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Lying on Resume Can Sink Career, Lead to Jail

A woman sitting on a chair in front of a group of chairs.

​A woman in Australia is going to prison for at least one year for lying on her resume to land a $185,000-a-year job with the Australian government.

Veronica Hilda Theriault, 46, was sentenced on Dec. 3 on charges of deception, dishonesty and abuse of public office in her 2017 application with the South Australia Department of the Premier and Cabinet. She worked there for more than a month, earning $22,500, before being fired. 

Her resume contained fraudulent information about her education, and she had faked her references by posing as a previous employer. The court was told she had used resumes with false information at two companies in 2012 and 2014, according to CNN. It also reported that Theriault posted a picture of supermodel Kate Upton as her LinkedIn profile photo.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles on this topic from its archives and other sources.  

Woman Imprisoned for Lying on Resume, Using Photo of Kate Upton as LinkedIn Profile
An Australian woman was handed down a 25-month prison sentence Dec. 3 after authorities said she offered fake credentials on her resume, including using actress Kate Upton's photo instead of her own on a job site profile. Judge Michael Boylan said Theriault's CV, which included false information about her education and work experience, was showing that she could not be trusted with documents.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Conducting Background Investigations and Reference Checks]   

Outrageous Lies People Have Put on Their Résumés
A whopping 75 percent of hiring managers have caught applicants putting fabrications on their résumés, according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey. We're not talking little white lies here, like claiming to have spent a year at a company when it was really more like nine months. Employers shared some outrageous claims, such as the 22-year-old applicant claiming three different degrees, an applicant listing the same employment date for every job listed and the applicant who listed 40 different jobs in one year.
(Market Watch)   

Caught in a Resume Lie: The Stories of Fibbing Job Seekers
Have you ever lied on your resume? Can a white lie even be spotted by recruiters, and will it cost you in the end? As it turns out, those lies are spotted more often than not—and yes, they can cost you the job. Whether it's a complete deal-breaker or a dark mark on your candidacy, lying on your resume can get you in deep water during your job search.
(Top Resume)   

State Department Worker Resigns After Accusations of Embellishing Resume 
Senior Trump administration official Mina Chang resigned from her post Nov. 18, a week after an NBC News investigation accused her of not only embellishing her work history and educational achievements, but also reportedly creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it. "Resigning is the only acceptable moral and ethical option for me at this time," wrote Chang, 35, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, in a resignation letter obtained by Politico. Her resignation is effective immediately. Chang has an official State Department biography riddled with "misleading claims," alleges the NBC News report. 
(Market Watch)   

Background Checks
While background checks can be a helpful tool for employers to screen potential hires, HR must ensure they do not run afoul of local ban-the-box laws, Fair Credit Report Act rules and employment discrimination laws. The Society for Human Resource Management put together tools and information to help guide this process.
(SHRM Resources)


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.