Why you shouldn’t lie on your CV

hand-with-thumb-downHave you ever told a lie on your CV? Maybe a little one like making it sound like you had a bit more responsibility in a past job than you actually had, or a big one like saying you were awarded a 1st when you weren’t?

So, is it okay to bend the truth?

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the Careers & Enterprise team, and any recruiter, would highly advise against any CV fraud as the cost of getting caught can be severe. When you’re thinking of adding that little (or big) fib to a CV, keep in mind that:

  • Recruiters are often trained to catch on to lies. Recruiting the candidate with the right skills and experience is what they do and they are often trained to pick up on mistruths.
  • You are likely to be asked for more detail about your degree and experiences listed on your CV at interview. If your answers even appear ever-so-slightly untruthful they won’t give you the job. Just think how important it is to for a company to hire someone that they trust from the very start.
  • Employers are increasingly checking degrees. The Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) is a service that allows employers to check the validity of an applicant’s degree. More employers are using this system.
  • You could lose your job. If you do land the job and your employer finds out that you told a significant lie during the application or interview process, it would be seen as a breakdown of trust and you could be fired. This would leave a gap or ‘reason for departure’ on your CV that would be very difficult to explain to future employers.

For advice on your CV or application, book a 1-2-1 appointment with a Careers Consultant by calling 020 7882 8533.

Careers & Enterprise: Who we are

Whether you need help finding a part-time job, writing a CV or cover letter, or preparing for a graduate scheme, we can help.

Where are we?

queensThe Careers & Enterprise Centre is based in the Queens’ building (pic on left) on the Mile End campus, which is number 19 on this campus map.

We’re in room WG3, on the ground floor, near the Octagon and the Student Enquiry Office . From the main entrance, head down the corridor on the left-hand side and follow the signs.

What can we do for you?

We help QMUL students and recent graduates (up to 2 years after you graduate) with anything careers-related, from writing a CV to exploring your options after graduation. A career might seem a long way off if you’ve only just finished your first year, but whatever stage you’re at on your QMUL journey, come and see us! Even if you’ve never even thought about life after university, we’re here to help you …

Appointments with Careers Consultants

We offer 20 minute 1-2-1 appointments with a Careers Consultant, and these appointments can cover any careers query, including: CV & application feedback, finding and applying for jobs, or deciding what to do after graduation.

Job hunting

Whether you’re looking for part-time work or a full-time role after graduation, take a look at our jobs board, Job Online: www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs. This is updated regularly and

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Summer is around the corner …

The clocks might have only recently changed, but it’s not too early (or late) to think about getting experience in the summer.

Getting experience really makes a difference.  It looks great on your CV, and is highly regarded by employers.  The skills you develop will make you stand out from other candidates when applying to roles in the future.  Experiencing different jobs and organisations can also help you make decisions about your next steps. In fact work experience is often the best way to find out whether a particular option is right for you. You could discover interesting job roles you had never heard of, or perhaps find that what you thought might be your dream job isn’t really for you at all. The people you work with could also be useful for networking in the future.

Essential for employers: Employers want to see evidence of experience and transferable skills on your CV, as if you can prove you have used your skills effectively in a work related context in the past, it is a strong indication that you can use those skills again in the role you are applying to. In other words, it convinces the employer that you have the ability to do their job. Previous experience demonstrates initiative, drive and the motivation to get involved with activities outside of your degree – all characteristics valued by employers.

Choose wisely to meet your needs: If you don’t have much evidence of a specific skill on your CV, such as leadership or project management, find an opportunity where you can enhance and develop that skill e.g. organising a fundraising event for a charity. Whatever your degree and interests, there will be relevant experiences available.

Be open minded to avoid missing out on opportunities: Experience doesn’t necessarily have to be in the role or industry you are interested in.  Any work experience in sales, for example, will be a useful way to build your negotiation and client focus skills, which are useful in many non-sales roles. Think beyond just formal work experience schemes. It can be gained from part-time work, volunteering, extra-curricular activities, work-shadowing, or even starting your own business. 

Apply with care: Don’t assume that applications for part time or voluntary work don’t require time and effort. Always tailor your applications, as you still need to convince the employer that you have the relevant skills and are genuinely interested in the organisation. Remember, your application may be the first impression they have of you, so make it positive and professional.

If you are not sure where to apply see the Knowledge Bank for information on job hunting and our industry guides. Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant for further tips and to get feedback on your CV when you apply.

Study Yourself Employable: 4 Things Ambitious Students Should Be Doing Now

Smart students already know that success requires great grades (two-thirds of companies require at least a 2:1) and relevant work experience (half of hiring managers won’t hire graduates without any). But these qualifications alone won’t make you stand out from the crowd. The average number of candidates for each job is 39, and that figure rises into the hundreds for competitive industries.

