Zippia’s 2020 survey report showed that 30% of people lie or bend the truth on their CVs. This indicates 3 in every ten job applicants deliberately include incorrect information on their CVs to deceive recruiters. 

You don’t need a pope or a judge to tell you it’s wrong to lie on your CV, regardless of your reasons. Moral etiquette frowns on blatant, calculated lies. But, what makes lying on your CV worse is you’re trying to gain an undue advantage in a recruitment process.

Many people may see nothing wrong with it if others don’t discover their lies. Here, we’ll discuss why lying on your CV is illegal, the consequences, and what you should do instead of lying. 

Why You Might Lie on Your CV

Many things can tempt people to embellish or exaggerate the truth on their CV and make their profile seem more than it is.

You most likely won’t start writing your CV to lie in it. However, the following reasons can compel you to do it.

To Make the CV Standout

Sometimes, you may feel your qualifications, skills, and work experiences aren’t remarkable enough to make your application worth consideration. You may then lie on your CV to compensate for your perceived inadequacy.

Alternatively, you may worry that other applicants are more qualified than you are. Therefore, you’ll exaggerate the reports on your CV to make it stand out.

Lastly, you may think, “well, many people lie on their CVs, and the other applicants may also do it. I’ll do it too, so they don’t get one over me”. You’re lying on your CV because you fear other applicants are doing it, and you won’t measure up if you don’t exaggerate your points too.

Employment Gaps

Employment gaps are a terrible look on your CV. They raise many questions in the reviewers’ minds regarding your commitment or competency for the role. It often leaves you in a dilemma with three choices. 

  • Leave the gap and act like it never happened
  • Attempt to explain the gap in your CV
  • Lie and cover up the gap, so nobody knows it happened

The first option sounds like a terrible idea, especially from a professional point of view. Unexplained gaps often put off recruiters and affects your chances of getting the job.

The second option is more reasonable, but it’ll make your CV bulky. Most recruiters don’t want to look at lengthy CVs. They have many others to review. But it’s still the best option. 

The last one is a no-no; you may think, “yes, it’s wrong, but nobody will know, right?” Plus, you don’t want to take any chances with anything that can ruin your employment opportunity. With such thoughts, you’re likely to embellish your CV.

Skill Deficiency

If you’ve seen a job opening but don’t have the skills mentioned in the requirements, you’ll understand this point better. You won’t always have all the skills required for a position you want to take. But because you’re interested in the role, you’ll lie on your CV to look qualified for the job.

Most organisations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to downsize the number of CVs they’ll review personally. An ATS works by scanning CVs for specific keywords related to the job role and discards CVs without it. 

Sometimes, these keywords may be particular skills you don’t have. Knowing that the ATS will inevitably discard your CV if you don’t mention the said skill, you might feel the temptation to do a little fibbing. 

Lastly, yours might be an honest mistake whereby you overestimate your ability or skills. For example, you may think you’re proficient at using a computer program, but you haven’t scratched its surface yet. 

Lying about your skills is outrageous, yet many people do it. Unfortunately, it’s easy to spot. An expert only needs to ask you a bunch of questions regarding the skills. Then, you’ll find yourself in an awkward situation where you can’t answer a seemingly simple question for someone with your skillset.

Insufficient Experience to Meet Job Requirements

This lie is common among entry-level job applicants and individuals with few (1-3) years of working experience. In most cases, they’re likely applying to a role requiring more years of experience than they have. 

For example, you may be a developer with two years of working experience. Then, you find an opening for a senior developer role that requires at least three years of working experience. 

Believing you have the skills and other necessary competencies to fill that role, you may feel there’s nothing wrong with lying about your work experience to get it.

But the problem with lying about your experience is it’s pretty easy to spot the discrepancies. Dates are absolute, and a seasoned recruiter will spot the disagreement in the dates. They’ll likely raise questions about it, and that’s where they’ll discover the lies on your CV. So, don’t do it.

Salary Considerations 

Most employees want to earn more than their current pay. You may also apply to a new role because of its potential for increased remunerations. Naturally, you’ll want to set yourself up for better pay.

One of the easiest ways to do that is a little tweaking on your CV. You only need to increase the salary from your previous role knowing the new employer may want to top or at least match it. And you’re probably thinking, “the interviewers won’t know, right? 

