Personal Finance

White lies to bogus Olympic medals showing up on résumés

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When it comes to lying on résumés, some people may think it's an Olympic sport.

Some 58 percent of hiring managers said they have caught a lie on a résumé, according to a Harris Poll conducted for CareerBuilder.

The biggest liars? Financial services.

Of the hiring managers who said they found lies, 73 percent were in the financial services industry, followed by leisure and hospitality, health care and retail.

The most common lies have to do with an embellished skill set (57 percent), embellished responsibilities (55 percent), dates of employment (42 percent), job title (34 percent), academic degree (33 percent), companies worked for (26 percent) and accolades or awards (18 percent.)

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The most unusual lies unearthed in the survey included an applicant who claimed to have won an Olympic medal; a "construction supervisor" whose experience was limited to assembly of a doghouse; and a "Jr." who listed the work experience of his father, the "Sr."

One person's lie might be another person's idea of a strong sales pitch, said Amy Friedman, founder and CEO of the New York-based Partners in Human Resources International.

"We think there's a generational difference," Friedman said. Among millennials especially, "there is a lot of puffing-up going on."

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The older people still in the workforce—the baby boomers and Generation Xers—are "less likely to self-promote" and that's one of the reasons they're losing out on job offers, Friedman said.

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The survey of 2,188 full-time hiring managers and human resource professionals was conducted in May and June for the CareerBuilder website, which is owned by Gannett, McClatchy and the Tribune Media Group.

"While occasionally you'll catch a résumé boasting outrageous and clearly falsified information, most lies aren't so obvious and require a bit of research in order to catch," Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder's vice president of human resources, said in an email to CNBC.

"Job seekers should know that, today, almost all employers background check candidates before bringing them on board mainly focusing on dates of employment, titles, education, and responsibilities with previous employers. It is vitally important that your past employment correctly matches what you put on your current résumé so that a potential employer does not immediately eliminate you."

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—By CNBC's Amy Langfield.