You're not lying to me are you Donald? (Donald's nose starting growing bigger...)

3 Things You Need to Stop Lying About (On Your CV)

You're not lying to me are you Donald? (Donald's nose starting growing bigger...)Everybody lies on their CV to a certain extent.

Whether it’s a little white lie, a slight exaggeration or a big fat whopper (like saying you completed a degree when you didn’t…)

It’s kind of a shame really.

Some lies and exaggerations are permissible and to be expected, but some are definitely not!

So this week, we’re taking a look at three of the biggest, most common and most dangerous lies that candidates tell and how you’re bound to end up getting caught…

1. Employment Gaps.

“Employment gaps look terrible on a CV.” You’re probably sick of hearing that – right?

So what exactly are you supposed to do if you do have gaps?

You have three choices (pretty much)…

Option 1.             Leave the gap and hope for the best.

Option 2.             Attempt to explain the gap in an appealing way on your CV.

Option 3.             Lie and fudge your employment dates so that there are no gaps.

(Which option do you think most people go for..?)

 So, let’s take a deeper look…

With option 1, you’re taking a pretty big risk. Unfortunately employers are put off by unexplained gaps. But perhaps you’re willing to take a gamble and wait for one who’s willing to give you the benefit of the doubt?

But option 3 is a huge no-no. When you inevitably get found out – usually when potential employers contact your references and ask about dates – how do you think they’re going to react? No one wants to hire someone they don’t think they can trust.

So in most cases, I would recommend option 2. Turn the negative “gap” into a positive. Use your time wisely and you can say “yes, I was out of work but… I learnt a new skill… I volunteered… I went travelling…”

Of course, if you really haven’t done anything with your spare time… then option 1 might be the better choice.

 2. Skills

“57% of job candidates embellish their skill set, to help them get a job.”

That’s pretty outrageous, isn’t it?

I’ve got to admit, I believe this is the worst thing you can lie about. I mean, why bother..?

  • It’s going to be a pretty awkward moment when you’re faced with a task you can’t complete.
  • Your boss is certainly not going to be pleased and you might lose the job anyway.
  • There are plenty of jobs out there that you can probably actually do.

Is it really worth the stress?

Recruiter Pro Tip

Most people fib about skills because they don’t feel like their CV is attractive enough.

Perhaps they’re struggling to make their experience sound good or feel that their education is lacking so they use generic “skills” that aren’t in the job description to make themselves sound a bit better.

“I’m brilliant at Excel,” “I have leadership skills” and a “keen eye to detail” are all common fibs that people think they’ll get away with, but all it takes is a probing question from an interviewer and the lie begins to unravel.  

Click on the links above to check out some really good resources on writing a great CV, even if you feel your skills and experience are lacking.

My advice? When you’re describing your skills, always stick to the truth.

3. Salary.

Ever lied about your salary, in the hope that it’ll boost your next one? Don’t. You will get caught.

I know what you’re thinking… “Employers can’t ask about my salary, anyway can they?” And you’re right.

However, when you hand in your previous payslips at the start of your new job, they’ll find out anyway (if they want to)… and it will go down like a lead balloon if you’ve lied.

Be honest; you can still ask for a higher salary if you want to, but you don’t run the risk of pissing off your new employer before you’ve even started!


There is a fine line between an exaggeration and a complete lie – and you need to make sure you don’t cross it.

Even if you get away with it and are offered the job, there’s a pretty big chance your employer will find out eventually – and the repercussions could be really damaging to your career.

If you’d like some more tips on how to write a great CV, ace your next job interview or generally work your way up the career ladder – click here to subscribe to our Candidate Tips blog!

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