar with. It became obvious that everybody there had already had experience with coding. She had zero. Not even at the basic level.
She told the instructor she was not feeling well and excused herself. She spend another half hour in the bathroom wondering what she got herself into. When she finally got herself together and returned to the conference room, things had not gotten better. Now the team members were collaborating on their work and she said they were talking about things and using computer jargon she never heard of.
So she finally told the instructor that she was not feeling better and had to leave for the day. She went to her hotel room and immediately packed her bags.
The next morning she went to the conference room and asked to speak to the hiring manager (the same woman that hired her) in private. She told her that she was in over her head and she could not do the work. The manager was still supportive thinking that she was just nervous because she was the only other female there. My friend had to pretty much admit that she was unqualified and had absolutely no experience with any of the material that they were training on. She said the look on that woman’s face is one she will never forget. It was not just a look of disappointment…but also a look of disgust.
To this day she thank God that they paid for her return flight home.
She found another job doing what she previously did and because of that experience, she stayed in that position and did not apply for anything else for almost 7 years.”
“I may, or may not, have ‘exaggerated’ my experience in C++ when applying for a job looking for C and C++. I had done plenty of C but in reality, I had just read the Stroustrup book with no practical experience. In the tech interview I locked horns with one of the existing developers over some things they were claiming were reasons to not develop in C++ but which were marginal at best. Didn’t expect to get the offer, but did.
Came in on my first day (Monday) to find that that developer had simply left their resignation letter on the boss’s desk on Friday evening. Apparently, I had been hired over their strenuous objections. They left a lot of stuff it what was now my desk which they never picked up. Turned out that the dev wasn’t popular at all and my boss was actually glad to be rid of them.
And the main reason they were so adamant about not hiring me was that their code was total shit and apparently they knew it. The person I was replacing had quit in disgust several weeks before. Now we had to hire another dev. Between the two of us, we rewrote the entire application cutting the executable size to less than a quarter of what it was and speeding up execution by a factor of ~10 (tasks that were taking 10s were now taking <1s).
Four years later, I was team lead and we re-did the application as a Java-based web app.”
Professional Photographer With Zero Experience
“Well, I wanted to be a photographer but didn’t have any people I could shoot. I was in a new town, knew nobody, and had zero experience. So I put out ads for free engagement photos from a ‘professional photographer who was switching fields.’
I figured, what could the harm be if it was free…If they hated the photos, they could just pay someone for a real session.
So I actually got a couple to respond. I showed up to the shoot, and they were BOTH drop-dead gorgeous. And I realized I would never get another chance like this again. So I shot EVERYTHING. I think in a 2-hour shoot, I ended up with something like 12,000 photos on 6 SD cards. I was so concerned about focus, that I would literally put the camera on burst mode, and shoot off like 30 photos as I manually turned the focus ring thru its full arc so that at least one of them would be in focus. I was shooting from in the ocean, climbing cliffs, full sniper mode in the sand…I was relentless.
Then I spent 3 straight weeks editing for like 12 hours a day, basically using these photos to teach myself Lightroom and Photoshop. I delivered 400 finished photos, and lo and behold, they loved them! I put those up on my website, was off to the races, and now eight years later it’s my career and I’ve done about 800-900 weddings.”