• Julia

Does it pay to lie on your CV?

You may remember the controversy caused by Lee McQueen who had lied on his CV in the 2008 episode of The Apprentice and still managed to secure a £100,000 role with Lord Sugar. And rightly so, because lying on your CV is not recommended in order to get a job!

Statistics from the UK Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) survey on graduate data fraud, state that approximately 33% of graduates or job seekers falsify important information on their CVs every year, 40% of those exaggerate their academic qualifications, while 11% will go as far as making-up the fact that they have a degree (

Personal qualities such as honesty and integrity are taken very seriously and an employer needs to be assured that the person they are taking on is equipped to do the job they say they can do and that they can be trusted. Once someone has been offered a job, references are then checked and anything that does not match up means that the employer can rightfully withdraw the offer. In a more serious matter, it can result in a legitimate case of gross mis-conduct or fraud which could lead to instant dismissal once in post if an employer finds out you have lied in order to get the job.

….. So, how can you improve your CV to make it more attractive to an employer without embellishing the truth?

Instead of creating lies about previous employment, make the most of your relevant skills and qualifications and instead ‘sell’ those qualities to the employer. It may be that your CV would better suit a functional/skills based style which is focused on listing your strengths and overall experience through the use of different headings i.e. ‘organisational skills, project management skills, leadership skills, technical skills’ rather than a chronological one that blatantly points out gaps in your CV or a change in your career. Do ensure that these details are prominent on the first page to catch the attention of the employer. By researching the company and fully understanding the job description, you can gain an understanding of what they are looking for and tailor your CV accordingly to make it appealing to them, even to the point of subtly using some of their language to demonstrate that you are a good cultural fit.

Don’t neglect to mention significant hobbies and interests if they are relevant i.e. managing a local football team emphasises leadership, organisational and coaching skills and highlight this experience in your CV and cover letter. Your aim is to draw attention to the qualities that matter in the job and away from the lack of skills or experience that you may not yet have. It is more beneficial to mention the achievements you have gained so far, that your objective is to climb the career ladder and that you are now keen to take on a more challenging role.

So, whilst you might be tempted to exaggerate in places, it would instead be wiser to spend your time in either gaining those relevant skills that can improve your job applications or being creative and innovative with making your CV more appealing to a potential employer.

Does your career history prevent you from applying for jobs in which you think you might be suitable? Do you find it difficult to sell yourself on paper? Give us a call where we can talk through you needs and either write your CV from scratch or offer you assistance in how to best get across your skills and experience.

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