Is It Ok To Lie On Your CV Or Resume?

Is It Ok To Lie On Your CV Or Resume?
Is It Ok To Lie On Your CV Or Resume?

Given how tough the job market is, it can be really tempting to lie on your CV.

Just a few little white lies like changing dates to cover a gap in employment, a little upgrade on your degree or exam results, or maybe even changing your job title to make it sound a bit more grander than it really is.

Can You Get Away with Lying on Your CV?

Honestly it depends on the lie, the company you’re applying to, how much they value honesty and how rigorous their background checks and recruiting process is.

Let’s say you lie on your CV about a particular skill you have. Your CV may get you as far as interview, but then in the interview if you’re asked questions that you should know the answer to based on this lie, the interviewer will expect good answers.

If you can’t answer those questions it’s going to become pretty obvious you’ve lied, you’ll find yourself in a very awkward situation and there’s a good chance the company will blacklist you from applying there again.

Now let’s say you’ve lied on your CV about specific job titles or dates, you make it all the way through the hiring process and get offered the job.

It’s at this point now that a lot of employers will run background checks or reference checks, which will uncover if what you have said on your CV is true or not.

Depending on how big the lie is and how much the company cares, they may withdraw your job offer based on you being untruthful throughout the hiring process. Some companies will care more than others, but most do value honesty.

But what if you get all the way through the hiring process, pass the background checks and start the new job? Does that mean that you’ve got away with lying on your CV?

Possibly, but also possibly not. If at any point during your employment your employer discovers the lie they are entitled to dismiss you instantly. You can even be convicted of fraud and your employer can claim damages if they wanted to.

What Happens If I Lie on My Resume?

As we’ve seen above, if it discovered that you’ve lied on your CV you can be blacklisted from potential employers, have your job offer withdrawn, have your employment terminated and even be convicted of fraud.

Why Is It Important to Be Honest on Your CV?

The risks above are enough to justify being honest on your CV, but there are other reasons too.

Most employers and coworkers value honesty, starting off your relationship with your new team mates based on lies isn’t great.

But there’s also the potential impact on your own mental health and wellbeing. Imagine spending every day with the fear of “being caught out”, always watching your back to make sure the lie isn’t discovered. That’s going to be pretty exhausting.

Imagine starting a new job that you have no idea how to do because you don’t have the skills that you’ve said you have. Talk about pressure, I’d imagine you’d be pretty miserable too! And very quickly found out, performance managed and eventually dismissed.

How likely is it that I’ll be caught out?

It depends on the lie and the employer.

Minor tweaks to dates or job titles, whilst it will show up in background checks, you’ll most likely get away with it with most employers, but why risk it? I wouldn’t.

Misrepresenting your qualifications, job titles and skills are much more likely to discovered and the ramifications more serious.

As tempting as it might be to add a little extra sparkle to your CV, it's a risky game that's not really worth playing. Keeping it honest means you'll find the right job for you, build genuine professional relationships, and dodge a whole heap of potential drama.

After all, a career built on honesty is not just more secure, but it's also way more satisfying in the long run. Keep it real, and you'll be setting yourself up for success.

If you do need help with your CV, you can download my totally free CV template here.


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