Want to shine? Here’s what you should be doing long before graduation:

  1. Write Your Graduate CV

Many students will have a CV which they made for their part-time job, but few Freshers will have bothered to write one for the job they expect to have after university. This is a mistake. Recruiters are busy people routinely faced with more applications than they can handle. The easiest way they can cut the pile down to a manageable size is by discarding any and every CV that doesn’t appear up to scratch at first glance.


To avoid this fate, your CV needs to be perfect in two respects. Firstly, it must show that you meet all the basic requirements. Secondly, it must be clearly formatted, correctly spelt, and easy to read. That is why starting to work on it early is essential.

Placing everything you can offer on paper makes it easy to spot any glaring gaps in your experience while you still have plenty of time to fill them. Have a look at some job specs from the types of industry or job you want to go into. You’ll probably notice that a lot of them ask for some specific skill, such as pivot tables or Adobe Photoshop, which you can learn to use in your free time.

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Graduate story: Emmeline

Emmeline Wilcox, 2016 History graduate

emmelineIn my first week of university I remember sitting in the History department’s freshers welcome lecture. The department had asked those who had just graduated what advice they would give to the incoming freshers. One piece of advice cropped up over and over again: take full advantage of what the university has to offer. I am ashamed to say that I did not do this – especially when it came to the careers service. I did get involved with the Students’ Union and I did have a part-time job throughout my degree, however I rarely even thought about my career. It was all too easy to become wrapped up in my degree and not to think about my future.   

Following the end of my third year exams, I was offered a temporary position in the careers department as an admin assistant for the QConsult programme. QConsult was based in the Careers & Enterprise Centre which opened my eyes to how outstanding our careers service is. The staff are incredibly friendly and they really are on your side, working tirelessly to make sure that Queen Mary students are given the best advice and opportunities. One of the things that struck me most after working in careers office is just how much everyone loves their jobs. Because of this, they all strive to make sure that each student they encounter is given the best experience.

The QConsult programme in particular is a very unique and exciting opportunity and I would thoroughly recommend all students to apply. One of the best things about this programme is that students are recruited on ability, rather than experience. This means that the programme provides an invaluable opportunity for students to get out of the ‘no work experience’ cycle: you need work experience to get a job, but you need a job to get work experience. The feedback from students on the programme has been so positive and I am very proud to have been part of it.

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Preparing a CV for part-time work

Joe Cronin, Application Adviser

Now that Freshers Week is over, you might be thinking about taking on a part-time job while you study. These are increasingly valued by employers as evidence that candidates are familiar with a working environment and possess some of the skills (organisation, time-keeping, interpersonal skills) that are essential to working life.

Applications for these types of jobs are generally much more straightforward than for graduate careers, but there are still some important points worth bearing in mind. In particular, the CV you send to employers for part-time work should be different to the one you use for graduate applications. Here are a few tips for preparing a CV for part-time jobs:

  1. Reshuffle

When applying for graduate jobs, the Education section of your CV should come before Work Experience. However, when applying for part-time jobs, reversing this order can be a good idea so that you emphasize what the employer is more interested in.

  1. Emphasise skills

You don’t need to stress your academic achievements as heavily (so no lists of the modules you’ve taken, for example), but you do need to draw attention to the broader skills you’ve gained at school or university or through other jobs. If you haven’t done this before, think about what these could be: being a prefect at school shows evidence of responsibility, for example, while being a captain of a sports team shows leadership and organization skills.

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Common CV mistakes

Applications Adviser Emily Hogg takes a look at 5 common mistakes students make when writing their CV, and how you can avoid them.

  • Formatting problems: Different industries have different CV requirements. For example, banking and finance CVs should be one page long, and engineering CVs should include details of projects you have worked on during your degree. Research the particular requirements for your career area. If you are an international student applying to jobs in the UK, note that British CVs should be 2 pages maximum (except for banking and finance CVs), they should not include a photograph, and they should describe explicitly how you have the skills the employer is looking for. Also, it’s best not to use the Europass CV to apply for jobs in the UK – have a look at our online resources for examples.
  • Including long paragraphs of text: You want to be detailed in your CV and ensure that you give the employer all the relevant information, but you also need to make sure that they read it and notice all your excellent experience! Because recruiters tend to receive many applications, they prefer easy-to-read formats. Blocks of text look like they will take a long time to read. Instead, use bullet points to break up the information and short sections to highlight the key details.
  • Sending generic CVs: Don’t send the same CV to every job you apply to. This might seem like a time-saving approach, but it is less effective than tailoring your CV to each vacancy. Employers are different and similar-sounding jobs have different requirements. Take the time to explicitly show how your previous experience has helped you to develop the specific skills the employer is looking for; you can find these skills in the job description and person specification.

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