Being told not to tell lies is one of the first lessons most of us are taught as children. However, even adults can sometimes be tempted to stretch the boundaries of truth, particularly when it comes to getting something that they really want. It’s not uncommon for people tell a few fibs on CVs, from small white lies through to great big whoppers about qualifications or previous experience. Although you may be tempted to tell a few lies to cover a poor university mark, an experience gap or a lack of technical skills, there are some very good reasons not to lie on your CV:
It’s not necessary for an interviewer to have psychic abilities in order to spot someone who is telling fibs during the interview. Most of us display physical signs of discomfort when we’re lying. Liars often give themselves away subconsciously through their body language and are likely to appear over stressed and uncomfortable. It’s almost impossible to cover these signs up so avoid telling the lie in the first place.
Remember, companies have plenty of resources at their disposal to confirm what you tell them. Referees from former employers can easily give the game away. Social media platforms, such as Linkedin, can be used to-cross reference the information on your CV and search engines bring up a huge array of results that could contain information that contradicts your CV. As we all know, most of us do believe what we read online, so don’t take the risk that there’s something out there that contradicts your CV.
If you pretend to have certain skills and experience that, in reality, you’ve never gained, you could well find it very difficult to do the job, if you get it. You will also have to continue the lie throughout your time with the company and you’ll have to remember every little embellishment you make to it.
If an employer discovers a lie on a CV, it’s pretty much an instant black mark. If you manage to get hired and then found out, it is likely you will be fired – and with the kind of references that could stop you getting another role. People are rarely forgiving about lies on CVs – as Thomas O’Riordan found out in 2013 when the 51-year-old barrister was exposed for having invented a glittering CV, none of which was real. He was forced to quit in disgrace. Even if your boss gives you another chance, are they going to trust you in the future?
Depending on the lies you’ve told, you could find yourself facing serious legal charges – and your company could take action against your if you’ve cost them as a result of lies you’ve told. You’ll then have this on your record forever, which will make gaining the trust of another employer very difficult.
Overall, it’s obviously much better to be honest. History is full of people who’ve tried and failed to get away with employment related lies – Vice President Joe Bidden and ‘colourful personality’ Jeffrey Archer to name a few – and most of the time they fail, with embarrassing consequences.
Whilst keeping the above in mind it is still important to remember that a CV is essentially a sales document – and the product you are selling is yourself! So if, for example, you are worried that your exam results could put someone off, it is better to leave it off altogether rather than lie about it. Whatever you do though, don’t lie about it – the truth usually has a way of coming out in the end.