Here’s What Happened When These People Got The Job By Lying On Their Resumes
Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to resumes. But what happens when a massive lie helps you to secure your dream job? Will you be discovered, or will you live in dread of your secret coming to light some day? Here are some of Reddit‘s finest stories of when masquerading as jacks-of-all-trades helped jobhunters to kickstart their careers – and what happened next.
1. Touch typing
My dad was drafted into WWII. They asked if he could touch type, he said yes. I don’t think he had even seen a typewriter.
But they put him in intelligence because of his answer and no one ever questioned his typing skills.
2. Drop dead gorgeous
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”…
So I actually get a couple to respond, I show up to the shoot, and they’re BOTH drop dead gorgeous. And I realize I’ll 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…
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 them 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.
3. Fake reference
We hired someone who lied on their resume, it took about 2 weeks but we fired them. They later applied to a similar position with a different team in the same company and referenced working on my team. So yeah, they didn’t get hired when the obvious reference check was made.
I’ve also known of 2 cases where people were so bad at their jobs, it prompted someone to look up their degree and find it was fake. They got fired, and in one case sued.
4. Cultural advice
When my dad first arrived as an immigrant, he took an ESL class which among other things coached students on how to get a job. The teacher literally got up there and said, “here’s how you get a job in America: lie.”
So my dad lies and told a construction crew he could drive a forklift. The first day, they asked him to get on the forklift. My dad said, oh, I only know how to use a different model of forklift. So they taught him how to drive the forklift, and he worked there for 20 years.
5. Gourmet chef
My dad got his first job after University working for a group home and said in his interview he knew how to cook because he never thought it would actually come up, in reality he confessed he went through four years of college surviving on peanut butter sandwiches, Kraft dinner and beer.
So the first day on the job came and they asked him to teach a cooking class on making stew so he excused himself for a minute right at the start so he could make an emergency phone call to my grandmother asking how to “brown” meat.
6. Exposed in days
I was running the network for a pretty big company and the boss hired a temp to help me with a project. He claimed to have a lot of experience with Cisco routers.
Within 2 days it was obvious that he had no experience at all, didn’t even know how to log in to the router. He was fired by my company and blacklisted by the temp agency.
7. Memory trick
My grandfather had pretty bad eyesight his whole life. At the start of WWII, he memorised the optician charts and took the entrance for the RAF. He could just about make out the top two lines of the different charts, then rattled off the rest.
He flew all over in the war, was made Squadron Leader and got a shed-load of medals. Died aged 92.
Probably the best fake CV I know.
8. Burger bar to cockpit
My friend was working at a burger bar, saw an advert for an airplane marshal and he decides to shoot his shot, blatantly lying he has experience. He gets the job, makes friends with an airline pilot who takes a liking to him.
The pilot trained him on his personal smaller airplane before giving him the low down to get into airline pilot school. My friend went from burger bar to airline pilot captain. Note, if I ever heard he was flying the plane, I would run off before the engine started.
This reminds me of my ex’s dad. He enlisted in the navy during Vietnam, but couldn’t pass his swim test. They sent him for remedial swim lessons, which he hated because they were held pre-dawn in an absolutely freezing pool.
After a few sessions he realized that the instructors didn’t have anything to distinguish them, they just walked in and grabbed a clipboard with the list of people they were supposed to teach. So the next morning he grabbed a clipboard, and taught a group of guys to swim.
40 years later he still probably would have drowned if you put him in more than a few feet of water.
10. Sizing up
I applied for a job as a truck driver. The only experience I had was in a vehicle the size of a small U-Haul, delivering for a Vietnam veterans fundraising organization.
Almost 18 years later, I’m still behind the wheel for the same company, and I’ve gotten my commercial driver’s license.
11. A dangerous lie
I’m a crane operator and my company hired a guy a couple years ago for a crane operator job. This job entails ladles filled with 240k lbs of molten steel, 175k lb molds, etc. This guy claimed he was a professional operator engineer and ran all these different types of cranes…
On top of not actually knowing how to run a crane, he was lazy as hell. It took over 2 months for them to fire him. He was finally fired for repeatedly climbing down out of the crane and not only leaving it on but leaving the hoist in gear slowly going down.
