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Exaggerating on your CV to get through the door

Published: Friday 25th September 2020

For your job search to be successful, striking a fine balance is the key. In between job hunting while working, coming off as enthusiastic but not desperate, or confident instead of arrogant, job searching is a fine balancing act. And although, stretching the truth seems to be the simplest way to look like the perfect fit for the role with minimal effort, exaggerating on your CV will very rarely lead to successful employment.

Searching for a new job month by month with little success can be stressful and daunting, no doubt. Moreover, especially when you don’t get offers or don’t make it through the interview stages, going to extremes seems even more appealing. Believing though that being truthful won’t get you anywhere in a competitive job market, doesn’t necessarily reflect the truth and the consequences could be tougher than what you have imagined.

You may be confused about where to draw the line or what would really count as an exaggeration, so keep reading for our collection of CV-exaggeration stories along with the pros and cons!

Email Marketing and sending emails aren’t the same

Sad candidate during bad and negative job interview, exaggerating on your CV concept

Whilst applying for a Marketing or Creative vacancy, adding the skill of Email Marketing in your CV means that you have at least familiarized yourself with the basic functions of platforms such us Mailchimp. However, email marketing is by no means the same with sending outlook emails to contacts!

You either have the degree or you don’t

Stating you have a degree can backfire big time if proven you’re exaggerating. Even if you reach the job offer stage, a background check will follow which will unravel the truth. And even if you have attended university but have not graduated being one semester short, the fact that you lied will probably set a deal-breaker. Furthermore, this may not only cost you the job but also your reputation in the market or industry.

Registration and employment aren’t the same

Stating that you have been working at a company for a year or even on a temporary basis is not the same with being employed just for two weeks or so! Once the interviewer asks to find out more details, it will probably come to light that you have only worked a two-week assignment through them.

Fear of job interview fail, stress at work concept

Consistency is key

It is very likely that recruiters will be looking at your social media platforms during screening or before the interview stage. If your LinkedIn profile states a qualification that your CV does not, they will get suspicious and start digging further to uncover the truth.

Pros of exaggerating on your CV to get through the door

Your CV will immediately stand out! This is the only advantage of exaggerating on your CV. By including important credentials or certifications and stretching the truth, you’ll most likely get noticed among those who were honest about themselves. So, if your only goal is to get the hiring manager’s attention, you’ll succeed at it. However, only up until the interview stage or until they perform a background check.

On the other hand, the cons of exaggerating on your CV to get your foot on the door are countless with strict consequences.

All the information you put is easy to check

In the digital era, checks are very easy, especially with the abundance of social media. It is a matter of minutes for a hiring manager to call your past employer and find out if your work record is that stellar. When the truth reveals, the consequences may be quite unpleasant.

You will have to defend your CV during the interview

Angry boss looking at candidate, failed job interview, cv lying on table

Let’s assume for a second that you get your foot at the door. You’ll have to be very detailed about whatever fact the interviewer wishes to ask. They may ask for details and specific numbers about your achievements, the toughest moments of obtaining your degree or check your knowledge of a foreign language. And if whatever of those is lies, you’ll likely be forced to confess!

Once the truth comes out, you’ll lose the job

If you were lucky enough to make it through to the hiring stage, it doesn’t mean that you can exhale and celebrate. On the contrary, the lies can reveal at the most unexpected moment. In either case, it is most likely that this will cost you that job.

Your professional reputation will suffer

CV lies may not just lead to losing a job offer. Things could be even more serious. If your employer spreads the word, you can lose credibility within your field even if you’re good at your job. Being labeled as untrustworthy is the last thing you’ll want, if you are looking to build a successful career.

Flat out lying or even exaggerating on your CV won’t get you very far. If anything comes off as a bit suspicious, the person reviewing your CV will begin to doubt each one of your accomplishments. And even if lying does get you the job and through the door, it will eventually come back to bite you.

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