LinkedIn is undoubtedly the world’s largest professional network, with “nearly 660+ million users” according to the LinkedIn statistics at the end of 2019. It is also a commonplace to show our resume information including current and former positions, as well as education qualifications etc. Having an online resume could be a good way to build one’s identity in this digital age, making us more approachable for job or other networking opportunities.
Currently the online resumes are not fact-checked. LinkedIn does not conduct employment verification, or ask for any proof when we fill in the credential details. Someone can falsify (or “upgrade”) his or her work and education experience, in the hope of making oneself even more approachable, and employable.
There is lack of statistics on the scale of those fake resumes in LinkedIn. A point to note is that “fake resumes” are somehow different from “fake profiles”. A fake profile represents someone that does not truly exist, while a fake resume belongs to a real person who lies. However, since there is no practical way to distinguish between the two, the following analysis covers both fake resumes fake profiles.
The methodology is like this: image we are LinkedIn liars, how would we “polish” our resumes? Picking a reputable firm as previous employer is a must. How about the academic history? Harvard or Stanford looks good. Assuming those LinkedIn liars prefer the association with prestigious schools, we can compare the following two figures and see how well they match each another:
(Note: we focus on schools because analysis on employers is rather difficult, that most companies do not provide data on the total number of former employees.)
Sources of alumni figures: