We Asked People to Tell Us the Best Lies They've Put on Resumes

To get a job, you need experience. But to get experience, you need a job. See the problem here?

Images by Ben Thomson and Ashley Goodall

This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.

To get a job, you need experience. But to get experience, you need a job. See the problem? So do a lot of other people. According to new research from Xref, 42 percent of young Australians deliberately lie to potential employers about their skills and previous work experience. And we can't really blame them. But just how creative do these lies need to be in order to work? VICE asked some successful resume con artists how they did it.

Andrea, 34
Chef (Sort Of)

VICE: Hey Andrea, have you ever lied to get a job?
Andrea: Yep, when I first got to Australia I needed money and saw an ad on Gumtree saying, "We're looking for a guy who can cook and manage a small kitchen." So I went to the interview saying I've always worked in a busy kitchen and I was a cook back in Italy. All bullshit.

And they hired you?
Yeah, they didn't even let me have a proper trial shift. They just trusted me. I could cook a bit because I learned how to make homemade pasta watching my mum. But, to be honest, for the first five months, I used an Italian website to find recipes. I had to study all the things you need to know in a kitchen like food temperatures, how to stock the food properly.


Did you ever feel bad?
No because I actually got my ass down and worked fucking hard and I really improved a lot. Okay, I lied in the interview, but after that I did some serious work there.

Did you get compliments?
Absolutely I had compliments! Especially for my pumpkin ravioli with sage and butter.

Savannah*, 25
Retail Assistant Manager

Hey Savannah, have you ever lied on your resume?
Okay, so I lie all the time on resumes. I remember one time I wanted a job as a front office person in a hotel. So I just put on my resume that I'd done it before but like in 2013, so two-three years earlier. I made it like I was getting back into it, I've done this lots. I can't say I've gotten the job every time, but I've got interviews—and we all know how much lying goes on there.

So I take it you have no qualms with lying?
My careers teacher said it just makes sense to lie because some jobs you can do regardless of experience, but saying you have it will get you in the door. Really it's only bad if it unravels and you're totally shit at your job. I've gotten jobs by exaggerating roles in past work places, lengths of time worked—the lot. If you know you can do it, are confident to do well in it, and aren't shooting yourself in the foot, then it could even end up being a white lie for the good. You get money, they fill a role.

I think when you break down the ethics of lying people automatically go shrill at the thought of a lie in general. Lying is bad, don't do it. But I'm sure every person who reads this would argue that there's such thing as a good lie, that white lies have been told to save feelings being hurt and jobs being attained. I guess the cliché saying here is, "what people don't know won't hurt them." Unless of course you're lying about what you do know, then that'll fuck you over soon enough.

Ashley*, 31
Retail Store Manager

Tell me about your life of lies, Ashley.
I lie in job interviews, I think most people do. I once applied to work at Virgin without knowing what the position was. Halfway through the interview I found out this was for an assistant manager position, so naturally they asked questions such as, "How many teams have you managed?" and "What was your success story in terms of coaching staff?" Now, as someone coming from Maccas as a low wage shit kicker, I said I was managing a special team at McDonald's to ensure the business was running smoothly whilst managers were busy. Apparently I was in charge of shift covers, customer complaints, and staff enquiries—when really I was flipping patties in the back on a $16 an hour wage.

Did you get the job?
I did. And I went on to become the most successful store manager of 2015. I also once coached a soccer team, which went on to be pretty successful. Mind you I barely made it into the under 14s local soccer club myself.

Juan*, 23
Market Relations Officer

Tell me of your deceitful ways, Juan.
Well there are many stories. I got a job at Supercheap Auto in which I made up fake emails for my references, which was great. Until they did an IP search and found out it was all from the same IP address. Then I had to get a police check. Still got the job.

How did you manage to get the job after all that?
I assume they were looking to see if I was ever charged with fraud, which I haven't been. So yeah they hired me. I once also worked as a server engineer by photo shopping my certificate, and got the job with absolutely no experience. They even sent me to America for a year. I also once worked a whole year at a corporate site with my brother's security license: Level 5 security, which is the highest.


This is some Catch Me If You Can shit.
Bro, I have templates of TAFE certificates, doctor certificates that I just edit at my whim.

Tim*, 38
Manager at an Oil Company

Hey Tim, ever lied on your resume to get a job?
Yeah, quite a big one. I did my degree in economics at a local uni in Kuala Lumpur. It was under the Petronas Scholarship—you know, the big Petronas twin tower buildings in KL… I flunked my second year, and didn't finish my degree. But a few years, and a few jobs, later I asked one of my ex-course mates to share his degree scroll with me. I made a copy, changed it to my name, and applied for a job as a senior executive at one of the companies in the twin towers. I got the job with RM8.5k salary pay.

If you flunk the scholarship you're not meant to be working in the fucking towers. They ban you as a rule. They have this warped prestige image thing, only the best are meant to be working here. So, yeah… faked my certificate, fake degree, with a few years' fake working experience, went for an interview, and I got the job.

How did you manage to do that?
I'm good at what I do. I do not need a degree that states this. No one knows this story. Not even my mum.

Do you feel bad at all about lying?
Not at all. After all, I know what I'm capable of. I am living proof of how paper qualification is not the most important thing to succeed in life… just like Bill Gates and many more.

*Name have been changed to protect career aspirations

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