Key points: People often lie about their qualifications, their reasons for leaving a previous job, or their skill sets. However, in this age of readily available information, interviewers and potential employers will be able to see and track job applicants’ reputations online – both professional and personal.

Bottom line: It’s not worth lying on your CV – it will come back to haunt you.

Have you ever told a little white lie, bent the truth, or slightly exaggerated the information on your CV to help you get a job? If you haven’t, you are probably in the minority.

We take a look at the 5 most common lies recruiters find on CVs:

1 – Your Qualifications

Potential employers often do background checks – which means that they will find out if you lie about your qualifications. It’s better to be completely upfront about a qualification that you have not yet completed, rather than lying about it.

2 – Your Reason for Leaving

This is a common lie on CVs. However, if you are hesitant to tell the truth about your reasons for leaving a previous job, rather figure out the best way to communicate your reasons in a positive light, instead of lying about them. Try this: focus on what you learnt from the experience, and not on why it happened. Explain to the employer what you would do differently, and how you will be a better employee because of your experience.

3 – Your Skills

This is a silly thing to lie about, yet people still do it. If someone employs you based on the fact that you have a particular skill, chances are that you’ll have to use the skill in your job – and if you can’t, what then? Interviewers often also conduct skills tests – and it would be highly embarrassing if they were to find out during such a test that you were not completely honest on your CV.

4 – Your References

Often, people list their friends and family as references. This is a bad move: you should only include the person you directly reported to at work as a reference on your CV. Employers don’t want references from your friends and family, as your friends and family won’t have a clear understanding of your skills, experience, and abilities. If you need additional references, rather use tools such as LinkedIn’s recommendation tool – it allows previous managers to write recommendations that potential employers will be able to see.

5 – Your Position or Education

The interviewer probably contacted you because your responsibilities and title were similar to what they were looking for in a candidate. If you don’t have the necessary skills or qualifications (if these are explicitly required), don’t apply for a position: it will hurt you in the long run, even if you get through the interview phase – which is highly unlikely.

Remember that in this age of readily available information, interviewers and potential employers will be able to see and track your reputation – both professional and personal – online. Don’t lie on your CV – it will leave you embarrassed and red-faced when the truth comes out!

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