Painting a pretty picture won’t work if it’s worth a thousand lies. If you think everyone lies in their resume, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

The cost of exaggerating your skills

Your resume is designed to sell your qualifications in the best light. There’s nothing wrong with a little exaggeration, right?

Wrong. Lying on your resume or in a job interview isn’t the same as dressing to impress; it’s a criminal act of fraud designed to mislead people into trusting you with the wellbeing of their business. A sketchy employment history may lose you the job, but you stand to lose much more by lying about it.

In today’s internet generation, it’s not easy to fly under the radar undetected. Losing your job is just the tip of the iceberg; you’d be lucky if that’s all you get away with. The long term ramifications of being exposed as a fraud may affect your career and your reputation for the rest of your life.

If you’re reported to the authorities, you face punishment of a hefty fine, jail time, or both. On top of that, your employer may choose to take legal action against you, compounding the damages.

It’s easy to get caught

It’s hard to get away with lying in the internet age. These days, just about every professional has a LinkedIn profile. There are also many other digital footprints you leave across the web – past e-mails, blogs, and other social media accounts. It just takes one person to stumble across the wrong piece of information on the net, to start pulling apart your carefully-constructed façade.

You’ll be expected to deliver results based on the skills and abilities you claim to have. Not doing so is a sure giveaway that you haven’t been entirely honest about your qualifications. There are much better ways to negotiate a competitive salary without having to lie about your past. Check out our Robert Half Salary Guide for a comprehensive breakdown of industry benchmarks.

Background checks are becoming more frequent

The truth is that falsification seems to be on the rise in Asia, with Singapore leading the pack at 18.88 percent and Hong Kong at 16.38 percent. To counter this, employers and recruitment agencies are performing more stringent background checks on their prospective employees. The chances of getting caught have never been greater.

Sir Walter Scott once wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” It’s as true now as it was back then. Lies need to be maintained with yet more lies, and most people slip up eventually. The short-term gains rarely outweigh the long-term losses. When it comes to job hunting, honesty really is the best policy.