Keep Your CV Squeaky Clean

Last Updated Aug 18, 2009 4:50 AM EDT

With jobs harder to come by in most sectors now, it will come as no surprise that more candidates appear to be telling porkies on their CVs than at any time in the recent past.

It's hardly surprising to learn from a recent poll that a large amount of applications for jobs have been found to be somewhat creative in their content. Over 4,500 applications for jobs made between May 08 and June 09 were screened and a few less than truthful details came to light such as hidden criminal records and CCJ's or bankruptcies, plus untruths about academic achievements, professional qualifications, responsibilities and dates. Discrepancies increased during this time to 19 per cent overall, is highest for 3 years.

The largest increase was in IT, and brokers reported far more CV's concealing criminal records. There was a 600 per cent increase in undisclosed CCJs and bankruptcies since just last year. Women were more likely to hide the truth on their CV's as were under 21s, and State educated candidates were 25 per cent more likely to lie on their CVs than those who were independently educated. University graduates were more honest overall than non-graduates.

There's nothing illegal about using creative writing on your CV, but if you were to benefit and start earning an income from a falsehood that is an entirely different matter and would be taken very seriously.

Never underestimate a potential employer's willingness to check very carefully through all claims on CV's and it is easy to find the holes in someone's story. What may be an innocent mistake or an error through omission, it doesn't come across like that and it's not worth taking the risk of being thought of as fraudulent.

Your 'brand' is your reputation. Even 'small', seemingly harmless statements, say, a 45 year old saying he/she's 40, or even statements such as you started your last company's debating society, achieved certain targets, or more seriously, you keep quiet about conditions such as epilepsy, and apologise for 'lost' qualification certificates, all these can be researched and suddenly all integrity is lost.

Your brand must deliver the authentic 'you' that you are with integrity, not the phoney 'you' that you think will give you an advantage. It will be found out.


(Pic: Okko Pyykkö cc2.0)