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I lied on my resume should I come clean?

I lied on my resume should I come clean?

Q: I was so desperate to find a job that I changed my resume to say I had a master’s degree from a graduate school I only attended for a couple of semesters. I’m terrified my employer will find out and fire me. Is there any way for me to “come clean” without losing my job?

A: Your employer may or may not find out; however, it is evident from your question that you know – and that is enough guidance to tell you what to do. Falsification of an employment application is routinely, if not always, grounds for termination. You should prepare yourself for that likelihood and hope for the best.

Given your situation, two options come to mind.

One, resign, taking on the full burden for your mistake. In this manner, you are self-correcting an unfortunate situation.

Your second option is to determine the highest-ranking official at your present employer with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. If mercy is to be shown, the higher the rank of the person making the decision, the more likely he or she will be able to consider the overall picture – including your work performance, plans to continue your education and repentance.

Initiating the conversation, with an offer to resign, may be the best you can do – except for one major point: Immediately return to graduate school. Your situation suggests you are working in a field where a graduate-level education is a high priority. Therefore, correcting and improving your employability for the long term involves obtaining your master’s degree. No matter which of the above scenarios plays out for you, being currently enrolled in graduate school will improve your circumstances.

My experience with similar matters is that you are likely to lose your current job. Practically speaking, I would therefore recommend you resign and return to school full-time. In order to do so, you may have to temporarily modify your lifestyle, take out school loans and work part-time as you attend school. While that may not seem appealing, it may be a better alternative than to have your employment record blemished with an unfortunate termination. Looking for the positive in your plight, you can consider this the push you needed to complete your degree.

Finally, it is also vitally important that you understand that we all make mistakes in our lives and careers. No one of us is, or has been, perfect, except for the one who forgives us in all circumstances, Jesus Christ. Forgive yourself, seek forgiveness and, then, move on. Doing so is consistent with the faith we live.