Tweaking’, ‘Little White Lies’ and ‘Bending the truth’, call it what you will – many people have lied on their CV to some extent at some point in their lives! In fact, according to research the figure of job seekers who lie on their CV is thought to vary between 25% – 50%, with the majority of lies told on CV’s reported to being bogus qualifications, altering dates to cover gaps of unemployment and over inflating your previous salary.
‘Inventing the truth’
Your CV is, of course, a plotted history of your qualifications, achievements and employment and is widely used by employers to help them make the decision whether or not you are the right person for them and the job for which you have applied. In general, employers are not only looking for someone with the experience, qualifications and personality to fulfil the role, but also someone with integrity and honesty to act in the best interests of the business at all times. With this in mind, a lie, however ‘little’ or ‘white’ is likely to be frowned upon if it is discovered and your prospective employer will ask themselves if you are really the type of person they want on board with them. Most facts bending the truth are not initially discovered at the filtering stage of the application process. In addition, if you are invited to interview on the strength of your CV, some skilled interviewers may pick up on discrepancies and if you have lied on your CV it is easier to trip yourself up during the interview with information coming out of your mouth that does not match what is written in black and white. If you are offered a job on the strength of your CV and subsequent interview now is the time to worry if you have lied on your CV. Most untruths are uncovered at the reference stage, and a job offer is likely to be withdrawn if you are found to be a fraud.
You will probably get away with it……but……
It’s true. You may get away with barefaced lies on your CV and find yourself in your dream job, only to find a few years down the line they come back and haunt you. Lies to cover lies are commonplace and you had better remember your tangled web of deceit is there, or risk getting caught up in it at a later stage. At the very worst, some lies told on a CV will actually break the law, for example inventing and creating a false certificate of training or qualification. This is called ‘making a false instrument’ and has a similar standing in the law as forgery. ‘False representation’ is also commonplace, such as inventing a bogus reference. In extreme cases, both these charges, if convicted, can face a heavy fine or a stint at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. You have been warned!
This is not to say that you cannot use persuasive or self inflating language. Exaggeration of actual facts is generally widespread and even accepted at some levels, but outright lies can, at best, cause much embarrassment for you, anger and mistrust for your employer and at the worst lead to a dismissal or legal action.
Writing a CV can be tricky to make sure you elevate yourself above the competition, but it is best not to follow temptation and walk down deception alley. The risks really do not outweigh the benefits and in some cases the repercussions can be so severe, you chances of finding good, reputable employment will be minimised. Remember that in this age of information at everyone’s fingertips, as well as some sectors of the business world being very tightly knit, so any discrepancies against your name will circulate fast. By telling the truth on your CV you will have nothing to fear come the interview and (hopefully!) job offer stages.