12. Starting from the bottom
I had no clue how to detail cars, but filed for a business license and started advertising mobile detailing. The first car I did, I used a spray bottle with a wipedown solution to wash it and I didn’t have money for a vacuum so I LITERALLY HANDPICKED THE CARPETS inside.
I did three cars that day in three hours for a total of $120. I was making about that after taxes for an eight hour day at the time. That was the moment I decided to quit my job.
I figured stuff out real fast while reinvesting every penny for the next three years. It’s been six years since that first car now and I have a 1500 sq foot shop in the wealthiest part of the entire metro area, a loyal client base, and we work exclusively on high end cars.
13. Disastrous results
i faked one of my personal references on my resume… Got a job working for a particle physicist repairing stuff like MRI machines in hospitals. He hired me because I can read schematics.
They had to fire me because an x-ray machine exploded in a chiropractor’s office while I was repairing it.
14. Deep in lies
I was desperate for work after grad school, and lied about my skills in Salesforce (CRM software), when asked about it at the interview.
I’d never even heard of it before! I claimed I’ve used it plenty, and the interviewer kept asking one question after another about Salesforce and I was so desperate, and also so embarrassed about lying, that my only choice was to lie even further to cover up the original lies…
So I get the job, and I’m thrown headfirst into becoming the team’s new Salesforce wizard. Thankfully it was pretty easy to learn, and since I used it every day/all day long, I’d become pretty skilled at it in a few weeks.
It’s now the most honest part of my resume!
15. Inside knowledge
My uncle did this. Showed up for a mass interview. They said they would call people they wanted after. He didn’t get a call, but found out where people were supposed to go the first day. He just showed up!
I think when he was asked, he just told them that he had been told to come, even though his name wasn’t on the list. He retired from that company about 45 years later.
16. Draft dishonesty
My dad lied about being able to operate heavy equipment when he was drafted during Vietnam. He drove various road building equipment into ditches 4 or 5 times before he figured it out but never got taken off the job.
When he came home he started driving heavy equipment for a living and retired after doing it for about a billion years because his Parkinson’s made it unsafe for him to drive.
17. Fraudulent claims
My stepmom is a solicitor for a big insurance firm and every year when they take in their new set of graduates they set aside a room for them to do their last edit of their resume before they officially submit them.
If they are hired, they go through their academic and work history, and fire everyone who made a false claim. She told me there are sometimes legal ramifications for those who make obviously fraudulent claims. There are numerous people effectively fired immediately due to this every intake.
18. Tough job
I worked on an assembly line making oilfield tools, told them I had oilfield experience. Got sent to an offshore oil rig a few months later.
Turns out you’re just picking up heavy stuff and getting picked on for the first few months anyways.
19. Confident liar
My boss hired someone that called the store and said, “I would like to confirm my interview is on this date”.
My coworker had never actually submitted an application or resume, my boss just assumed it got misplaced.
20. Learning on the job
My very first job in finance was as a data entry clerk for a mortgage lender. They asked if I could type 70+ wpm, I lied and said I could. I really could type about 25 wpm.
When I got the offer, I spent every day till my hire date practicing the hell outta my typing speed. Got up to about 50 wpm, which was enough to overlook my first two weeks of the job. By the time I got promoted to underwriting a year later, could easily type 80+wpm, and knew 10 key by touch.
21. Exaggerated skills
I got an insultingly small raise for speaking a 2nd language, and since none of my bosses spoke Spanish, they never figured out that my skill level was comparable to that of a toddler.
All of our Hispanic customers found it adorable.
22. Missed background check
I applied for a major job before I actually graduated college… So technically I lied on my resume and said I had the degree when I was really one semester away from graduating. In an act of pure luck I got a call and was offered the job if I passed a series of tests that they had.