They might not find out during the interview, but they’ll find out when you submit your payslips when you resume the job. And that’s when you’ll likely get into trouble with your CV lies.

Common Lies Hiring Managers Spot on CVs

Many HR personnel now know that many people lie on their CVs. They also spend much of their time reviewing CVs and looking for discrepancies. 

Below are some common lies people put on their CVs.

Bogus Qualifications

Exaggerated skillset and certification forgery are two of the widespread lies people put in their CVs. The advent of self-learning, online courses, and virtual schools has helped increase these practices. 

Nowadays, people can lie that they took a course from an unrecognised organisation and earned a certification. Therefore they’re now proficient in a skill. And it doesn’t help that many overseas diploma mills now offer phoney qualifications.

It’s even worse that some people pretend to have qualifications from real institutions or embellish their grades. 

For example, Scott Thompson, Ex-Yahoo CEO, claimed he obtained a Computer Science and Accounting degree from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. But he only had an Accounting degree.

False Employment History

Employment gaps and insufficient experience to meet job requirements often result in job applicants falsifying their employment histories. 

For example, applicants often fudge the dates to cover an employment gap. They extend the period of their commitment to their previous employers. Or they’ll fill the space with a made-up employment story. Of course, that often leads to many deceitful self-employment stories.

Individuals with insufficient working experience also try to compensate for it with exaggerated stories. Some may also say they’ve worked for certain organisations or people even though they didn’t.

Fraudulent References

An individual who got dismissed from their previous jobs may not be able to obtain good references depending on the reasons for their dismissal. This individual may instead find a friend to pose as the former employer and give a recommendation.

This act is wrong in many ways. By doing it, you’re trying to deceive your potential new employer and impersonate your former employer. And if caught, the former employer can sue you for libel.

But that’s not all; some companies also sell references from nonexistent firms. Interestingly, these fictional firms sometimes have websites and phone lines, all of which are fake. That only shows how much people invest in falsifying information on their CVs.

Job Title and Responsibility Falsification

When applying for a higher role than your current one, you may get the urge to make yourself seem more suitable. It’s even more tempting if the new role you’re applying for is a managerial position. You may want to portray yourself with leadership experiences you don’t have.

Most lies in this category often feature people saying they led a team or project, whereas they were only team members and had no executive role in the group. Most recruiters spot this lie when they check the team profile or reach out to former employers on LinkedIn. 

Similarly, people can sometimes falsify the results they achieved in their previous roles. For example, having worked in a social/ influencer marketing manager role, an individual may exaggerate the conversions he achieved while in that position. People often do this to make their erstwhile careers seem more impressive.

Consequences of Lying on your CV

There’s one primary problem with lying; it’s often unsustainable in the long run. Lies don’t usually end at one. When you lie once, you often have to lie again to cover the previous lie. 

The same applies when you lie on your CV. Someone will eventually find out you’re lying on your CV, and there’ll be consequences when they do.

You may Get Caught and Disqualified During the Interview. 

Many people don’t get into trouble when they lie on their CVs, at least during the interview stage. But the interviewers still manage to get some at times. And you may be lucky enough that HR finds you out before you go too far.

So, the best time to get caught lying on your CV is before you submit the job application. The next best time is when the reviewer is looking at your application before the interview. How?

Most recruiters won’t overlook a lie on your CV, automatically making them distrust you. So, you can forget about the interview or the job. But the situation is still manageable since you haven’t gone too far. And if the recruiter is kind enough, they may call you to order and let you off with a warning.

However, imagine you’ve gotten to the interview stage, already nervous about many things that can go wrong. And then a question hits you about your fudged work experience or skills. You’ll most likely leave the interview very embarrassed.

Ruined Reputation – Blacklisting

Consider yourself lucky if all you ever have to endure as a consequence of lying on your CV is an embarrassment during an interview. Most times, falsifying the information on your profile can have a tremendous negative effect on your reputation.

For example, Scott Thompson had to step down from his role as CEO after the fiasco with his CV and has been the subject of negative case studies ever since. His name will often come up in discussions about CV fraud and similar topics.

