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Lying on Your CV: The Facts

By Guest Writer

Updated April 19, 2021 Updated April 19, 2021

Guest post: Rachel Campbell

When striving to improve your chances of getting an interview for that job you really want, it can be all too tempting to make some slight exaggerations to the bare facts. But is it ever really worth taking the risk of lying on your CV to get ahead?

How many people lie on their CVs?

According to a UK Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) survey on graduate data fraud, around 33% of graduates or job seekers falsify important information on their CVs every year. Amongst the culprits, 40% exaggerate their academic qualifications, while 11% make up a degree altogether.

While it may seem like just a “little white lie”, making false statements on your CV can actually have very serious consequences.

The consequences of lying on your CV

Including false information in a job application is considered fraud. Lying on your CV could cost you the job in the long run, either when the employer realizes you are unable to carry out the role sufficiently, or when they find out the truth about your supposed qualifications. In severe cases, where a qualification is required to legally carry out a job, legal action could also be taken against you.

While more often than not, lying on your CV is unlikely to end in a court case, it can damage your reputation as a future employee if other companies find out.

Is it ever OK to lie on your CV?

Lying about a degree or qualification is never a good idea. While many people make slight exaggerations about their hobbies, interests and skills, this is also far from recommended. Rather than falsifying information, why not try something else?

How to improve your CV without lying

Take the time to thoroughly research the company, by looking at their site, reading through the job description and finding out more about the employees that already work there.

Use this information to figure out the most relevant skills or qualifications you possess, and emphasize these as much as possible in your CV. Make sure that you position relevant expertise at the top of your application, to catch the attention of the employer and boost your chances of being invited to an interview.

Also, bring your hobbies and interests into the mix. Find ways to relate them to the company culture in order to show you are an ideal fit for the business. Make sure these come immediately after your qualifications and experience on your CV, and also include them in your cover letter, so the employer can see how your interests are relevant to the role.

If you’ve already lied on your CV…

If you have applied for a job using a CV containing false statements, try to rectify the situation. Contact the employer and let them know that there are some errors on the application that you’d like to change. Making the employer aware at this stage will help you avoid difficulties further down the line.

If you are even further into a job application, you may want to consider withdrawing your application, particularly if the statements are in no way true. Choosing to end the process here will allow you to maintain your reputation, rather than damaging it should you get found out at a later stage.

Lying on your CV can severely damage your career before it even begins. It is important to be honest when applying for jobs, even if you feel that you lack the experience and qualifications you desperately want. Think about the time you would spend conjuring up false statements and instead, invest those hours in either gaining relevant skills or improving your job applications.

Rachel Campbell is a content writer for Portfolio Credit Control, an expert recruitment agency which can candidates along the way to finding their ideal role in credit control.

This article was originally published in June 2015 . It was last updated in April 2021

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