Ch. 7: True lies: when marketing becomes deceit

In this chapter you will:

• define a lie

• appreciate the risks of lying on your CV

However well you present your skills and achievements in a positive light, there will probably still be areas of your CV where you wish you had something better to say. It can be very tempting, when looking at these less impressive parts of your CV, to make something up. But the only possible advice for someone in this situation is: Don’t.

Education lies

Let’s say you lie about your grades or qualifications. They don’t quite meet the job spec or aren’t something you feel proud of. What happens when you are asked for evidence? Where would a certificate come from … or could you sit a test to prove your knowledge?
Lies are not just when you claim to have something that you don’t – exaggeration is also a form of lying. You don’t feel proud of your 2.2 in English from Bristol University so you bump it up – just a little – to a 2.1. Or maybe you say you got your degree from Cambridge University instead, as you had a girlfriend there.

How could you possibly be found out? Lots of ways:

  • An interviewer who studied English at Cambridge themselves and wants to know which tutor you had.
  • A chance search on Facebook, where you clearly show as part of the Bristol University network.
  • A pre- (or post-) interview screening by a professional screening company in which your university attendance and results are verified.

Employment lies

When you lie about a former job or exaggerate your responsibilities, what happens when your prospective employer … contacts your old boss? … Googles you and finds an old web page showing your real job title? … asks the professional screening company to make a few calls?

Other lies

There may be some areas of your CV where you think you are quite safe to lie. Little lies, because you can’t possibly get caught – not even by the professionals. A more interesting-sounding interest; elevating your spoken Spanish from tourist to business level; several months’ travel abroad to cover up that inconvenient gap in your employment. If an untruthful CV does get you to interview, can you carry trough your lies convincingly? You could be challenged in any number of ways, not just at interview but in future:

  • You add yoga as an interest: your interviewer turns out to be a Hatha Yoga instructor.
  • You claim advanced spoken German: the HR manager spent a year in the Munich branch (or married a German) and happens to speak it fluently.
  • You add ‘six months’ backpacking in Vietnam’, thinking it an unusual destination, but end up face to face with someone who toured South East Asia during their gap year.
  • You mention abseiling as a hobby, but then refuse to go near a climbing wall during your first corporate event, citing your lifelong fear of heights...

The extract above has been taken from 'Get That Job With the Right CV'
Copyright © 2010 Julie Gray

Get That Job With the Right CV

From Julie Gray, Senior Consultant at The Resume Centre, Get that Job with the Right CV will help to teach you how to write the best possible CV to land that perfect job.

It covers everything from layout and format, through to perfecting a jargon-free writing style, avoiding common pitfalls and tailoring your CV to different jobs.  Julie’s in-depth professional advice and friendly style will guide you through every step of the CV writing process with humour and practicality and give you real confidence to effectively showcase your skills to employers.

As a professional CV writer at The Resume Centre, Julie sees every single day which CVs really achieve results.  This puts her in an excellent position to help you to create a truly exceptional CV of your own.