As a professional, lying on your resume has the potential to cause a lot of problems. It can ruin your relationship with a staffing agency, destroy credibility with a client, and give you a bad name in the industry.
Here is the thing — your LinkedIn profile is your online resume! You are declaring to the world that THIS is who I am, this is my experience and these are my accomplishments.
What are the implications of lying on your LinkedIn profile?
Everyone sees your LinkedIn profile. The only people who see your resume are the people you send it to so lying on LinkedIn is infinitely more likely to be found out!
To be caught in a lie is a huge scar on your personal brand. With your resume, the impact is limited to the recruiter and the staffing agency where you sent it. If you are unlucky it may become public. To be caught online by all the people who know you lied magnifies the problem many fold, hence it WILL go public.
As with a resume, once you have been caught in a lie publicly, then your credibility in your industry is zero. That’s pretty tough on you if you make your living based on your credibility.
How can you avoid these situations?
Sometimes contracts go badly due to any number of reasons that may not even be your fault. Do not cover them up on your profile by stretching the dates. Contractors are not expected to have back to back contracts. It’s one of the perks of being a contractor.
You can get away with a little “pumping up” of your role but you can’t invent a new title or add responsibilities that were not part of your role.
Diligent staffing agencies do check credentials. Don’t give yourself academic credentials, certifications or extra training that you have not earned.
Less is better. If you don’t want stuff on your profile, don’t put it there. Better to have a work history going back two years and omitting any negative experiences than to lie about them.
Do you know someone who has suffered the consequences of an online lie?