Liar liar, [career] on fire! The consequences of lying on your CV

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

In preparing this blog post I did some Googling on lying to see what had been written before. Some of the results showed me quotes about lying and I was about to skip over them when I saw this one. The quote is from an entry in Mark Twain’s Notebook (1894) and reminded me of one very good reason not to lie on your CV: if you tell lies, you have to remember them! Interviews are stressful enough without handing yourself the added pressure of keeping up with a fabricated version of yourself. If you do get the job, you’ve got to keep up the act for the duration. Who has the energy for this?!

If that doesn’t do it for you, the potential for a prison term might. CIFAS (The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service) sent out guidance this week, titled ‘don’t finish your career before it starts’. A number of papers and blogsites have published posts on the back of it, including The Independent and The Huffington Post. The headline is this: lying on your CV amounts to fraud and could land you with a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Note that we aren’t just talking about inflating grades here. The fraudulent representations extend to making up extra-curricular activities or embellishing your experiences. CIFAS report that they have hundreds of live cases on their database. Don’t add yourself to the pile.

The job-market is difficult and competitive. It is easy to understand why students (among others) are tempted to spin a little white lie on the CV in a bid to better fit the job spec. But don’t forget that there are a number of better ways to show your worth. Instead of being tempted to lie about your experience, you could improve your sales pitch on the experience you really do have. Brushing up on your CV writing skills is often overlooked but can pay dividends. Tailoring your CV and representing yourself clearly is half the battle. So don’t lie. Just get better at telling the truth! You’ve worked hard and you deserve to start your career with confidence.

Helene Tyrrell

Application Adviser

Careers & Enterprise Centre



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