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Your CV is you on a piece of paper, and more often than not, it will be the only thing that a potential employer has to create an image of you in their minds. You want to come across in the best way possible, with experience that best fits the criteria of the job, a good educational background and some enticing skills and interests to boot. But no matter how brilliant you want to come across as, you should never lie!
Of course, it’s tempting, and let’s be honest, we’ve all told a little white lie or exaggerated the truth at one point, but there is a time and a place, and on your CV is not one of them. One little lie can really damage your career and any company or boss will want a trustworthy, honest and genuine employee. After all, if you are caught out once, how do they know that you’re not a compulsive liar and won’t do some harm to the company if they employ you?
It’s not just at the beginning of your career that you have to take this into consideration either. Whatever job you apply for, your CV is always going to be looked at in great detail. In May 2012, Scott Thompson, Chief Executive of Yahoo, had to step down after he was accused of including a fake computer science degree on his CV. Can you imagine reaching that high-point in your career and then being caught out like that? It’s not worth it – if you haven’t done or achieved it, don’t claim to have! Here are some areas of a CV that can often bring a few fibs and exaggerations, and reasons why they don’t make you look good in the long run.
• Gaps in employment: If you started at a company and after 3 weeks you decided it wasn’t for you then don’t hide this. Recruiters and employers will notice there’s a gap and be suspicious. It’s not a bad thing realising that a role isn’t for you!
• Lying about qualifications: “No-one ever checks GCSE or A-level results”, “Just say you got a 2:1” – heard these before? Not true. Take the Scott Thompson – these lies will come back to haunt you.
• Skills and Achievements – If you’ve reached grade 8 in piano, put it on your CV. If you haven’t, don’t! What if you’re asked to do a recital in your interview? You never know what to expect!
Now more than ever employers and recruiters are able to dig a bit deeper and do some background checking, especially with the help of the Internet. Linkedin will show your career history and often provide contact details for past employers or colleagues and no matter how ‘private’ you intend your Facebook profile to be, there are always ways of finding the fibbers! Lying on your CV is immoral and highly risky. Be proud of what you have achieved and write your CV in a way to make those achievements sound exciting and yourself indispensable to an employer.