No matter the reason, having a gap in your resume can be a little awkward. While it’s perfectly reasonable to take time off from work for mental health issues, to take care of a loved one, or simply just to take a break from work life, employers can scrutinize job gaps on a CV for a variety of reasons.
“A resume gap could signal you had trouble finding a new job after a job loss, or that you have difficulty making a commitment. They may wonder what you were doing while unemployed and whether you’re trying to hide something,” writes the National Council on Aging. “More importantly, they want to be sure your absence from the workforce doesn’t imply behavioral patterns or attitudes that might make you a risky hire.”
As a result, once one has a gap in their resume, they may be forced to explain their situation to their employer, even if there isn’t much of a reason to give for it. Now, the comedy podcast Well, I Laughed has gone viral after proposing a solution: lie.
In a clip with over 3.9 million views, the podcast hosts discuss how to explain such a gap.
“If anyone’s like, ‘Can you explain this gap in your resume?’ You know what you have to say, right?” asks host Grant Thomas. “Say, ‘no, I cannot. I signed an NDA.’”
@wellilaughed Be gay. Do crime. Charge phone. Eat hot chip. You signed an NDA. 🤷🏻♀️ #podcast #podcaster #radio #spotify #resume #nda ♬ original sound
For context, an NDA or Non-Disclosure Agreement “is a legally binding contract that establishes a confidential relationship,” per Investopedia. Theoretically, this could explain why one could not discuss a previous project, as doing so may violate the provisions of the agreement.
“Lie. I don’t know what else to tell you,” Thomas adds. “Put your three best friends as your references. It’s so easy to fake an email account. You can Google Docs edit a paystub…None of this is permanent.”
Needless to say, this podcast is comedic, so it’s unclear if the advice is genuine. This also goes against the advice of career experts, who insist that your resume should be an accurate if slightly exaggerated representation of previous work experience.
That said, the idea of lying on your resume—and specifically using a fake NDA to explain a career gap—has picked up steam online in recent months. A meme referencing the idea accumulated over 41,000 upvotes when posted to the subreddit /r/AntiWork. The same meme similarly gained over 200,000 likes on Twitter.
Back on TikTok, users shared their own thoughts on resume and interview lies.
“going to make a NDA for myself and sign it,” wrote a user. “I asked myself not to talk about it.”
“I also heard to enter a name of a company that closed,” added another. “No one would be able to verify your employment.”
“I always use my friends as references and it has never failed,” claimed a third. “I also have given AMAZING references for jobs I never worked.”
The Daily Dot reached out to the Well, I Laughed podcast via email.
Update 2:57pm CT June 28: In an email to the Daily Dot, Thomas said he initially recalled hearing about the tip at a party.
“I think I first heard the joke at a party. And it is definitely more of a joke than actual career advice,” he explained. “I am not a career coach by any means, and have always found the comment really humorous.”
“I don’t know anyone personally who has used the advice, but since the video was published the comments are full of people sharing their experiences having done it in the past,” he detailed. “It looks like it has worked for some people and not others. Recruiters have also seemed very split on whether to say this or not!”
There are other messages in the video beyond the NDA hack, he noted.
“I think the part of the video that has resonated most with people is the idea that you need to be your own self-advocate. That no one is going to look out for you more than you will for yourself,” he shared. “And that ‘faking it until you make it’ is part of the experience for a lot of people.”