Several commenters said my post lacks context, so I will try to provide more of it.

I am a software tester who has transitioned into this role recently. During the last year, I have been taking intensive online classes and studying and practicing outside class.

The school part is over, and now my classmates and I are working on resumes, prepping for interviews, etc. The people operating the school as well as other professionals I know told me that in order to break into the tester industry we have to look like we have 5-7 years of experience; therefore, our resume has to reflect several years of experience.

I know three people who have also gone to tester schools, not the same one as me, and they all dealt with the same situation, so it is not only the school I went to that says this about the resume. I had to make-up/create some past job experiences in order to make myself look experienced in cumulative years (I do have the relevant knowledge and skills...).

I had several seasoned testers (who know me) peer-review my resume, and one of them advised me to leave out the company names, and this person said that that's how she has her resume and seen others do likewise. This person is the only person to suggest this, and I never heard of leaving out company names on resumes, and this is why I am trying to get a broader range of opinions. Is this a good idea, not including company names? I assume since these past jobs don't really exist for me, maybe that's why I should not include the company names...?

  • 5
    Yea, we are not going to help you con your way into a job.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 18:17
  • 6
    Do not lie on your resume. Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 2:29
  • 2
    Please add a location tag. There are some third world countries where I can imagine this, but in western society, anybody giving this advice should be removed from their teacher job.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 6:26
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    @ScrumSucks You cannot really miss someone lying about 5-7 years of job experience. If they can lie that well they have missed a good job opportunity in marketing.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 6:29
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    "I am a software tester who has transitioned into this role recently" Are you a professional tester or a student? Have you ever worked as a tester? Also, this seems so alien to most of us that we need to know if it is location specific, what country is this? Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 10:16

2 Answers 2


Many of the people reading your post are, like me, seasoned IT professionals who are really shocked that you should consider such deception, and also that you should be asking for advice from us on how to carry it out. We have been on both sides of the interview desk, we wouldn't dream of lying like this if we were applying for a position, and would be appalled if we found any candidate had tried to pull this sort of deception on their CV.

You say that your school (and others), and your peers, consider this the only way to get into the industry. I've worked in a few different countries and cultures and I've never seen this happen. It may be common in some locations or more likely, you are being given bad advice. Trying to pretend you have five to seven years experience when you have none is a recipe for disaster because training courses only give you part of the story. Industry works very differently to any sort of academia, there will be a thousand little things you don't know that will be expected of an experienced tech worker. Worst of all, you may well screw up a project and damage the careers of those you work with.

To answer your question; if you leave out the company names your CV will look unusual, suspicious and probably be passed over, if you include company names, you risk your prospective employers contacting them.

What you need to do is either continue with your current testing job and build up your experience (if, as you say, you have already transitioned into a testing job) and use the courses you've taken to advance your career. Or if you are trying to break into the industry you should create some personal side projects, offer your services to open source projects and the like, build up an honest CV, start at the bottom like the beginner you are, and develop your career.


EDIT: You are nuts if you are trying to pretend to have 5-7 years of testing experience when you have none. That is too big a lie, lol.

Leaving out company names is absurd

If you really want to use the dishonest strategy, you would want to put bankrupt companies (nobody for the company to call to check) or fake companies where you can just use a friend to provide a reference. Reference checks aren't generally done by the CIA, so as long as you choose a company that cheaps out on the background checks, this is a workable strategy. Much of the verification of this type is just calling the numbers or emailing the emails that you provide for references, so these can be faked too. Leaving out companies looks absurdly suspicious.

But let me provide an alternative to lying. You say that you have the skills. Prove it to the companies you want to work for as a cover letter/project.

One of my most successful job search strategies has been to prove that I can do the job beforehand. At ATB Financial, I created a slide deck of innovative fintech ideas I thought they could use (the job was for their innovation group). At another company where I got an offer but had to turn it down, I built them a new API for a feature I thought they could add. At another, I went and found the quiz they gave to new hires, filled it out, and turned it in as a cover letter.

If you are an automated tester, spend an hour building a Selenium test suite for each of your top 5 companies. If you are a manual tester, write up a test plan for the first half hour and execute it for the next half hour.

Make it easy to be judged by your skills.

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