Should I Lie On My CV?

To Lie Or Not To Lie

That is the question that has puzzled a few of us, the adults of our generation for a while now. It is a moral dilemma and if really thought out, one of the major mistakes many seem to make.

Let me take you back to the ever popular American sitcom, Friends. There was a particular episode where Phoebe sits Joey down and they both screen his CV or his ‘actors bio’, to find out why he was constantly unemployed. Joey being completely clueless had written down everything prospective employers would want from him without actually having the capabilities of doing any of them.

One of which was the ability to ride a horse – when Phoebe asked him if this was something he could actually do, his response was ‘ Would fall down a lot‘ . In other words, he’d never ridden in his life.

Another was the ability to drink a gallon of milk under 10secs, now this is where it gets really embarrassing. He actually believed he could, and failed miserably, it got very messy. Now lets not even get into the episode of him attempting to speak French, oh dè foof? Mon dieu.

If you’re thinking what does all this have to do with me and my CV? I’ll tell you. One of the greatest misconceptions is the belief that employers do not take long to read a CV so a little white lie here and there wouldn’t be spotted. True, the majority of employers only have 10secs of skimming your CV to even be remotely impressed; I found this out on one of my visits to the Careers Development Department at the Jobcentre. I said remotely impressed, not even matched to the role yet or placed in the callback section. Brutal isn’t it?

How embarrassing do you think it would be for you as an individual, claiming to have all these great attributes, you attend the interview, the employer poises simple questions and you’re left there staring blankly, dumbfounded? I attended an interview last week for an internship with a charity, the owner asked me a question which I answered to the best of my abilities. I later asked him what other potential candidates gave him as response, he said, to be honest, not a lot of good responses. Apparently there was a candidate before myself, lets call them Candidate X, who ended every sentence with how creative they were but when the creativity question was asked, they could not offer a response.

I guess what I am trying to inform you here is, don’t be a Joey (pun intended) and don’t be a Candidate X. Stay within your achieved parameters, if you say in your CV that you can speak another language or anything else, make sure this is genuine. If you have to exaggerate your skills + attributes, be very careful not to stray or make the common error of lying. Moreover instil the use of action words, words that form a process and not a blatant lie. Words ending in ‘ed‘ such as achieved, accomplished, delivered, demonstrated etc are all fantastic ways to grab an employers attention. Don’t insult yourself and the employers who have invested time and effort in seeing you as it will ruin your chances in the future ; professionally, everyone knows eachother nowadays.

In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche –
“The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.”

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