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Faking a Professional Profile? Really?!

I understand that it is a tough market for job seekers. I am also well aware that some people sometimes may put something on their resumes that they have never done. However, I still felt shocked when I watched this MSNBC news video.

A website* is offering a support service to those who want to lie about their past. For $125.95, the website will provide customized references for a fake resume within 24 hours and guarantee subscribers for a real job interview because of the website’s “perfect” references. What?! Should there be some regulations to stop this kind of services?!

While a person can structure a resume in a variety of ways to target different employers or even highlight different qualifications for specific audience, s/he should NEVER lie about his/her credentials or experiences. An A or A+ organization will always value integrity. That’s probably why there are so many background check companies out there, helping employers to distinguish the “real” best candidates.

I can see why more companies are using social media in employee screening --- they are trying to evaluate a candidate from as many angles as possible. We call it “triangulations” in qualitative studies. Living in a society where people may “steal” or “create” identifies, how can employers distinguish the real best candidates from the crowd? Meanwhile, how can those honest job seekers stand out from the crowd? What are your suggestions?

Some relevant discussions about job search:
Revisit Social Media and Job Search
Social Media Job Search Tactics
Writing an Effective Cover Letter
Student Resumes
Cover Letter, Resume, and LinkedIn

*I do not spell out the website’s name because I do not want to help the website increase its visibility in search engines.


  1. One good tactic in avoiding age discrimination within your resume is to leave out any details from which your prospective employer might be able to glean your age. Your date of birth, for example, is something that you can safely leave out. While most people include their date of birth in their resumes, it really isn’t necessary. Learn more:

    employment tips

  2. Though this could potentially be a great way pass the first stage of employment, it does not guarantee that you will pass the second stage (interview) and most importantly, get the job. Most interviewers will ask about the experiences described on your resume. It is difficult to get away from talking about an experience if you haven’t had the experience before. But I do see the objective of this company. If you do want to stand-out from the rest, there are appropriate methods. A new social media program called “Brand-Yourself” can help increase the frequency of your name searched on the web. This new program is a personal branding and online reputation management system. It is a great program because it helps businesses generate awareness of their brand, connects with customers on the web, and could also be used for creating your own personal profile. Brand-Yourself serves the same purpose as the immoral website mentioned in this blog, but in a righteous way.

    Link to Brand-Yourself:

  3. Dear Dr. Kwok, Thanks! This post in particularly gives me a feeling of "darkness" of the reality world. I feel surprised and not at the same time, I always have a feeling if people would fake their resume, and this video from MSNBC truly has proven me out some true story about the "fake" identity. When employers want to doublecheck candidate's resume, I think the best way is to do in-depth checking from the "interview process" . Even if the candidate get an interview through "fake" resume, a clear indication will show during the interview whether he is lying or not. One best solution I would suggest for employers is to ask detailed questions about the candidate about the job experience and what they have written in the resume. Paying effort in asking those questions and raise up situational cases related to their experience would help them narrow down the "qualification" of best candidate they want.
    Apart from that, I agree that background check is really a good method. This will at least screen some possible candidates background.
    Honest candidate can try their best to present themselves in interview and building up good personal brand image might help them to stand out. Thanks a lot

  4. Wow. I cannot believe that this website is a viable business. Honestly, I am embarrassed that people in our society would stoop to this level and lie about their professional profile just to get a job. I feel that this website should be regulated by either the Better Business Bureau or another council of the likes. I find it extremely unfair to the candidates who present employers with factual information, and who have put in the hard years of experience in order to become qualified for a particular job. In order for employers to ‘weed out’ these falsified candidates, a thorough interview process must be in practice. In depth conversation about the candidates past work experience may help the employer read their level of honesty. I also believe that within a short amount of time of being hired, employers will be able to judge who and who did not have the proper experience needed prior to being hired. Unfortunately, once a falsified candidate is hired, it is already too late and will hurt the employer financially. I think honest job seekers can stand out from the crowd by telling personalized stories about their prior work experience (as it relates professionally, of course) and they should also display confidence throughout the interview process.

  5. If this type of service were to really catch on and a lot of candidates were choosing to take this route, employers would start to notice a trend in that many of their new hires were under-qualified for their positions. In order to weed out this type of person, I think employers would start to conduct more hands-on questions on job interviews that required the job candidates to prove their qualifications. I think it is absurd that anyone would pay for a service like this, and that they are even allowed to exist for that matter. This is only going to cause more grief for companies and employees when they realize that these candidates are not in fact a good fit for the companies at all, and will be fired, and cause more work for the employers and these candidates alike. Honest job seekers can stand out from the crowd by proving themselves qualified in more ways than just having a good recommendation. I personally don't think this service is going to go very far because it is easy to see through someone who is this dishonest and conniving.

  6. I am actually surprised this isn’t illegal or anything because making customized references for a fake resume is not only lying to whoever you are giving your resume to, but this is also lying to yourself. People who are actually paying 125.95 dollars to do this should be ashamed of themselves because this just shows that they are not confident or proud of what they have achieved. Therefore, they do not deserve to get hired or accepted as good candidate. I agree with what the girl had said in the video, “it’s like plastic surgery, your faking who you really are.” You may look good from a glimpse but once you look closely you see all the flaws and it will definitely not last just like plastic surgery.

    Although in reality, there are many “cons” and “fakeness” in our world, the true hard workers and achievers will shine through the fake ones. Especially during face to face interview, the interviewer will clearly be able to tell who is under qualified or unconfident about themselves. And I do agree that in these cases, background checks do come in handy. This can work as your “second hidden resume” to just double check how good of a candidate you are.

    For the honest job seekers, they can stand out from the crowd by being confident of what they have on their resume. Since they worked hard to have those on there instead of paying money, they can describe, relate and answer the interviewer more detailed and accurately. Having a mediocre “qualified” candidate will not last and will only hurt both the candidate and company.

  7. When I see sites or businesses like this, I become disappointed in some of my fellow humans. It makes me question what can be trusted anymore. I hope this is not the new trend in how to achieve the "American Dream," in my opinion and I hope in other's opinions too, should be achieved through honesty and hard work. This kind of business hurts everyone in the long run, from the business to the customers. The only one that benefits is the company that makes a big profit from people's dishonesty. The only consolation is that these dishonest people will eventually be fired or stay at a mediocre position once the business sees that they are unqualified. I think the best way to safeguard against hiring people with fake resumes is to have a through interview process, to have background checks, and to make sure that the companies they claim to have worked for are legitimate businesses. The honest candidates will shine through the fake ones because they will be genuinely proud of the work they have done since they have worked hard to be able to say "I've done that" and put it on their resume.
    Megan Wu 314


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