Law Absolute - Recruitment specialists

The best CV lies

23rd March 2015

While it is never a good idea to lie on a CV, a great percentage of us still do. Of course, some lies are more serious than others on a CV, with a slight embellishment of skills being reasonably common. However, while this might land you the job in the short term, if your embellishment gives the impression you are competent in areas that you are not it could easily backfire and see you wishing you had stayed truthful.

In competitive sectors such as the legal sector it is never recommended that you lie or embellish your CV, but instead go to an experienced legal recruitment agency who can help you with everything from how to write a CV and effective CV templates to how best to present your real skills and experience. This will ensure you get the job you deserve and avoid any embarrassment in the future, which could in turn damage your future prospects.

As it turns out, a survey from Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6, 2014 found that a grand total of 58 percent of hiring managers uncovered a lie on a CV and out of these, over half said it would affect the candidate’s chances of ever being hired. The survey found that half of employers (51 percent) said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught them lying on his/her resume.

With such interestingly high statistics, what is it exactly that candidates lie about on their CVs? What do they think will be achieved by lying about their credentials? Here we put together a compilation of the ‘best’, or at least most popular, lies on a CV and their consequences.

The survey found that of all the areas they caught candidates lying about on their CV Accolades/awards equated to 18 percent of all lies. While it may seem tempting to stretch the truth to include a couple of awards or accolades to prove your skills and competence, why not show this through real experience or even an example of where you have shown such skills in either your working or personal life? This way you can talk about these skills in the interview and illustrate your passion for your work, rather than getting caught out for some white lie that doesn’t show your potential.

Where you went to university and the degree that you attained in the end is an important part of the hiring process that employers take note of and, as such, it may come as no surprise that 33 percent lie about their academic degree. But beware, this lie is all too easy for an employer to uncover, as one top performing barrister found out. Dennis O’Riordan held some of the best in-house lawyer jobs in the UK after having lied on his CV, stating that he had degrees from Oxford and Harvard University, when in truth he studied at the University of East Anglia according to this article. The sad fact of the matter is that O’Riordan was more than competent in his position and his clients and colleagues had nothing but praise for his work, it was only his lies that let him down in the end and he was dismissed.

Another common lie that employers catch on their candidates’ CVs is their job title, at 34 percent. While it might seem tempting to give the impression that you have held a position of higher responsibility than what may be the actual case, a quick phone call to your previous employer is all it takes to catch you out.

You may think it is relatively harmless to extend the length of time you worked at a certain company on your CV, to either make it look ‘better’ or to make your experience look more substantial, but again it is never worth lying about something that is so easy to catch you out on. So easy, in fact, that dates of employment equates to 42 percent of the most common lies found on candidates’ resumes.

Finally, the embellished skill set, it’s that time-old issue that sees a huge 57 percent of all fabrications caught by hiring managers. It can be tempting, but what any good recruitment agency will show you is that you can always either show your skills in a way you might not have thought of previously or you can boost your skillset perhaps more easily than you might have thought of previously. By being proactive and developing your skillset yourself to boost your CV, it not only shows the skill in question but shows forward-thinking in that you are willing to work hard to be the best possible candidate and employee.

What you can take from this list of the most common CV lies is that while it may seem like an obvious opportunity to get ahead, it is still undeniably better to be a ‘real boy’. Lying on your CV almost never pays off in the long term, and even if you never get caught you are only cheating yourself out of opportunities further down the line where if you had remained honest you might have developed such skills or job options that you lied about in the first place.

Want to learn how to make your CV the best it possibly can be without the lies? Speak to LAW Absolute today. We can add that magic touch without the strings.

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