I contemplated telling the truth but decided that I’d never get a 2nd chance if I fessed up. I passed the test. Got the job. And figured they’d find out and just fire me.
The whole week I was a nervous wreck. Then the HR lady who hired me decided on a whim to quit her job and move to Italy to teach. The person who took over her job didn’t have a memo to do a background check on my degree and I never heard about it again.
23. The wrong mix
My dad told me a story about someone he went to school with. Got a gig working as a dive operator for an underwater welding company. Almost killed the divers by giving them the wrong mix. When the mess was discovered and they asked him what the hell he was doing, he just said “oh the system is in metric. All my training was in imperial!”.
They believed him and sent him on a conversion course, which included a diving basics course that taught him how to do the job without killing anyone.
24. Fantasy world
This was more of an embellishment than a lie, but I listed that my coworkers and I meet weekly for team building and critical thinking exercises that often force us to think from somebody else’s point of view and make decisions from out of our comfort zone.
The Sgt interviewing me knew exactly what I was saying and asked me what my preferred “class” and “race” is. I told him that I’m the Dungeon Master and the Lt in the interview needed me to explain everything that was unfolding in front of him.
TLDR: I got hired in a law enforcement job because I play Dungeons and Dragons.
25. A clear lie
I remember seeing someone who had clearly lied.
I got hired as a contractor for a major brand pretty much everyone has heard of. They had a lean fiscal year and laid off a large portion of their front office people. Another person and I were hired to help fill in some holes left by the people let go.
On our first day we were being shown some basic tasks and how to work with the database. I had a notebook with me and was taking some notes and asking a lot of questions. The other person looked like they saw a ghost. By the time we came back from lunch the other person miraculously got a better job offer and left never to return.
26. Caught off-guard
I applied to a position by way of a contracting company. I did not lie on the resume I sent the contracting agency. They however added experience I did not have to my resume.
It made the interview awkward when they asked directly about things they said I claimed to have done but I was completely off guard. I had brought a printout of what I had intended them to get and they hired me anyway and I made a lot of money, with them just sort of rolling their eyes at the contracting company that was evidently pretty notorious for faking resumes to get their candidates in the door.
27. Bilingual bookseller
When I was interviewing to work at a bookstore they asked if I spoke a second language. I thought it would make them more likely to hire me, and I had studied Russian in college, so I said I did and ended up with a label on my name tag that said I spoke Russian.
The rest of the time I worked there, I lived in fear of the day an actual Russian speaker needed help with anything.
28. Best boss ever
It wasn’t on my resume, per se. But when I was in my early 20s (55 now) I was working for a company doing basically video editing. They needed someone in the IT department, and the manager knew I had a home PC and asked me if I “knew anything about mainframes.”
I lied, said I did, and he transferred me. He figured out pretty quickly that I was full of nonsense, decided I was still the best candidate, rolled up his sleeves and taught me everything. Over 30 years later, he’s still the best boss I ever had… still one of my best friends, considers me his second son and I certainly consider him my second father, and I’ve had an IT career ever since.
29. Discovered too late
One of my wife’s friends lied her way into a job as a manager with one of the largest financial institutions in the world. Luckily, she was smart as hell and really just wanted to skip the line. When she was in line for a big promotion five years down the line, they ran a routine background check and found her out.
She had to resign, but now had five years experience at one of the best places you could want to put on your CV, so getting a great next job wasn’t hard.
30. No idea
I hired someone like this. In the interview he claimed to have experience working with all of our equipment and we hired him. He showed up from Alaska and had absolutely no idea what any of it was or how it worked.
I spent three months training him on the most basic equipment and he couldn’t figure it out.
31. Subway translator
When I worked at Subway, I was recognized as the “translator”. I literally looked up most of the ingredients we had in Spanish and remembered them enough to understand it.
It was hilarious when customers realized I understood some Spanish and assumed I was fluent. Just stand there and smile.