If your lie is bad enough, the employer may blacklist your name and prevent you from securing employment in that organisation. And, of course, depending on the organisation they represent, they may be able to prevent you from securing a job with any of their affiliate companies.

Additionally, very few organisations will be willing to hire someone with such a blight on their career history. It won’t serve well on the company’s image. Hence, they’ll most likely favour another candidate for the role.

Lastly, if you got the employment opportunity through an agency, they’ll likely not want to work with you again to protect their reputation. 

Loss of Employment

You’ll most likely get the sack letter when your employer finds out you lied on your CV if you’ve already gotten the job. Such issues often fall under gross misconduct and are punishable by dismissal in most organisations. 

It won’t matter how good you are; most companies don’t want to work with employees they can’t trust or have associations with fraud. 

They may appreciate your notable contributions and perceived indispensability to the organisation. But ultimately, they’ll put the company’s reputation first. It doesn’t bode well for an organisation if the public discovers they hire people who falsified their CVs.

Legal Consequences

It is illegal to lie on your CV in the UK. It’s a crime under the Fraud Act 2006 to lie on your CV. As such, you’ll be violating the law when you do it.

According to the act, “fraud by false representation can carry a maximum ten years imprisonment penalty. 

But that’s not all you have to worry about; employers or other parties can take legal action against you if they find lies on your CV. That’s especially if your falsifications have put the company in a bad situation. 

For example, say you lied about being able to do a job and then committed an error while doing the job resulting in a client suing your company. The company can take you to court to demand payment for damages.

How You Can Stay Honest on Your CV – What to do Instead of Lying

Fortunately, you can still bolster your CV without having to lie or embellish information. 

Learn New Skills

While job hunting, most of the openings you’ll likely come across will have similar skills requirements for similar roles. If you don’t have said skills, you may be tempted to include them on your CV and pretend you have them. 

But instead of pretending to have the skills, it’s better to obtain them. It’ll take diligent work and dedication, but it’ll be worth it.

Fortunately, obtaining skills is now much easier thanks to the internet and its abundant resources. You can find tutorial videos online, sign up for training courses, or arrange for an industry expert to mentor you. 

Get Certifications

Similarly, if the employer requires certain certifications for a role, you shouldn’t lie about having them when you don’t. Instead, you can earn the certifications by taking the required courses. 

For example, you can take courses from online programmes. Platforms like Coursera offer accessible avenues for people to take classes on several subjects and earn certifications upon completing their training.

Alternatively, you can sign up for a university or physical learning programme. The goal is to learn what you need to and earn the certifications attached to them. The platforms you use don’t matter much as long as they’re efficient and sustainable for you. 

However, you should ensure you get the certification from a recognisable and accredited organisation. Preferably a notable school or training institute. That’ll improve your credibility and prevent unnecessary questions about your qualifications from recruiters. 

Do Volunteer Work to Gain Experience

Having sufficient work experience is always a plus. But, if you’re an entry-level applicant or switching industries, you’ll likely not have enough service years to justify your qualifications for some roles.

But that doesn’t mean you should resort to lying about your work experience. Instead, you should take on some relevant volunteer work. That can boost your credibility tremendously. It shows you’re passionate about learning and helping, even if it means working for little to no remuneration.

Volunteer experience is an excellent way to score key achievements while earning useful recommendations. You can also gain valuable connections and expand your professional network by meeting experts in your field through volunteer experience.

Hire Professional CV Writers

An easy way to avoid putting lies on your CV is to not even write it by yourself in the first place. Instead of mulling over how you’ll make your CV stand out to the recruiter, let the professionals worry about that.

Professional CV writers know the best ways to present your skills, qualifications and experiences in your CV. They can make you look like the perfect candidate for a role without lying about or exaggerating the facts on your CV. As long as you supply them with accurate information, you don’t have to worry about discrepancies on your profile.

Avoid Common CV Lies with Professional CV Writers

It’s simpler to avoid common lies on your CV when an experienced CV writer writes it. Here at The CV Expert, our CV writers know how to present professional qualifications in the best possible light and place you in the best position for the job without resorting to lies. 

Call 020 8242 4287 to book one of our expert CV writers and get a new leadership or executive CV in a few short days. 

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