Writing a CV can be tricky, with the competition for many jobs being at an all time high and the need to stand out crucial in securing an interview – it’s no surprise that a few of us chose to exaggerate or stretch the truth a little.

While embellishing a few skills or qualities to closer match a job specification can be ok, there comes a point when a bold lie can trip you up and ultimately cost you a job. Here are a few of the worst lies to tell on your CV and how to tackle them more appropriately.

Education

365053569_495a7f36ee_zWhile some employers will take it at face value that you’ve achieved the qualifications you state – others won’t, particularly for roles that specify certain grades/qualifications as essential for the role, or if you’ve recently left education as this is likely where they’ll seek references from.
Make sure you’re honest about what you’ve achieved but don’t forget you can choose what you share with the employer at this point. For example if you achieved poor grades at GCSE and a job asks for good numeracy & literacy but doesn’t specify any particular qualification level – you can just state you’ve achieved the GCSEs and omit the actual grades so you’re not ruled out at this stage.

Employment Gaps

Some employers may get suspicious of any gaps in employment or education, but trying to hide them with lies will not do you any favours, as it’s easy enough for someone to check up on your past, especially if the role requires a DBS check.

Be upfront about any reasons why you have a gap in employment – perhaps you got made redundant and took time out to raise a family, or perhaps you took time off to go travelling, whatever the reason, be honest. Don’t invent a job that never existed just to fill in the missing time and be honest about your dates of employment – this is something employers check up on when seeking references.

It’s important to talk about any gaps positively – even if you were made redundant or raising a family try to think of examples of what you have done instead to use your time effectively. Any courses or training you’ve attended are great examples or perhaps you volunteered with your children’s school – it all adds to build a positive image of yourself as a worker with adaptable skills.

Exaggerating your part in a project

It can be tempting to take sole credit for the successful launch of something that you may have been involved with as part of a team or had a background role in. However, your exaggeration will soon unravel if your potential employer asks for a reference, or checks any kind of public record of the project you’re discussing.

Related: How to Format Your Resume for Job Applications
Try to find real examples of things you’ve achieved or talk positively about your role in any team projects – A team player stands out more than someone who takes over on things so highlight these qualities to the employer instead.

Making up Hobbies

Many people struggle with knowing what to include on what you might think is the least important part of your CV. However, the hobbies and interests section helps an employer gain an insight into your personality. It’s a great opportunity to highlight softer skills that may be relevant to the role you’re applying for – as long as their true!

Making up hobbies however can you leave unstuck if your new employer is into the same things and decides to ask you more about it!

Hobbies can be anything from team sports to social media involvement – blogging or article writing can highlight your interests really well to an employer and is something with a strong credential behind it.

Related: 5 Great Tips for Writing a Successful CV

Your CV needs to be a true reflection of your key skills and achievements – you need to be able to talk about everything that’s on there confidently and positively. Little lies will come out during the interview process, or worse after you’ve secured the role! It’s important to be honest as possible.

photo by: eva

Elaine Mead has been an Employment and Careers Advisor for 2years, working with individuals who have been long term unemployed. She is also an academic and employability skills tutor.

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