A little white lie won't wash with employers - here's why

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A little white lie won't wash - here's why

When it comes to applications and CVs, there is no such thing as a terminological inexactitude. Let's get this straight right now: Don't lie on your CV. It never works and it will come round and bite you on the arse at some point in the future. Many graduates presume that a little tweak to their history here or there is absolutely fine and will often fall back on the desperation excuse. It's not and some have said that employers will even try to prosecute you for fraud if your lying goes too far down the line.

Lying on CVs, Covering letters or Application forms is a dangerous game and can be easily picked apart and trust me employers don't like being led down the garden path. Many graduates may add a few made-up internships, tweak that 2.2 to a 2.1 or bump up their GCSEs to meet the criteria but nowadays that just doesn't wash and employers have a range of tools that can easily call you out on it.


This is more than likely the first thing employers will check when they are reviewing candidates they like the look of. While none of you are stupid, nor are employers. You hear of horror stories of people buying degrees online and trying to pass them off, usually fictitious universities with even more bogus degrees. The University of Yorkshire - Unicorn studies. 1 st Class Honours, the Oxford Management University, you know they types.

Graduates can often be incredibly self-conscious about their degrees, especially those who fell below the 2.1 gold-standard. The temptation to notch it up to a 2.1 and open hundreds of doors to the jobs that require that grade can be utterly excruciating and so very tempting. I understand, as much as any other Desmond graduate, it's harder to job hunt with what feels like this 2.2 shaped albatross around their necks.

However, this bit of bullshit can be uncovered by a quick phone call. All they need to do is pick up the phone to your university's records department, yes they exist and ask. As soon as they hear that you've told a major porkie then your application will be binned quicker than you can say "but I wasn't far off…"

"Internships? Yeh I've done loads…"

Internships and experience have grown to become almost as important as having a degree itself. But don't worry employers are smarter than that and are more than prepared to put the time in if they suspect something is awry.

In a similar way to the method of checking you're not lying about your degree grade, they'll pick up the phone or drop an email to the company checking you were there when you said you were. This also means it's important that you get your dates right.

Understanding your responsibilities and your level is also quite important because if the employer gets through to anyone who worked with you and finds you may have exaggerated "slightly", you're heading to the bin. There's no point claiming great responsibility on something you were only slightly involved in. It is also important to note the importance of getting your dates right too. Your Internship-employers may need their memories jogging so make sure you give them something to go on.

I am an auteur

Skills are something it is very easy to make mountains out of molehills. Graduates can be all too tempted to show themselves to be true pioneers of their craft, when really they are just about competent. I understand the temptation to make what you have sound as good as possible and this can send you down the road of bigging up your skills and attributes, but be careful because while these might not come up until interview your lack of knowledge will be certainly exposed. And exposed in truly crushing and embarrassing fashion. You must remember that you are going to be facing professionals.

Criminal record

Criminal convictions are a sticky point and a legal area I'm slightly anxious in delving into. Many of us young people have been arrested at one point or another, while I haven't personally, having a criminal conviction can make you apprehensive about applying for jobs. There are obvious criminal convictions that will stop you entering certain professions, having a fraud conviction will obviously stop you working in Banking, for example.

However, the importance of a criminal record depends entirely on the crime and on the sentence you received for it. There are such things as "spent" convictions where the record is no longer relevant and certain crimes where it will prevent you from working in certain sectors or professions like Finance, with children or in prisons. For more information on the legalities of this, take a look at the Nacro advice on this. You might well be asked for this in advanced, but there are checks with the police and legal systems that can unearth any wrong doings you may have in the cupboard, so it's better you've already explained how it was a long time ago and it isn't you anymore.

Employers are wily cats and it is understandable that they want to make sure they are employing the right person. If you think because you're going in as an entry-level graduate, they won't notice a few white lies here and there, you'd be wrong. It is never worth the risk and they've got the tools and know-how to call you out on it.

By James Howell