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Would You Tweak Your CV and Lie at Job Interview?

Updated on December 19, 2009

A quarter of CVs submitted with job applications in 2004 had a lie in them, according to employee screening firm Risk Advisory Group. You're not supposed to lie on your CV, but what if you don't have any experience in the field or industry; what if you are overqualified for the job and want to leave some credentials off; what if you are underpaid in your current job but think you deserve a significant raise?

Tips on tweak your CV

  • Don't lie about hard facts such as qualifications and education. These lies are easy to detect. You may tweak employment history, but be prepared to provide references for it.

Check inconsistencies carefully in your CV and application form before you send them off. If you exaggerate or tweak any part of your CV, make sure you rehearse your story and achievements claimed just as if an actor memorises their lines until it becomes second nature. Thus you are not fabricating on the spot at job interviews. One method of HR checking interviewees' CVs is ask you to write an appointment press release for use on office noticeboards (imagining you have got the job) without reference to your CV. Make sure that you are well prepared for this.

  • ┬áIf the experience you have is not in line with your needs working in the new position you are applying for and you want to tweak your previous experience, talk to people who have this experience and make sure you are able to handle detailed questions and eventually the job if offered.
  • Don't apply for a job that you could not do. If the job requires technical knowledge, such as accounting or computer skills, make sure that you can answer those questions no matter how technical or detailed they might be.

  • If you are overqualified for the job and want to leave some credentials off your CV, that is absolutely fine. Just prepare multiple versions of CV for different level of positions. My husband got a factory cleaner job by omitting his Master and PhD degrees in linguistics many years ago.

Inflating current salary

  • If you want to inflate your current salary to get a significant pay raise in your next role, you'll probably get caught. Most employers in UK request your P45 form for tax purposes which clearly shows your salary in your last job. Here you have three choices:
  1. Lie and risk not getting the job
  2. Tell the truth and count on a successful salary negotiation
  3. Tell the truth and live with what they offer which will likely cause you to quit in another couple of years.


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