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Should I Lie on My CV?

Suzie Finch
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Whether you slightly embellish the truth or tell an out and out porky pie (rhyming slang for lie where I come from) if you choose the path of fibbing on your CV you're treading on rocky ground and should consider the consequences before you proceed.

The benefits are obvious, if you get away with it you stand the chance of getting a big kick up the career ladder, but at worst you could find yourself sacked from your role if you get found out.  So is a Fake Resume worth the risk? Let's start by looking at the most common CV lies...

Small CV lies include...

Tweaking Employment Dates

Probably the most common CV lie is to leave the words "to present" as your date range (if you've actually left your last job). This indicates to a potential employer that you're still employed when in-fact you may have left the position weeks, months or even years ago.  Many people are guilty of doing this (slapped wrists) and although this is technically a lie it can be something that is easily explained.

Although this technically constitutes lying about employment dates on your resume, it’s a small fib and you may just get away with it.

 Exaggerating Job Titles or Job Responsibilities

The whole purpose of a CV is to sell yourself, right? To go all out and create the best possible version of your career self (albeit on paper).  But be careful not to take it too far, overselling yourself and setting unrealistic expectations of what you can do. Over exaggerating your skills and experience may put you ahead of the competition but you'll find yourself in a tricky position should you get the job, your employer will be expecting a lot! 

If you're a quick learner and are prepared to put in the extra hours this tactic might just work for you, but if you set the bar too high expect to find yourself back on the job market sharpish.

Big CV lies include...

Faking Your References

Asking your best mate to pretend he was your Line Manager, or your Course Lecturer is an option but an easy lie to figure out.  A quick Google search will show up that they're not.  You are also relying heavily on their ability to sing your praises and not get caught out by difficult qualifying questions.

As standard your CV should use the words "References available upon request" therefore if you've got to the referencing stage you've done really well and basically the job is yours.

If you're having to employ this tactic then you need to take a long hard look at yourself - it's time to turn things around!

Lying About Where You've Worked

Making up some or part of your career history is a BIG lie.  You need confidence and bravado to follow this one through.  The benefits are easy to see, selecting a top industry player or even a smaller low-key employer to boost experience is sure to look impressive and catch an employer’s eye. Getting back to an earlier point, can you actually do the things you write down.

Simple checks will get you found out, we'd advise you steer clear of this shoddy tactic.

Lying About Your Grades and Dates of Education

Lying about your graduation date on a resume to make your education appear more current or even outright lying about what degree grade you have are both examples of properly faking it.  Be prepared to follow your lie through with Photoshop when the employer wants to see copies of those certificates!

Buying qualifications and grades from scrupulous websites is also a thing.  Where is the sense of achievement in that?!

An All-Out Fake Resume

Combine all of the above to create an out and out fake Resume qualifying you for a career you don't know with skills you don't have.

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How many people lie on their CV?

In a recent study conducted by The Risk Advisory Group they analysed 5,000 CVs to identify inaccurate or false information included within CVs.  As it turns out falsified information on a CV is more common than you might think...

  • 35% of all CVs within the age range of 25-32 had inaccurate or false information on their CV;

  • 21% of candidates inflated their job titles or responsibilities;

  • 12% of candidates falsified their grades.

There is no shortcut to success

As Pele once said "Success is no accident.  It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

And, in the words of Will Smith...


If you do choose to embellish your CV, be prepared to follow it through, sound convincing in an interview and maintain the lie for the duration you are with that employer. Is it worth the hassle?

We go with Will Smith.