32. College drop-out
College buddy left after four years or so. Couple years later we are hanging out and he is an energy commodity analyst. WTF? He lied and said he had a mathematics degree. They never checked, he did well.
Couple years later he gets a huge promotion to switch to another company. Tells the truth that time. They hire him on the condition he finishes his degree. They got busy, and told him to drop out. He is now a C level executive of a smaller energy logistics company.
33. Proving them wrong
I said I could add strong value to small businesses and help them develop their bottom line. They didn’t believe me. I started my own marketing firm and now some of them are my clients.
I had no idea what I was doing at first. But I have been spending the last three years learning continuously and I am getting a small reputation. Best result ever to not get the job.
34. Surprisingly young
While I was working at a big company this girl got hired who was surprisingly young for a Senior Art Director. They threw her in right away planning full product lines and it didn’t take long for everyone to notice she was in way over her head.
One time I (who was supposed to be working under her) had to explain to her what key commands were in our industry standard program and she just looked at me in horror because I might as well have been speaking gibberish.
A couple days in I invited her to lunch and it turns out she was pretty much just a hobby graphic designer who made some fliers for her college. I honestly have no clue how she could have lied her way into the position, but she obviously had almost no experience. A couple days later they fired her. I don’t think she was even with us a whole week.
35. Low bar
Knew a guy who lied and said he was a welder to an oil sands company. Point of fact, I doubt he’d ever even used a welder but he saw the pay and when the industry is booming they’ll hire anyone with a pulse.
So they flew him out to a work camp in the middle of nowhere for his first two-week stint. They didn’t even wait the day to fly him back.
36. Saying yes
It’s like the actor’s creed of never turning down acting work. If they ask you if you know how to ride a horse, you’re supposed to answer “yes,” even if you’ve never even seen a horse in your life.
Then you figure out how before filming starts.
37. Uncomfortable coincidence
I have a lie I tell on my resume. Or rather, not tell. I omit a job I had once… the owner straight up lied to me about the job. And then bailed 3 months into it on his golden parachute, leaving me on a sinking boat basically. So I count it as a do-over. And I don’t have it on my resume…
And I got caught, too.
I wound up with a consulting group. And wouldn’t you know it? We pick up that company as a client. And the owner wants me to work with them! I had to recuse myself and explain the omission on my resume.
Owner understood, no repercussions, all was well. But wouldn’t it just figure? What are the odds I’d wind up being hired as a contract worker…for a job I just quit?
38. Sign maker
Not me, but a guy I’ve worked with on occasion had gone to school to become an architect. There was a prestigious firm that he really wanted to work for but they kept rejecting him.
Still, he didn’t stop applying and one day they said they had an opening but it wasn’t for architecture, rather wayfinding (like designing directional signage etc. for facilities or even cities), and they asked if he had experience doing this.
He lied and said yes and got the job. Now the guy is in his 70s, about to retire, and is super well known for his creative and clever wayfinding systems.
39. Grilled at interview
I have on my resume that I am proficient using Encompass360. During the interview the EVP on the interview panel seemed to really like that. Using that software wouldn’t even really be part of my job. He asked me if I knew how to write business rules, which I did.
This guy then brings in the Encompass Administrator for the company and has him start grilling me on very highly specific details of the software which I had no clue about. I know how to use the software pretty well but this company was paying a guy over $100k to know the software inside and out.
I waited and let the guy say what he wanted to and then when he was done I just turned to the panel and said I knew how to use the software but my education and experience was not that of a technical background and if that is what they were looking for then it might not be a good fit. One of the other panelist just chuckled and said no, that was okay, George (EVP) is just a little overzealous about Encompass. Still got the job.
40. High flyer
One of my friends’ girlfriends got a job at a big aerospace company. She had been declined during the interview and I remember her telling us how she didn’t get the job.
Welp, the interview person ended up losing their laptop on a flight with all the data on the people they had interviewed and for some reason remembered my friend’s girlfriend. She got called back asking about the interview and if she would like a 2nd interview. She lied, claiming that she had already been accepted. Rather than double check, the interviewer reluctantly agreed and she was offered the job. $80K starting salary, with a $15K bonus for starting and moving.
