Whether you are unemployed and looking to get back into work or already in a job, your CV / resume is a vital part of the recruitment process.  You want to give yourself the best chance of landing an interview. Some people find the temptation to ’embellish’ or exaggerate certain areas.  However, lying on your CV is NOT recommended.

Why lying on your CV is not recommended

The main point that people often forget is the purpose of a CV or resume.  Your CV is meant to get you an interview – not the job.  That is down to you!

Your CV is an introduction to employers or hiring managers.  It may be used as a legal document.  A CV is what gives employers the information they need to have about you – both professional and person.  It is your chance to sell yourself by highlighting your skills, qualities, achievements, qualifications and work record – so should be a true reflection of you.  By lying on your CV you could give a false impression to the reader.

A well written CV should draw the reader’s attention to the most important and relevant aspects that show you are a great candidate for the job. If your CV achieves its goals, then you should expect to be asked about these things at interview.  For example, if you state you graduated with honours – you should be prepared to be asked about this and be able to prove it at interview.

The difference between embellishing, omission and lying on your CV

While your CV is meant to inform the reader of your professional record, it does not have to be a lengthy document that includes everything.  In general most employers are happy with the last 10 years or your last 5 jobs. There are different CV formats that allow you to present this information in a variety of ways.

Most of us have a 2 or 3 page CV.  This gives you the opportunity to catch the reader’s attention with short, snappy sections.  It also allows you to be selective about the information you include.

If you have a lengthy work history or have had lots of different roles, it is totally understandable that you highlight the most relevant posts as you have limited space.  But does omitting a role count as lying on your CV?

An example of acceptable omission might be qualifications and grades achieved in exams.  There is nothing wrong in listing your qualifications gained without giving grades – there is no deception and you can explain your reasons at interview if asked.  However listing qualifications that you do not have is deliberate lying with the intention to deceive.  If you were questioned about the ‘non-existent qualification’ at interview would you admit the truth or compound the lie?  Think of the consequences.

The consequences of lying on your CV

What is the difference between bending the truth a little to make yourself look better and lying on your CV?

Employers, human resource teams and hiring managers are normally experienced in their jobs.  They can usually spot if something does not seem right on a CV.  Remember by highlighting something, you are inviting an experienced interviewer to question you or bring the matter up at interview. While they may tolerate ‘bending the truth’ to  some  degree, outright lying is not only frowned upon; it can lead to criminal charges.

How do the decision makers regard lying on your CV?

One of the most important things anyone should consider when it comes to lying on their CV is how prospective employers, hiring managers or human resources professionals would react if they found out a job candidate had lied on their CV.

A survey carried out in the UK by You.gov produced the following results.

lying on your cv

Remember your CV is often the first contact you may have with your prospective employer.  Lying on your CV means you not only start by misleading them, you also run the risk of dismissal.

If you are unsure what to do about including or excluding information on your CV, you can always enlist the services of a professional CV writer or coach.