Don’t lie on your résumé or CV–it is against Islam

Posted on May 7, 2012


In general. lying is forbidden in Islam, is a major sin and is considered of the attributes of a hypocrite.

Abu Hurayrah (r) narrated that the Prophet (s) said: “The signs of a hypocrite are three; he lies when talking, he breaks his promises and he deceives when entrusted […] anyone who possesses all such qualities is a pure hypocrite” [Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim].

Here are some verses from the Qur’an that relate to lying:

“And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it].” [Qur’an 2:42]
“…Indeed Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.” [Qur’an 40:28]
“…Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.” [Qur’an 39:3]
“…The curse of Allah be upon him if he should be among the liars.” [Qur’an 24:7]

By contrast, here is how Allah describes the believers:

“The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah. It is those who are the truthful.” [Qur’an 49:15]

There are very few specific circumstances when Islam will tolerate a lie, and these do not include lying on a résumé or CV ; please click here to read an article that describes how Islam views lying.

Résumé padding: inconsequential or inexcusable?

Emanuella Grinberg, CNN:

It may sound crazy. Why would a high-ranking executive lie about his or her credentials, especially now, when all it takes is a quick phone call or Internet search to verify information?

Yet it happens more often than you might think. From a white lie about time spent as a customer service rep to a whopper about earning an MBA, résumé padding occurs regularly across industries, experts say. In a 2010 survey of 1,818 organizations, 69% reported catching a job candidate lying on his or her résumé, according to employment screening service HireRight.

The most common lie on a résumé has to do with education, said Kim Isaacs, founder and director of and‘s résumé expert. The discovery that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson does not have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science (he has a bachelor of science degree in business administration, with a major in accounting) makes him the latest executive to be targeted for falsely claiming to have a degree.

Or, at least, a certain kind of degree.

In the wake of the allegation, made by shareholder firm Third Point, Yahoo removed all references to Thompson’s degree from his biography on its website and said the error “in no way alters that fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies.” Yahoo’s board is reviewing the issue and will “make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders” when that inquiry is finished.

The incident has raised debate over whether the gaffe counts as inconsequential “fudging” or “exaggeration” of his credentials or a lie that casts a shadow over his long career.  Please click here to read the whole article from CNN.

Career Builder: Don’t lie on your résumé

Most common lies on a résumé according to Forbes

  • Lying about an educational degree or diploma.
  • Playing with dates on your resume.
  • Exaggerating numbers.
  • Increasing previous salary.
  • Inflating titles associated with your previous job(s).
  • Lying about technical abilities
  • Claiming language fluency
  • Providing fake addresses
  • Padding Grade Point Averages and level of previous academic performance.

Please click here to see an explanation of the above via a slideshow.

Additional lies on résumés or CVs from Marquet International:

  • Unexplained gaps in previous employment.
  • Lying by omission.
  • Fake references.
  • Fabricating reasons for leaving previous jobs.
  • Misrepresenting military record.

Please click to download a pdf list of the top ten lies on a résumé or CV.

Please note that we don’t endorse the company who made the video clip above; it is included here because it summarizes the top 2012 résumé lies.

Consequences of lying on your résumé or CV (or in any other situation) in Islam

The following sahih hadith explains clearly the consequences of lying:

Another hadith describes the punishment that liars will receive in the Hereafter. Samurah ibn Jundub said,

“The Messenger of Allaah very often used to ask his Companions: “Has any one of you seen a strange dream?” So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allaah The Almighty willed to relate. One day he said: Last night I had a vision in which two men (angels) came to me and woke me up and said to me, `Proceed!’ I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man’s head, smashing it. When he struck him, the stone rolled away and he went after it to get it, and no sooner had he returned to this man, his head was healed and restored to its former condition. The thrower (of the rock) then did the same as he had done before.
I said to my two companions, `Subhaanallaah (Glory be to Allaah)! Who are these?’ They said: `Proceed, proceed.’ So we proceeded and came to a man lying in a prone position and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man’s mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck), and similarly tear his nose from front to back, and his eyes from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man’s face and did just as he has done with the first side. He had hardly completed that (second) side when the first returned to its normal state.
Then when he informed the Companions about the explanation of what he had seen, he said:“I said to them, `I have seen many wonders tonight. What does all that mean which I have seen?’ They replied, `We will inform you: […] As for the man you came upon, whose sides of mouth, nostrils and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the symbol of the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells lies that are spread all over the world …” [Al-Bukhari].

Even in this dunya, the consequences of lying on one’s resume can be pretty drastic. Please click here to read  examples of what happened to top executives who lied on their resume.