Lying about a GPA is one of the most common lies made on a resume. Many job seekers are tempted to inflate their GPA in order to stand out from the crowd. We’ll talk about what happens when you lie about your GPA on a resume.
Lying is bad. We know this. Moving on.
Keep in mind that you don’t actually have to include your GPA on your resume. This is really surprising for some recent graduates. Unless the job application specifically asks for your GPA, you can leave it off. In fact, there are a few reasons you want to leave education information off your resume.
You also don’t need to include your GPA if you have adequate work experience and aren’t fresh out of school. We wrote a good post on whether or not you should include your GPA on a resume. Your GPA doesn’t say much about you as an applicant, though. Try to quantify your value for a job in other ways.
If you still feel like you need to include an inaccurate GPA on your resume, here are some common questions with answers from our experts.
This is impossible to measure.
Do people get caught? Yes.
Is it likely? No.
Is it worth it? Also no.
Not only do you risk losing your job if you do get caught lying, but you also risk some serious damage to your future. There have been numerous cases of well-known executives getting fired because they lied about their GPA or degree.
One famous case involved the CEO of Yahoo who got caught years later lying on his resume about a degree which he never had. The results were not good. While you’re probably not applying for a CEO role out of school, you never know where you’ll end up. Getting caught in a lie years later can have lasting repercussions for the rest of your career.
A background check doesn’t typically involve your academic transcripts, but an employer may ask you to provide that information. This happens in some exceptionally competitive entry-level positions.
If a company has hundreds of graduates applying for the same position, then a GPA may be important to the employer. In this case, there is a good chance they could ask you for a copy of your transcript to verify your GPA. This leads us to our next question.
This is a tough topic we’ve devoted a separate blog post to: Does Your GPA Really Matter?
Here is an excerpt from that post:
For larger and well-known companies like Ford and General Motors, GPA can be a very important factor for establishing baseline criteria for employment. Other large firms use similar hiring criteria, and for similar reasons. Many of these firms actively recruit on college campuses across the United States, and need a way to quickly differentiate between different groups of applicants. Your grade point average offers a useful metric to accomplish that goal.
So, some employers care about your GPA and may reject candidates below a certain threshold. These tend to be large companies with steep competition for entry-level jobs. This brings us right back to the initial question.
No, lying about your GPA on your resume can have some serious consequences. You may think that the worst-case scenario is that you don’t get the job. In fact, the worst-case scenarios are if you DO get the job.
Here is what can happen if you do get the job.
Scenario 1: You get hired and the company later decides to verify your GPA. Not only will you get fired, but you may also have ruined future opportunities. What happens if your next employer asks why you left your last job? Or if they can contact a reference at your previous job?
Scenario 2: You get hired and after some time, the company decides to promote you to a higher-level position. They may look to verify your education and GPA. When they catch you in the lie, you’re now jobless with a longer work history. It will look even worse for you if your next employer can’t contact anyone from your last company.
Your GPA only matters to a small selection of companies for a short period of time. It’s not worth lying over, when the consequences can be sudden and public. Either include your actual GPA or skip it altogether.
Good luck with your job search!