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I recently received a job offer from one of the tech giants. They sent me a conditional contract and now conducting a background check. Unfortunately I have a lie on my CV regarding the starting date of my current job (the only lie). I included the Master's degree period as part of my current job experience saying I had an intern role (which is a lie) the truth is I only had some projects with my current employer. As I see it I have 2 options:

  1. Write the real starting date in the background check form and then deal with the questions regarding the lack of compliance with my cv (clerk error? Typo? I could say I've done projecs for my current company during the master's degree which is true, and didn't know how to include it in the cv...) Who knows, maybe they don't even have the cv attached to the background check?
  2. Keep lying about the starting date and mark "do not contact my current employee" and hope for the best (then I'd always live in fear)

It is a really big contract for me and I don't know how to proceed please help!


Contacted HR and we could find a solution for it. Thank you everyone.

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    How big is the lie in term of actual timespan?
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 7, 2023 at 20:11
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    How did you have projects for your current company during a time that you were neither an intern nor an employee? What was your actual relationship? If the only thing that is incorrect is that you were "something basically identical to an intern but my master's program doesn't specifically label it as an internship" and you chose a simplified way of presenting the experience, that's a different kettle of fish. Sep 7, 2023 at 20:12
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    If you continue to lie, and the company finds out in a decade, that will not stop them from firing you for cause for that reason. Executives in the highest ranks of some of the biggest companies have been fired for lying on their resume sometimes decades after being hired. Only you know how big of a lie the actual lie is.
    – Donald
    Sep 7, 2023 at 20:18
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    The lie is a white/gray since: After my BSc I started MSc and while doing that I worked for the University as teaching assistant and also I had projects for the current employer which pay to me scholarship for the projects. Not many but some. So I stupidly decided to include that as relevant experience with my current role. The impact is 2 years out of 7 so my real experience is 5.
    – Kevin c
    Sep 7, 2023 at 21:32
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    @Kevinc - That’s a pretty significant lie and nowhere near a “white” lie….
    – Donald
    Sep 8, 2023 at 9:30

2 Answers 2

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Was it a deliberate lie, or simply an error?

Either way the correct solution is to call them immediately and say "Hey, I just noticed an error in my resume; my actual start date at Universal Widgets was Octember 36th 1908, not Febumarch 63rd 1980. Oops! Must have been half asleep when I was editing that. I'd be glad to send you a corrected copy; where do you want it mailed or faxed?"

Advice sometimes given to student pilots: If lost, climb and confess.

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    White/gray lie. Worked for the university as teaching assistant and had some projects for my current employer who paid some scholarship money to me as a student. I stupidly decided to include that experience in my current role.
    – Kevin c
    Sep 7, 2023 at 21:38
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    If I'm correctly understanding that what you were doing was a work study with the school issuing your paycheck not the company or an internship with scholarship funding given in lieu of pay you could try spinning it as a clarification/misunderstanding rather than an error. Sep 7, 2023 at 21:50
  • You're correct. The school was issuing the paycheck not the company. What you suggested is exactly what I am going to say. My only problem is the info in my CV which is misleading stating I started full time job 2 yrs before the real date... so I will have to clarify in the background check that I included that internship in my cv but actually was NOT working for my current employer for 7 yrs and the accurate history is: 2 years working for the university as a teaching assistant and performing some projects for the current employee and then, 5 years in my current position
    – Kevin c
    Sep 7, 2023 at 22:02
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    Your resume suggesting you have 7 years of experience instead of significant less experience (2 years delta is massive) is a pretty significant oversight
    – Donald
    Sep 8, 2023 at 9:33
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    Well... During these 2 yrs I did gain a relevant experience since: 1. I was hired by the university and worked (formal job title is teaching assistant) 2. I gained relevant experience to my current position and also had projects with my current employer. So what I need here is to explain the above as the reason I naively chose to include it under my current role experience
    – Kevin c
    Sep 8, 2023 at 11:09
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Summarising all the comments, the situation seems to be this.

On your CV you have quoted 7 years of employment with your current employer - possibly with 2 years attributed to "internship" (this point is unclear).

In fact you have only 5 years of ordinary employment with your current employer, with the remainder of the time concerning "project work" in collaboration with them. This "project work" was arranged by your university, but not officially called "internship".

You also say you had a role with the university itself as a "teaching assistant".

My first question would be how far different (in terms of time consumed or experience gained) is this "project" work from an internship as commonly understood. And was it reasonably continuous over the 2 years?

Also, is your "teaching assistant" role also clearly shown, and your Master's course?

If the "project work" was spread over most of the 2 years, accounts for 2 years of your time in a substantial way, and if a person could reasonably see that the same span of time was claimed by three different activities (Master's course, teaching assistant, and intern), then I might be inclined to think it corresponds with the truth.

Where I might think it doesn't correspond with the truth, is if the "project work" turned out to be quite trivial, or if the "teaching assistant" role were not shown at all (even though this was, by your own account, one of the main engagements).

If you're being asked to fill in a form for a background check, the easiest thing to do is use the opportunity to explain what the entry on the CV represents, and ask the question about how it should now be represented on the particular form.

It's quite reasonable that a CV may show your working with an organisation, whereas a background check might want to understand who the legal relations were with, who kept the records of the relationship, and how would those records be filed by the organisation, with a view to soliciting verifying information in an effective way.

If you have really deviated from simplifications and "seller's puff" into what many would regard as somewhat of a falsehood, then perhaps the only rescue is to pre-empt the discovery of the falsehood, and explain that you've had new feedback on the matter and you think there's a potential for readers to be misled.

Finally, if you have deviated into what most would regard as obviously mendacious statements, then it may be best to simply withdraw the application and stick with your current employer for a while longer.

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  • I find this comment very helpful. Thank you so much!
    – Kevin c
    Sep 9, 2023 at 8:58

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