In today’s highly competitive job market it is essential to present yourself as effectively as possible when sending out CVs to potential employers. When applying for a new position, your own CV may be one amongst hundreds that the employer consults in order to make their selection. When identifying the applicants who best fit their criteria, it is important for the individual to immediately come across as a worthwhile candidate and make the most of their CV in order to secure an invite to the next stage of the process. In this climate applicants must make every effort to stand out from the rest and make their CV distinctive, asserting that amongst all other potential hopefuls they have the best aptitude and skills for the role. It is in this context of heightened competition that applicants may be tempted to be more liberal with the facts about their work experience to date and the skills they have acquired in order to appear as qualified as possible for the vacancy, but applicants should not be pulled towards providing false information in order to get ahead of the competition.
When applying for new positions it’s advisable to go into them with self-confidence and a high level of positivity in terms of what you are capable of. However, the attitude of ‘I can do that!’ could prove problematic in certain circumstances. A former colleague of mine once found themselves in a difficult situation when they were asked to demonstrate the level of proficiency with Italian they had put down in their application. The ability they had stated was significantly higher than their actual knowledge of the language, which was in actuality next to none, and the interviewee’s exaggeration was caught out immediately. No one wants to find themselves in a similar predicament during an interview, especially when, if discovered, the exaggeration or piece of false information provided on the CV may compromise their chances of landing that role, or staying in that position on a long-term basis and building their career.
With this in mind there are obvious extremes which any candidate should avoid. If it is essential for the position that the candidate holds a university degree in a particular subject or any other formal qualification which is a requirement for all applicants, for example, the consequences of being found out far outweigh the benefits of providing false information. It has been reported that a large number of graduates falsify their grades in order to appear more employable, but the frequency of this type of activity has led to businesses increasing their efforts in order to verify the information a candidate provides. Making a bad hiring decision on their part is harmful for business, and employers are subsequently careful to protect themselves. If you do manage to secure a job for which you are not fully qualified on the back of deliberately false information and are fired from that job as a result, this will only damage your CV further and subsequently limit your chances of gaining employment in the future, a cycle in which you may then again be driven to be dishonest. Honesty really is the best policy in this case, especially with the capabilities of social media and other internet resources today. Information about us is more widely available to the public, and subsequently to potential employers, than ever before, and subsequently any false claims we make have a greater likelihood of being discovered. With employers now being able to verify almost any aspect of an applicant’s CV through the availability of information and the ease of accessing this, it is far better to be truthful and give yourself adequate space to put yourself across strongly using the facts instead. Statistics have shown that 1 in 3 employers reject a candidate on the basis of information which they have discovered online. Using only the factual information about yourself and your history will provide you with the opportunity to expand on this, explain or justify the things which you feel may decrease your chances, and there is a strong likelihood that as a result you will be able to move past these and prove yourself. Lying, if you are found out, does not provide this opportunity.
Taking this into account, when putting together your CV or application it is a far better strategy to use actual details about your employment history and skill set and communicate these well, rather than faking any information in order to deceive the employer. This links back to how effectively the CV presents the candidate. If you feel you have certain shortcomings in relation to the role but are otherwise well suited, particularly if you are ambitious to take a new direction and grow into the job, suggest how your experiences to date have prepared you for the new role. You can dig deep here and make use of anything which may be relevant or which you can present as such; the CV is your canvas for presenting yourself, so make the most of it. Whether voluntary work, paid work or a recreational activity or other pursuit, take time to evaluate what impact the experience has had on you, what this tells the employer about you, and most importantly what you gained from it in order to increase your stock as a candidate. So long as this information is kept concise and to the point, so as not to make your CV overlong or drift off topic, then you can make use of it to enhance your potential. Taking the necessary time and effort here instead of using short cuts or misleading the employer will show through and make you a stronger candidate overall. There are many possible temptations, for instance claiming a false job title if you feel you have been performing the duties of a more senior position without being given the recognition, but applicants shouldn’t be drawn into this. Similarly, it is unwise to extend the dates of any previous job in order to hide periods of unemployment. As has been discussed, it is increasingly easy for your potential employer to find out the facts, and making false claims will immediately lower your credibility. The trick with a strong CV is not to falsify the information but to utilise the truth to the best effect. You can be creative here and find the right language and phrases to properly express what you have achieved and what makes you suitable, and make the most of these without falling into the trap of being genuinely fraudulent. There have been instances where those who have embellished their qualifications or other details have faced criminal charges, including large fines, and have been barred from continuing in the career they had pursued, so this is far from being a harmless matter, no matter how individuals might look to rationalise it. If, however, you create a CV which really sells who you are, there should be no need to lie at all.
To conclude, although competition for work remains high in today’s job market, honesty remains the best way to progress. With a high number of people providing fraudulent information, businesses are making increased efforts to verify the information you provide, and along with the availability of this online there is an increased chance of being discovered, and the consequences are often severe. Instead, your CV can be used to great effect to present the facts and really sell yourself as the best candidate.