These days, the typical job application tends to contain two oddly repetitive steps.
First, an applicant is required to upload or submit their resume. Then, the same applicant is asked to fill in almost all of the information on their resume all over again, usually including work history, education, and credentials.
This strange practice has many applicants asking, “why do I have to waste my time with all of this?”
TikToker and career advisor Kirstie (@careersbykirstie) recently went viral for sharing one potential answer to that question, and it has to do with legal recourse. Her video currently has over 249,000 views.
@careersbykirstie Work history section fighting for its life to stay relevant #careeradvice #resume #application #jobs #hrtips ♬ original sound – Careersbykirstie
“Here’s why employers will ask you to fill out the work history section, even after you’ve submitted your resume,” Kirstie’s video starts. “It’s because the resume is not a legal document, and they can’t hold you to the information that you put on there, but they can on that application.”
“Do with that information as you will,” her video concludes.
According to legal experts, Kirstie is right.
Investopedia explains that “because resumes are not official, legal documents, it is not technically illegal to lie on a resume,” provided that the applicant does not supplement their lies with other fraudulent documentation like a fake diploma.
A job application, in contrast, is a legal document after it is signed and dated by the applicant.
“When signed and dated by the applicant, an application becomes a legal document that gives the employer recourse if, down the road, it is found the applicant or employee falsified information,” Smart HR writes.
LawDepot adds that lying on an application can make the applicant vulnerable to lawsuits, fines, and, depending on the severity of the lie, jail time.
Furthermore, lying on one’s resume can also negatively affect the applicant after they’ve been hired.
“Generally speaking, employees who have lied on their resumes have no legal recourse against their former employers,” Investopedia claims. “This can also impact a former employee’s ability to seek legal recourse for an employer’s actions which may have been legitimately illegal.”
On TikTok, viewers said that, regardless of the reason, having to fill out their work history after already submitting a resume often dissuades them from pursuing that job further.
“Good to know. I excuse myself if I have to fill it out after I upload my resume. Worse than asking for a cover letter,” one user wrote.
“I literally write, ‘see attached resume’ in the field that asks me to type my work history,” another stated.
“When I see this section in an application I just stop right there and assume that the job isn’t for me,” a third shared.
We’ve reached out to Kirstie via email.
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