Why honesty is the best policy for your CV

Jun 16, 2016 | Blog


Creating a fantastic CV that will stand out from the rest is a vital part of the job seeking process. It is a way of showing potential employers, at the very first stage, what you are capable of and why they should consider you. It is the reason you do or do not get to the that next stage – the interview.

It’s normal to want to compare yourself to others, and thanks to professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, it’s very easy to do. As a result, many job applicants feel that their CV is simply not competitive enough. Perhaps they haven’t accomplished enough, or don’t have too much in the way of work experience. In situations like this, it can be extremely tempting to tell a little lie here or there.

Most people exaggerate to a lesser degree on their CV. After all, you’re selling yourself. Making a project you ran in your earlier career years sound a bit more important than it actually was isn’t going to do much harm as long as you can back it up if grilled about it. It’s when you make the project up in the first place that problems can and will abound. You may feel that you have the skills to be able to back up any questions about a fictitious episode on your CV but lying will always get you caught out at some point. It’s really not worth taking the risk. This is especially true if the job requires certain sets of skills. A very competitive job market means that most people want to look as attractive to employers as possible and stretching the truth may be what they think is best, and certainly, it is true that some get away with lying on their CVs. In most cases, however, they end up being caught out.

Looking at the worst case scenarios – lying on your CV can destroy your chances of getting the job at both the initial application and interview stage as well block any further applications to that company. If you do manage to make it past that stage, you may damage your reputation within the workplace if you are caught out later on. Below are some more reasons as to why lying on your CV is a really bad idea:

Background checks are now very easy to do

The internet has made it much easier for companies to conduct background checks on potential employees. If the company is impressed by the look of your CV, they may conduct a background check and find out if it is truthful or not. Naturally, if they find out that you have lied, they will not be hiring you.

You may fail the job interview

The interview is a crucial part of the hiring process and companies use this as a chance to assess the applicant’s personality and how well they would gel with the other employees in the company. Many of the questions that come up in interviews aim to verify the information on the CV and to further understand it. If you can’t expand on what you wrote on your CV or your answers fail to sync up, it will be game over at interview stage for your application.

You may get fired if found out

Stating that you have a certain set of skills or capabilities on your CV, when you actually do not can be found out very easily. Accordingly, you might find yourself out of your depth and because you claimed to know something you actually don’t, asking for help will be tricky and give the game away.

Your reputation may be ruined

People talk. If you are found to have lied on your CV, your reputation will be damaged in the workplace and maybe even in the whole industry. Other companies may hear about the incident and will be less inclined to hire you if you apply for a job with them later on.

There is a thin line between presenting your CV in a way that would appeal to certain jobs and just plain lying. The fact of the matter is that an outright lie or lying by omission are both untruths that can be swiftly found out and lead to serious career damage.

So if you feel that your CV is not up to scratch, learn to be creative but stick to the truth. If you’re honest and you don’t get the job, you will always be able to reapply to the same company or position later on down the line when you’ve improved your skills or qualifications. Lie and you won’t get a second chance!

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