Is it okay to massage the truth? Why you shouldn’t lie on your CV


orange truth among liesWe’ve heard it said by many of those using our outplacement services: desperate times call for desperate measures. When you’re trying to compete in what can sometimes be quite a brutal employment market, the temptation to start to lie on your CV in an attempt to make it more appealing to potential employers is one that can be hard to avoid.

Want to lie on your CV?

Although it might seem like a good idea at the time to lie on your CV and change your grades, embellish your qualifications or boast experience you don’t have, you’ll feel rather foolish when you are caught out. Background checks are becoming increasingly commonplace and many companies employ specific agencies to perform these. Even if a falsified CV secures you an interview or even a job, the likelihood that you will one day be found out is great. Rather than landing yourself back at square one, don't lie on your CV.  Take a look at these three common lies and what you should say on your CV instead.

Misrepresentative titles

When listing your past experience and places of work, many people often enhance their titles, either to make them sound more significant or because they feel that the job they were doing involved more than their title required. For example, if you were a content writer but found that you were occasionally roped in to edit colleagues’ work that does not make you a content editor any more than a personal assistant who occasionally is asked for an opinion in a high-flying meeting is a managing director. Rather than twisting the truth to shine in your job title, instead be clear about the responsibilities you had within a role and allow your would-be employers to glean the truth themselves.

Periods of unemployment

Nobody likes to admit when they have been unemployed, but unfortunately this is something that must be clearly shown on your CV. Applicants might feel that large gaps of unemployment will look bad to potential employers and so fill in the spaces with false information. Should you be tempted to do this, remember how easy it will be to perform background checks on this information, so think about how you present the information rather than lying. Small gaps in your past can be covered by only giving the years you were employed rather than the months. If a period of unemployment lasted longer than two years, think about what you did during that time that could be relevant to the position you are applying for. Volunteering, education and even periods of travel are likely to have kept your skills sharp in some way; think about they were and mention them instead of twisting the truth.

Past salaries

Your previous salaries are not something you necessarily need to include on your CV, but should you want to, or it is requested of you, don't lie on your CV. While it is harder to check a person’s previous salary, it is still possible. Although you might have believed you were worth more than you were paid or are worried that you might be offered a lower amount for a new position, your potential employer should base their salary offer on your experience and qualifications as much as your market value. Honesty is likely to be the best policy here too – though don’t be afraid to discuss how to negotiate what salary would be appropriate with your career coach.

Renovo offers no-nonsense advice through our online career portal and the personal career coaches almost everyone on our programmes is given access to. We are here to guide you through tough times of career transition to ensure you make your way back into the world of employment the right way. For more information and to find out how we can help you further on everything from CV writing to interview performance and coping with career transitions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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