Your CV is the employer’s first impression of you and so it needs to sell you, but it is important that it is truthful. Most employers nowadays will run a background check on potential employees and more often than not they will contact your references. If you are successful in getting a job based on lies and mis-information but are found out later on – you could be dismissed and may find it difficult to get a reference from that point forward, which could make obtaining a future role even harder.
We’re taking a look at the most common lies people tell on their CVs:
1. Stretching dates of employment
If you are under the impression that being employed for less than a year will affect your chances of being employed, you are mistaken. In today’s working world, many people are jumping from job to job. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as each role and industry has some relation. It is all about the skills you have learned during each role and the achievements rather than the time spent.
2. Enhancing job titles and responsibilities
There are some weird and wonderful job titles out there – each one made to appear super professional and authoritative. Senior Genius Supervisor Consultant may sound awesome, but is this what you have been employed as? And don’t go exaggerating saying you were the directors wing person and managed teams of hundreds of people with a budget of a billion pounds if it is not true. Say it how it is. Embellishing what you’ve done in the past can trip you up if you’re expected to take on similar tasks now and find you’re unequipped for the role.
3. Exaggerating education and qualifications gained
This is a serious one. If you risk lying about your qualifications, especially if the said qualification is required to perform the job role, then you could be fired and the employer will also find themselves in deep water.
4. Inflating accomplishments and skills
Similarly, to enhancing job titles and responsibilities, if you didn’t do it, or don’t know how to use it, don’t list it. There is a clear difference between being confident on what you have achieved and flat out lying.
5. Unexplained gaps in employment & self-employed roles
Rather than try to make up a role to justify a gap in employment, try to be honest with the employer. If your reason for unemployment was to travel, raise children or simply be fortunate enough to have a break, then explain that to them. You should not be judged for taking time off.
6. Fabricating reasons for leaving past job
This is extremely common. As you know, it is never advised to bad mouth a previous employer, but there is a way of explaining that you have been fired or quit unexpectedly due to circumstances within the workplace. Always be positive about the reason to put yourself in the best light to the new employer. If you simply didn’t like the role, explain that it wasn’t giving you the development you were hoping for or that the job description didn’t match what you were doing on a day to day basis.
7. Proving fraudulent references
Do not coerce friends and family to pretend to be your boss. It may seem like the easiest option, but if you feel you cannot ask someone who you worked with for a reference, then you need to ask yourself if you did anything wrong to make you feel this way. If you didn’t have direct dealings with your previous boss, look for the next senior person to give you a valid reference, someone who has worked alongside you and can validate your work.
Honesty is really the best policy when it comes to writing your CV. The lies don’t end once you have been hired – the real theatre performance continues as you have to keep up with the lie and be sure that you don’t end up putting your foot in it with one wrong comment. We all have a past, but be confident that the job you are applying for is something that you know you could do. If you are convinced that telling the truth won’t get you hired, you may be surprised. Employers don’t expect you to be perfect angels – even though you are.