We all tell the occasional fib. Actually, reflecting on that statement, I am probably incorrect – it’s is probably fairer to say that we all occasionally fall prey to the temptation to embellish ourselves a little. Your CV is a real danger area for this temptation and we can understand how it happens – after all we want to look like a good option for a prospective employer. In the next article we will be looking at the small things on a CV that really boost your chances, for this one we would like to warn you about giving in to the temptation to add a few extra bells and whistles to your resume.
In our experience there are 5 areas where people tend to be a little generous with the truth. This is where the common lies are told.
1. Experience. This one always amazes us. How can you really think that exaggerating your experience will help you? To gain the experience you must have done the thing you are claiming to be experienced in. Even if it’s not spotted on the CV it will probably come up at the interview and that will be the end of it. Worse still, you could get the job and if you haven’t got the experience you claimed to have, then you are going to be caught out very quickly.
2. Academic qualifications. This one seems less important on the face of it but be very careful here. Academic level is very much about your general skills as well as the specific subject. Of course, the common exaggerations here are English and maths. Firstly, there is a good chance you will be required to prove the qualifications and secondly, you will likely be asked to use both of these at the appropriate level.
3. Previous Responsibilities. This one often comes as a result of the desire to boost your experience. When an employer decides on a job role they usually have some flexibility on how they implement your role. Tell them you had more responsibility in a previous role than you actually had and they may ask you to do it again.
4. Dates of Employment. It is tempting to avoid a gap in your employment by adding a month or two here and there in your history. It will probably be checked and you will be caught out. Also, your work history in terms of tax and national insurance may show up. For specialist jobs this is particularly dangerous because most industries are very small and it is likely that your new employer will know your old one.
5. Accidental Embellishment. It is surprising how easy it is to make yourself seem better than you actually are at a particular role. A great example is use of software or processes. We tend to use words like ‘excellent’ when describing our skill set but beware of this unless you are actually excellent in comparison to others with similar skills.
You CV can promote you or damn you so the best option is to show yourself to the employer by giving the truth in the best light. Telling a lie, even a small lie, on your CV or application is a recipe for disaster.