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The 5 Most Common Lies on CV’s (and Why You Shouldn’t Put Them on Yours).

The 5 Most Common Lies on CV’s (and Why You Shouldn’t Put Them on Yours).


When it comes to writing your CV or resume, you might be tempted to beef it up a little. Add some extra experience here, altering the dates there. White lies, some people call them. Assuming that enhancing your chances of landing the job is harmless.

However, lying on your CV is something that employers and business owners take very seriously. And with around 85% of people lying on their CV in 2017 (according to HireRight), it’s a trend that’s on the rise. And often, what might seem like a small lie on your CV or resume can carry a much larger risk than you first thought.

Here are the most common lies on a CV and why it’s a bad idea to put them on yours.


Lying About Your Education.

Many candidates believe that changing their grades on a CV is a victimless crime. After all, the business you’re applying for isn’t likely to contact a school you left several years ago to check, right?

Candidates often bump up their grades in primary subjects, such as maths or English, as well as relevant subjects for the roles. The most common being ICT or computer studies. Yet candidates often refrain from bumping up their grades in subjects that aren’t immediately relevant, such as PE and religious studies. Often, the large gap in these subjects signals an indication that the grades may not be 100% accurate.

Why You Shouldn’t Lie About Your Education:

Your education is not the be-all and end-all of your working career. Plenty of successful people started by doing poorly in school, or even dropping out. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both dropped out of high school, whilst Simon Cowell barely made it through school.

Your school grades reflect your ability to study and learn at the time. Business owners know that people change and would often prefer experience over education anyway. If you’re caught lying about your education, the business will likely believe that you cannot be trusted, and not offer you the position. After all, why would they employ someone who wasn’t honest with them?


Lying About Your Qualifications or Experience.

Speaking of experience over education, candidates lying about their qualifications and previous experience is extremely common. Because of this, business owners must be extremely careful when going through the recruitment process.

Having a basic understanding of a technology or piece of equipment is not the same as having experience or skill in using it. Because of this, it’s best to be clear when mentioning any skill or experience on your CV or resume.

Why You Shouldn’t Lie About Your Qualifications or Experience:

Lying about an experience or qualification may seem relatively harmless, but as soon as you scratch below the surface, you’re opening people up to more risks than you’d think.

For example, if you’re lying about having experience as a receptionist, your lack of skills could result in document filing being incorrect, which results in lost business for the parties involved. Or, if you lie and say you’ve got a qualification in using heavy machinery, you put yourself as well as others at risk of physical harm.

Don’t risk it. If you’re not qualified or experienced, explain why that can be a benefit such as learning how to do the job from scratch. Turn negatives into a positive.


Altering Dates.

You may be tempted to alter dates of employment to make your time at a business or company just a tad longer. Or, perhaps you’re unsure of a specific date, but you put one anyway. Because business owners want a specific date, right? Surely that doesn’t count as lying?

Why You Shouldn’t Alter Your Start/Finish Dates:

It may seem small, but if you’re not sure of an exact date, you can simply put the month in which you joined or left a position. As, if you put one date, the business calls your reference to check, and your previous employer gives a different date, it can look suspicious as to why you’ve changed the dates. Because, for all they know, you’ve lied about when you started or left a position or business.

Steer clear of this. When applying for a job position, the last thing you want is negative suspicion from your potential new employers.


Exaggerating Responsibilities.

This one is much like lying about qualifications or experiences.

Put your genuine responsibilities in each of your previous experiences. Because if you start listing responsibilities such as taking calls and organising meetings for a job described as ‘cleaner’, it’ll soon become obvious that you’re slightly exaggerating what was expected of you.

Additionally, listing your responsibilities isn’t the place to flex. If you once went out of your way to help get a job done, it’s not considered a responsibility of your previous role. Instead, this would do better when you’re asked how you went above and beyond in the past. For more tips on job interviews, check out our Ultimate Job Interview Guide.

Why You Shouldn’t Exaggerate Your Responsibilities:

If your lie becomes the reason you land the new job or position, it’ll soon become apparent. Not only this but as previously mentioned, your lie could be putting others as well as yourself at risk.


Made-Up References.

Many people are unaware that you don’t have to put a reference for every job or position you’ve ever had. After all, the reference you may have had several years ago may no longer work for the business. Failing this, you may not have kept contact with this reference for some time. If this is the case, you should not put their details on a CV or resume. Only use the details of someone willing to be a reference.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon for candidates to make up their references, often supplying the contact numbers of their friends or relatives instead. So, no. If you were considering doing this, thinking you’ve had a unique idea, you haven’t. And trust me, employers know that candidates sometimes do this.

Why You Shouldn’t Make Up References:

This is once again a case of the lie not being worth it. If you’re caught out, this lie will often discredit your entire CV. If you’re caught lying about a reference, employers will more than likely assume that part of your CV is fabricated. And, if they assume this, what’s to say they won’t think your entire CV is a lie?

Avoid trouble. Either put a genuine reference or leave out a reference for that position.


There you have it. Avoid these lies, and you’ll have a better chance of succeeding in your job interview. However, if you’re looking for more tips on how to nail that job interview, be sure to click here for part one and here for part two.

If you’re interested in reading more blogs from the world of recruitment and job searching, browse our collection here. Or, if you’re ready to apply for a new job, check out our open positions here.

Thank you for reading, and good luck with your next job interview!


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