Is it always a sin to lie on a job application?

I graduated college last winter with a Business degree and I am completely struggling to find work. I don’t have enough experience to get a job that requires a college degree but am overqualified for entry level jobs such as working retail. So I figured it would be best to start out with the retail route and get some experience there to start out; no problem right? WRONG! I am sending applications every day to company’s and calling them up a few days later to try and arrange an interview. Most of the time they get annoyed or make up some vague excuse and tell me they are busy and will call back later…lol. Although I have gotten to the interviews and cant get past them. I had an interview a few days ago for a sales associates job and thought I was going to get it but nope I never got a call back. I was suppose to hear back today if I got it. Its seriously a complete joke. I know I am fully capable of doing these jobs and know I am capable at doing these jobs BETTER then the people who are getting them over me. I make it very clear in interviews that I can work hard and learn quickly. I feel being overqualified is hurting me and I need to say I don’t have a college degree or make up stuff about my experience. I am getting desperate and need money coming through so I can keep paying my rent and actually being able to live. Its seriously getting in my head and pretty depressing also.

2 observations:

  1. Never, NEVER, lie on a job application.

  2. Have you considered that with this attitude: “I know I am fully capable of doing these jobs and know I am capable at doing these jobs BETTER then the people who are getting them over me,” it’s evident why you’re struggling? Even if your statement is true, saying so is counterproductive.

Not really since I am always polite during interviews, dressing professionally, answering the questions, and even asking a few questions myself. I even called back after not getting a job last week asking why and they just gave some vague political answer.

You write very well and express yourself clearly.

This sounds like a tough and heartbreaking predicament for you. I can understand why it’s getting to your head and depressing you. Of course, as each week rolls by your anxiety will be increasing, and possibly making your more tense in interviews.

You are certainly doing the right thing in applying for any job you can get. Apart from being you overqualified they might sense that with your qualifications you’ll be looking for a better job right from the start, and won’t stay long.

So, perhaps your best option is to look for very casual, short term positions.

Also, try to find something challenging to fill in your time (although that usually costs money). As you’ve just finished college I’d recommend something away from books and study. Perhaps something completely different that’s also cheap.

Good luck with it, and I’ll say a prayer for you.

p.s. I just re-read your title. You are certainly allowed to embellish a job application to the max, and also omit inconvenient details. You don’t have to say that you have a college degree, but I can’t see any way to cover that four years of your life without putting a blatant lie which you’ll get caught out on anyway. For such a large period of time, I think it best in the long run to just tell the truth.

Perhaps take up a sport which is physical and/or dangerous, such as rock-climbing or wrestling. This will keep you keenly focused while you are doing the sport, and enhance your self-esteem.

Interviews can be lightened up if you get a chance to mention something surprising, and it might break interviewers’ pre-conception of you as bookish or academic.

I once spent two weeks pruning trees in a lumber forest. Hard, tough physical work. I put it on my resume and every interviewer in my field (computing) commented on it!

Even basic fitness, such as running or gym work, will lift your spirits. (I’m not assuming, or course, that you are not already doing that).

“Is it always a sin to lie -]on a job application/-]?” It is easy to answer, because it answers itself.

To lie is to serve, in some manner, the liar and father of lies.

Hi, I was in the same predicament when I graduated. I had no income and was really struggling, so eventually I simply omitted my university qualification from my cv. and had a job at a call centre within a week. I also learnt that no degree prepares you for sales. :wink:

Here’s another idea, from the real business world.

Five years ago I was a co-founder in a startup which specialized in the then “hot” field of Android apps. We had no money, and just technical skills in what we could do - Android apps. Everything else - accommodation, graphics, accountancy we chased for free, or as cheap as we could get. I’m really serious here - startups are desperate for everything apart from their core skills. This was google in 1998.

We used the local university for free interns for graphics and accountancy. We had no choice. We couldn’t afford the smallest charges commercially.


Offer whatever you’ve got that is useful in the business field, especially accountancy or “business manager” to a startup for free, but label it as an “Internship”. They’ll know that internship means “free” or low cost (depends on your state legislation, which you should be able to work out) and short-term.

The trouble will be finding a startup. They never advertise as “Startup desperate for business and free labor”. Rather, they in the same position as you. No portfolio to advertise, and trying to present themselves as proven performers.

I’d work out whatever is “hot” today in something I am interested in or half competent in. Then google in your wide area, and scrutinize each web site for blatant signs that they are talking themselves up, with no real credentials to back it up. Then politely approach them with: “I really like your business idea. I’m a recent graduate in business administration and accounting and looking for an internship to get started.”. Our startup would have jumped at that back in 2012!!

You’ll probably want to know how our startup turned out. We parted ways, acrimoniously. However I got from it a very lucrative business in Android app development, and invaluable experience in the business world. Everyone associated with our startup, including the free interns, benefited enormously. There’s nothing like jumping in head first!

