Writing a CV? Don’t be tempted to embellish your experience

Writing a CV? Don’t be tempted to embellish your experience
By: Liz Burke / NZ Herald

It’s the tempting trick we’ve all thought of using when applying for a job.

We’ve all done it.

A few extra skills here, a sneaky promotion there – embellishing one’s CV has almost become part of the process of putting the finishing touches on the professional document.

But new research has shown dishonest self-promoters are shooting themselves in the feet. The survey of 460 hiring managers across Australia shows more than two in three (68 per cent) had eliminated a job candidate from consideration after discovering “dishonest or exaggerated information” on their application.

Managers said the most common areas where they busted applicants lying was of course in their work experience. The survey commissioned by recruiter Robert Half revealed most managers – 60 per cent – said they had caught candidates being dishonest about or exaggerating their previous jobs.

Almost half said they had caught applicants lying about their education or qualifications, and the same number of managers, 48 per cent, had experienced applicant dishonest about their technical skills.

Fibs about language skills and duties performed in previous roles had each been picked up by 30 per cent of managers, whereas 25 per cent had noticed people lying about or fabricating internships.

Robert Half Australia director Andrew Morris said managers were more likely to make thorough background checks than ever before.

Transparency and honesty during the application and interview process are critical for candidates who want to be considered for a job,” Morris said.

“Many businesses take background checks very seriously, which is made even easier thanks to increased online transparency and social media.

“Once untruthfulness has been discovered, candidates’ professional credibility has been damaged, and their chances of landing the job will be very slim to none, even though they might be ideal for the role.”

Morris warned that while some hopefuls made embellishments without the implicit intention to deceive employers, bending the truth in a job interview or on a resume was always a dangerous path to take.

Missing out on the job isn’t the only risk the shady practice comes with.

“Even minor embellishments have consequences that can come back to haunt professionals throughout their career,” he said.

“If they’re successful in securing the job, and get caught later, it will most likely result in termination, damage the candidate’s reputation, and eliminate the option of obtaining a positive reference for future employment.”

When it came to positives, Morris said a CV that was short, straightforward, easy to read, and contained relevant keywords matching the job criteria and the candidate’s skills would always be the most likely to yield success – so long as it was honest.