‘I lied on my CV for a job at an investment bank’

The dates don’t add up 

The interview process can be nerve-wracking enough, without the added stress of trying to keep a fictitious timeline straight in your head. 

“Don’t be tempted to cover up gaps in your employment history by stretching the truth, or by simply listing the years you were employed rather than the specific months,” Ms Cotton advised. “Employment dates will be quickly verified as part of the background check.” 

References don’t back you up 

The reference process is critical in securing a new job and if you have lied about your skills and experience, it’s unlikely that it will back you up, Ms Cotton said.  “The real extent of your job responsibilities and accomplishments will be quickly revealed.” 

A Google search reveals all 

Finally, beware the simple Google search. It is very common for managers to research their candidates before offering the role. If your CV does not match what’s online – via social media such as LinkedIn, or even company pages – it could start to raise doubts. 

How to make your CV shine the right way

Victoria McLean, of the career consultancy firm CityCV, warned that if you ever feel the temptation to embellish your CV, you should first consider what it could cost you in the long term. 

“If you lie, especially if it’s about something critical to your job, and you get caught, you may face disciplinary action or even get fired,” she said. “This can damage both your professional and personal reputation, and you will lose credibility. You may find it difficult to get another job.” 

Instead, Ms McLean advised that applicants should first identify what traits the employer is looking for, and then match your own skills and experiences to that model. “Look at the language the employer uses in the job advert and align your CV to that.”

She added: “If you’ve had a career break, briefly but specifically explain why, and focus on the positives it gave you. 

“For example, if you took time out to care for others, you’ve probably got great time-management and organisational skills. If you went travelling, it can show that you are open to change and new experiences.” 

*Some readers wish not to use their real name. They are masked with an asterisk. 

Have you ever lied on your CV, or spotted an applicant lying on their own? Let us know in the comments section below.

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