Imagine you find the career opportunity of a lifetime, but there are one or two items on the job spec that don’t match your experience. You know you can do the job, it might be tough to start with but you’re sure you’d figure it out. What do you do?
According to 55% of employers who responded to our latest Employment Monitor, there’s a chance you’ll lie.
Not a big lie – you’ll just massage the truth a little, get your foot in the door and then by the time the employer finds out you’ll already be doing a great job. It’s not really deceitful, it’s just good salesmanship.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with that logic. In fact there are five problems with it.
It’s hard to do well
Before we even get into the moral dilemma, lying on your CV is just difficult to do. Do you add a year or two to your experience? Overplay your proficiency with a tool you’re only vaguely familiar with? Or add a skill you don’t have?
It’s impossible to know exactly what changes will make you more likely to get a job. You could match your experience exactly with a job spec but what if all the other applicants have more than the minimum required? How much extra can you add without losing credibility?
And it’s a lot of work
If you manage to secure an interview, your preparation won’t just focus on your experience – you have to prepare for the lies as well. You need to be able to tell your career story based on the false timeline on your CV, remembering that certain jobs lasted longer or required different tools.
You might be required to believably retell the story of an event that didn’t happen. Not only do you have to convince the interviewer that you’re right for the job; you have to convince them that your CV is real.
Your CV can’t get you the job
All of which brings us to the elephant in the CV lies room, your CV can’t get you the job. All a CV can do is get you to an interview, the hiring decision will be made based on your performance at interview stage. That could involve three or four actual interviews – you might even be required to complete some form of assessment. That’s a lot of lying and a lot of opportunities for another candidate to be chosen ahead of you, no matter what your CV says.
It can’t do it either
Even if you manage to carry the lie all the way through to your first day at work, what do you do then? If your CV says you are experienced in HTML coding or Pharmaceutical Manufacturing you need to be able to actually do those things. That means doing a lot of cramming between the interview and your first day. If you don’t, you’ll end up looking like Joey Tribbiani speaking French.
You’ll get caught
It’s likely you’ll actually get caught long before any of the stages mentioned above. Most employers will review your social media profile before making a hiring decision and may even see your social media profile before they see your CV. It may be obvious that a false CV has to be matched by a false LinkedIn profile but it also has to match your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. It’s no good claiming you spent the summer interning at a large organisation if your Instagram is full of pictures of you backpacking across Europe.
Go back to that perfect role. You should absolutely go through the spec, identify the spots where your CV falls short and go about filling those gaps. Unfortunately the way you fill those gaps is by doing the work, learning the tools and finding ways to improve your skills. By building your experience and matching your skills to the right roles you will go into every interview as a near perfect candidate – it’s like a whole new kind of lying.