I have been on both sides of an interview, many times. I know what to advertise, and what employers are looking for. They are looking for either outstanding technical credentials (straight A’s), or someone competent and proven, with a bit of “spark” who they’d like to work with.

It’s OK to omit your achievements if you think that will help - most people want to put everything they can on their application, understandably, but if you want to just demonstrate that you meet the person specification, that’s not lying.

It’s not OK to claim achievements or experience which you haven’t had, and if the employer finds out, you’ll get dismissed - which no-one wants, of course.

Saying you do not have a degree when you do is a lie. Not mentioning that you have a degree is not a lie. If you are not asked, you are not obliged to tell them about your degree.

Making up experience is going to come back to bite you. I would not do that.

I did commission sales for a few years.

They take anyone.

If you are good, you can make a lot of money.

And you can parlay your experience into other jobs in other companies.

And some actually pay salaries.

One fellow flunked out in commission sales, but he LOVED cars. So he visited a car dealer and asked for a commission sales job in cars. They put him in the used car lot. And he ended up breaking every sales record. Customers loved him. He made a lot of money.

Retired to Florida where he continued selling used cars. HIGH-END used cars.

He was an accountant, by the way.

I second this. I am “applying” for a pt volunteer position in my field so I can recent experience.

I also recommend temp agencies for quick cash. I did very well there, gained great experience, and some companies get temps to avoid the hiring process and ask the temps if they want jobs.

Returning to the original question, I think this the perfect answer. :thumbsup:

However, I recommend the OP be proud of his college degree, put it top at his qualifications and experience, and then while he (or she) can’t get an appropriate job, seek temporary employment elsewhere.

One day, the commission sales job place sent me to Seattle for a sales conference.

So, I’m sitting in my hotel room getting ready to head out for the meeting.

And … Seattle was really nice. I would walk to 6:30 morning Mass. Participated in the Seattle “rain festival” … January 1st to December 31st.

I really liked Seattle.

And … so … I picked up the phone with only minutes to go before I had to leave for the meeting. And I cold called the President of Boeing. He answered the phone. I told the truth. That I was in Seattle for a sales conference. And I really liked Seattle. In 15 seconds, he connected me to his #2 and we set up a meeting for 10 am. And he drove to a coffee shop near the hotel to meet with me. I took a bathroom break and slipped away from the sales conference and had an interview with Boeing.

I told the truth. That I was in Seattle for a sales conference. And I really liked Seattle.

It didn’t work out. But it was fun and interesting.

Hey, ya never know.

I got asked what happened to me that I took such a long bathroom break. I told them the truth … that I had an interview with the President and #2 at Boeing.

Great suggestion! :thumbsup:

We seem to be converging on the idea that the way forward is to look for temporary work (including free and low cost). This is often as convenient to the employer as to the employee.

Yet another idea.

Drive a long way out of town to a rural community, then walk into the general store or “pub” (ie. local hotel. I don’t know the American word) and ask “I’m looking for work”. They’ll probably answer either "Fantastic, everyone here need’s ", or “Not right now, but come back in <June, July, whatever…>”.

Trust me, two weeks of farm labor will look great on your resume. :slight_smile:

My last job … I was a temp.

Worked at one place … as a temp … for eleven years.

[Three different agencies.]

Very strange.

They even gave me awards.

[But I was only a temp.]

[It was one step away from being a pizza delivery guy … but they gave me awards.]

Very strange.

When I was unemployed I failed to understand how the neighbors who get fired or quit a job every 6 months always get a new job within 30 days… wherea I came with experience and stability… job market sucks and I am convinced that places near intentionally hire the kind of guy that when I order something for $3 + $1 he cant understand he rang it up wrong when the total is $5.35… I swear they want these folks :frowning:

Totally sympathize as I was in the same situation.

Couldn’t get a college grad job because of my lack of skills and experience. Couldn’t get any other job because of my college degree.

It’s not fun.

Agreed. You really shouldn’t lie, but you’re under no obligation to volunteer information that might hurt your chances.

This is the whole problem. Employers don’t want to hire college grads for unskilled work because they don’t want someone who’ll work for a short time and quit.

Now, if I really were intending to stay with an employer for just a short time, I would not hide my degree just to get the job and then leave soon. That really is wrong, in my view, as the employer has to go through the trouble of hiring and training someone else.

Good luck.

Omitting a college degree is not lying. If you’re being rejected for being “overqualified” - you’re being rejected for bringing more than they want, so bring them less. You have no obligation to put all your education, experience and skills on a resume if the result is that you’re rejected. Their bad attitude says they don’t have a right to everything you bring to the table, so don’t bring everything.

I had a second “dumbed down” resume for getting the survival job when getting the regular job was not happening. I was highly qualified, but the jobs that I qualified for did not exist, due to a bad recession (2002, 2009), so the survival job was the only option (or starvation).

On the other hand, ADDING false information to a resume IS lying and is not to be done. Don’t do it.

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