41. Patchy details
A friend of mine got a job as a project manager in the spring. He didn’t really lie on his resume, but he left out certain aspects of his college experience (namely his 2.1gpa and the fact that he dropped out).
About a month in they fired him saying they “overestimated his ability to do the job”.
42. Teaching yourself
I said I knew how to Photoshop when I’d never used the program before. Got hired at a construction company and part of my job was Photoshopping out telephone poles/wires from sites to make them look nice (or Photoshopping on hard hats/safety gear when workers decided to break code despite the company’s strict policy).
They also asked me to animate their logo so they could use it on their videos.
I got my assignments, went to my desk, watched a 40min tutorial on how to use Photoshop, and then just figured it out. Most people in the company were technologically illiterate, so even though I was working slowly, coworkers were none the wiser. Worked part-time there for about a year while in school before leaving. I ended up becoming incredibly fluent in Photoshop, Finalcut and similar programs.
43. Fake it till you make it
I told my job I kept inventory for the entire company where I worked… I ordered gloves. I now am the inventory manager on the production of 10 million lbs a month of multiple grades of material that is never consistent. I also do production planning for these products.
Oh I also told them I was good with Excel spreadsheet…yeah… no clue. I now have a basic understanding of excel through trial and error. Fake it till you make it.
44. Left on bad terms
I lied on my resume by omitting a couple of jobs that I left on bad terms. When it came time for a background check, I added every job I’ve had and no one has seemed to notice or care about the omission.
For an introvert, I tend to do very well in interviews.
45. Health records
Lied to the military about not having asthma. Six years later and I tried to claim I had allergies as I was separating (to be fair, I had them worse due to sandstorms, trash burn pits, and a dorm that was 80% mold) and the doc was like, “you realize we have your asthma on record right?” And I said “what asthma? It shouldn’t be there.”
And he said I was a military brat and they could pull the records from my childhood when my dad was in the army and he took me to get diagnosed. Then the doc decided to asthma test me then and there. I passed because it was the fall though. Two years later I re-joined.
46. Student to teacher
Got one of my best friends a job as a welding instructor at a large company making utility trailers when his only qualification was taking metals shop in high school.
So anyways, six years later he’s still teaching welding to about 20 people at a time every 3-5 weeks at the same company, making great money and doing a damn good job.
47. Just showed up
Not exactly a job, but I never finished High School. I had gotten into a very prestigious university early admission and then got thrown out of high school for various disciplinary reasons.
I just showed up to said university and started taking classes. Graduated four years later with honors. Who really ever asks for your high school diploma?
My now-deceased mother once applied for a job as a lab technician she was not qualified for. She asked, “Can we tour the workshop?”, “Which machine do you use the most? ” and “How do you use this model?”.
This got her a full briefing on the workshop, and a full-run-through demonstration of how to use the primary machine. Which she memorised VERY carefully. Then she asked “What are the most frequent problems you have with this model, and how do you unblock them?” More explanations, VERY carefully memorised.
She winged it from there, and kept that job for ten years.
49. No experience
I applied for a restaurant job and told the truth and said I had no experience as a waitress.
Maybe she misheard me because of instead of giving me a kitchen job she hired me as… a waitress. Didn’t tell her she’d made a mistake cos I really needed the work.
One of the other waitresses had to teach me on my first night. I learned quickly and loved it.
50. Top dog
When I was offered a position in a grooming salon as a bather (coming from a kennel attendant), I was asked if I could do nail trims. Essential part of the job. I lied and said yes because I wanted it so badly.
I absolutely sucked at it for a month, but after trimming a couple hundred nails a day you get good at it fast.
So my career went from volunteer at zoo -> kennel attendant -> bather -> groomer -> veterinary practice groomer -> business owner
Last year I started my own mobile grooming salon and it’s been amazing!