Why lying on your CV is never worth it

Little white lies…

We’ve all told a white lie; “my bus was running late” or “yes that dress really suits you” – they’re usually harmless and said to avoid hurting other people’s feelings.

But did you know lying on your CV, no matter how small the lie, can have serious consequences? Classed as fraud, not only could it lose you your job but in extreme cases you could also find yourself landed with a prison sentence.

According to a recent survey by CV – Library more than a quarter of UK job seekers admitted to lying on their CV’s, with almost ten percent of these admitting their lie was a significant one.

Although your CV might get your foot in the door in terms of getting an interview, this doesn’t guarantee you a job offer, with many candidates getting caught out through interview questions, previous job references and social media.

Don’t get caught out…

Even if you do manage to get past the interview stage and get the all important job offer, it still doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Take the example of Dennis O’Riordan; a high flying City lawyer who lied extensively about his qualifications. After qualifying in 1993 as a barrister Mr O’Riordan then claimed he had received a first class degree from Oxford University and had completed a Masters at Harvard, when in fact he had graduated from the University of East Anglia. These ‘achievements’ then lead to him gaining senior positions at a number of banks and law firms, where his lies went unquestioned for almost 5 years. It was only when Mr O’Riordan applied for a new job role that his CV began to arouse suspicion and he was subsequently banned from practicing law for 6 years.

While this may be an extreme case, it goes to show that your ‘little white lie’ can come back to haunt you, potentially damaging your professional reputation and future career prospects. If you are caught lying on your CV by an organisation registered with CIFAS – The UK’s leaders in fraud prevention, your details are then accessible on their database for 6 years and available to all organisations that are members. So while you may think lying about that work experience is OK now, if caught out it may cost you a job offer in the years to come.

Improve your CV without lying

Career Coach John Lees believes that candidates may not have to tick every box, as companies often ‘over-specify jobs, asking for unrealistic levels of experience or suggesting that candidates need to cover every requirement - in reality they often only get a 75 percent fit.’

He goes on to say, ‘It’s far better to be honest and sell yourself against the 75 per cent that does match their requirements than lie in an attempt to make yourself appear perfect.’

Rather than making false claims, use your CV to present the best possible version of yourself to your potential employers. Corinne Mills of Personal Career Management says: 'Always make the most of any relevant experience you have and make it sound important. Your duties may have been to "keep the store tidy" but you could write this as "ensuring the merchandising was impeccably presented" without bending the truth.’

Our promise to you…

To summarise, lying on your CV no matter how small the lie is never worth it. Even if you do initially get away with it you are then under constant risk of being found out and being dismissed from your job. It is always better to be honest and start your new role in a positive way. 

At ESA Group we meet with all our candidates to ensure we get to know the person behind the CV, making sure we only put forward the most suitable and qualified candidates for a position. If you are a business looking to recruit, please don’t hesitate to contact us here. Alternatively, if you a candidate looking for a new role, then head over to our vacancies page.