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.
Okay, we’re not going to lecture you on whether or not it’s ethical. You obviously know it’s not ethical so let’s just cut to the chase. Just keep in mind that there are a couple of ways to get around a low GPA without lying. One way is to not include it at all. Many job seekers think that including a GPA on a resume is mandatory – it’s usually not.
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.
Let’s just go through the most common questions people have in terms of lying about their GPA:
Okay, I’m sorry to break it to you but there is no way to really know.
Do people get caught? Sure.
Is it likely? No
Is it worth it? No
Not only do you risk loosing your job if you do get caught, you risk some serious damage to future opportunities. 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. You can check out the full article here.
Okay, you’re probably not applying for a CEO role out of school, but you never know where you’ll end up. Getting caught years later can have an permanent effect on the rest of your career.
Odds are that they won’t reach out to your school and ask for your transcript but some employers may request you to provide a copy. This tends to be for really competitive entry-level positions which tend to have a lot of competition.
If you have 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 one. We wrote a good article on this and you can read the full version here:
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.
No, lying about your GPA can have some serious consequences.
You may think that the worst case scenario is that you don’t get the job and move on.
Here is what can happen if you do get the job.
Scenario 1 – You get hired and they later decide to verify your GPA – Not only will you get fired, you risk ruining your reputation for future opportunities. What happens if your next employer asks why you left your job? Or if they can contact a reference at your previous job?
Scenario 2 – If they decide to promote you to a higher level position in the future, they may look to verify your education and GPA.
Some job seekers are willing to take the risk but it’s usually not worth it. You will eventually advance in your career and having the fear that they may verify your GPA will make you miserable.