I have worked in pharmaceutical sales for the last 24 years 22 with the same company and was downsized. I have interviewed with a company and the have sent me a pre-employment consent form. On my resume I said I have a bachelors degree . But I have only completed 3 years of university. I do have a year dipolma from a business school as well. Usallly I am up front in an interview but was not asked any question about my University. I looked at the job requirements again and it says a university degree is required. My question to you is should I phone the H R person and tell the my situation. If yes should i tell him i will finish my degree at night or online to meet the requirements?

Why, oh, why did you state on your resume that you had a degree when you didn’t? What good can possibly come of that?

Honestly, I think you’ve probably blown your chance at this job–most everyone does background checks and verifying degrees is pretty standard. By all means, call and confess and offer to finish, but I doubt it will do any good.

Sorry to be so pessimistic, it’s just that having a big lie like that on your resume isn’t accidental, so now I can’t trust anything you’ve said.

With that much experience in pharmaceutical sales finding a new job shouldn’t be difficult. Most require a degree, but I bet a lot of companies would be willing to waive that requirement since you have so much experience.

And if you can go back to school and finish the degree, do that.

And update your resume and put that you attended school not that you graduated. You don’t have to worry about things when you stick to the truth.

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6 thoughts on “Oops! I Lied

  1. I really don’t understand what people are thinking when they “make up” a degree. Trust me… someone is going to find out. We see this more and more often, and we often hear excuses like “Well I had enough credits to graduate, just not all in one program.” or “I’m really only one class short.” Both of which baffle me… I can almost sympathize with the “I wouldn’t have learned anything more in college than, I learn in x years on the job.” arguement, because, well it’s probably true… but it doesn’t justify saying you have a degree when you don’t.

    (You can see my rant on this here )

  2. Karen–I just read your rant and I agree with you even though you imply that political science degrees are nothing to be proud of.


  3. Here’s a related question: Should people include names of schools they’ve attended if they haven’t graduated? As a resume-writer, my answer to that is yes, as long as the resume makes it clear that no degree was earned. But I’ve seen plenty of resumes that have a school listed under “Education” that have a couple of years of attendance listed but no degree. That’s just confusing, in my opinion.

  4. Personally I would not try to clear this up with them it is too late. In my opinion you only have one option and that is to let them know that you are no longer interested in the position.

  5. Lea, I’m curious about how far you would take that on a resume. I have four degrees as it is; if I listed the time I concurrently went to community college, the summer classes I took at another university, and a couple of other similar situations, my resume length would probably be bumped into adding another page.

    So instead I just list the three universities where I got the degrees, including relevant information like the majors and graduation dates, and presume that’s enough for a potential employer. I’ve done this for both office accounting/payroll positions and legal positions; no one has ever wanted more or cared about anything more than the degrees I had and where and when I got them.

  6. Ibn Tumart, I just found your comment. Your approach to listing education is the one I advocate — list the school, the year graduated, and the degree obtained. My original comment was directed at folks who take a few classes but never complete a degree, yet list the school(s) on their resumes without including the year(s) attended. When a job applicant includes a graduate date and a degree, then I know he/she has graduated. When a resume says, “X University, 2000-2002,” I have no idea whether that means an associate’s degree was completed, the applicant dropped out, or even what he/she studied and whether or not it’s relevant to the position.

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