Lying on your resume can have serious consequences that can negatively impact your career both in the short and long term. If your lie is discovered by a potential employer, it can lead to immediate rejection from the job application process, damage your reputation, and even result in being fired if you have already been hired. Add in the fact that you’re being investigated for a public trust? National security does not like liars.

This ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber is in this exact pickle:

So I got an offer for a DevOps position for a Government contract. But I lied on my resume that I was a DevOps Engineer in my previous job meanwhile I was a maintenance technician. I just a received a call from an investigator for an interview on Friday. I’m not sure if they are going to call my employer. Please any advice?

Lying on your resume could lead to legal consequences, especially if the false information provided is related to certifications, qualifications, or experience that are necessary for the job.

Moreover, dishonesty on your resume can harm your professional credibility and make it difficult for you to secure future job opportunities. Employers value honesty and integrity in their employees (especially in the cleared space if you are in a position of public trust), and a lack thereof can lead to a loss of trust and credibility in the eyes of potential colleagues and supervisors moving forward.

Employers are contacted either by mail or in person depending on the level of clearance. A basic investigation may simply ask to verify that you were employed and not your job title, but it’s possible that it could come up. One investigator notes that letters may be sent to former employers asking for job titles – in your interview with the background investigator, it’s best to fess up on the mismatched job titles.

It’s always best to be truthful on your resume and focus on highlighting your genuine skills, experiences, and qualifications to secure a job that is the right fit for you and your career goals Lying on your resume may not come up in the background investigation, but it’s important to be forthcoming and not look like you’re trying to withhold information. Reliability and trustworthiness are key parts of the security clearance process. Be honest, indicate why you didn’t tell the truth on your resume, and you have a decent chance of being able to obtain clearance eligibility.


Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” This case-by-case system is meant to consider the whole person, increase process security, and allow the lowest-risk/highest-need candidates to complete the process. However, it also creates a  lot of questions for applicants. For this reason, ClearanceJobs  maintains – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed  on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