Is it EVER Acceptable to Lie on Your Postgraduate CV?


Fibbing on your postgraduate CV might not seem like a big deal, but these little white lies can come back to threaten your career.

You never know where your professional career will end up, and if the stir Yahoo's former CEO Scott Thompson made in the headlines is anything to go by, it may be best to put the lying to bed!

The Truth About Lying The truth is people lie on their CV all the time. In fact one study by Business Insider revealed that 31% of people 'fessed up about lying on their CV (although 13% admitted they lied when answering the question, so we're guessing there may be a margin of error there!)

From bluffing about experience to downright lies regarding qualifications, it seems people are willing to lie about anything to get ahead. According to Graduate Prospects  who surveyed 1,306 students and graduates in May 2012, higher university fees and a tougher jobs market could make education fraud more widespread. Almost half of those surveyed (43%), said that the rise in tuition fees would make graduates more likely to lie on their CV .

But what if there was a service that allowed employers to check candidates' qualifications...

Well it seems all this lying has proven too much for the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills who has decided to partner with the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Universities UK to launch an online service which does exactly that. The Higher Education Degree Datacheck has already got over 165 publicly-funded universities and colleges in the UK on board. With the fear that they may be found out and that their qualifications would be checked, a whopping 89% of students and graduates said they were less likely to lie.

What Do People Lie About?

So what are the most common lies people are making on their CVs?

  • Saying they have a degree when they don't
  • Giving a higher grade than they actually achieved
  • Saying they completed a course when they only finished part of it
  • Changing course subject to suit job requirements
  • Work experience
  • Adjusting past job titles
  • Their scope of past job responsibilities
  • Altering dates to make them appear longer or shorter
  • Technical skills and abilities



There's Lying and then There's Lying! Telling a few porkies about past experience to ensure you snag that dream job is one thing, but completely fabricating degrees and qualifications is a whole other ball game. Sometimes the untruths we include in our CVs are not so much outright lies as they are omissions, exaggerations or embellishments.

Although lying may seem part and parcel of most job applications, experts advise us to stick to the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when it comes to putting your CV together.

Tell the Most Positive Version of Events At the end of the day, there are some things that you just shouldn't tell your recruiter. Whether it's that your previous boss created such a toxic environment you loathed the thought of getting out of bed in the morning, or that one of your spiteful co-workers sabotaged you, some things are best left unsaid.

Instead of lying, present the truth in the most positive way possible. A great rule of thumb is to first consider whether the point you are expressing is positive or negative. If it's positive, there is no need to embellish it. If there is something negative in your background then don't bring it to light, or rather, focus on the silver lining!

Lying on your postgraduate CV may put you in the race, and may even win you the job. Just remember though, not only will you be publicly embarrassed and most likely lose your position if you get found out, but lack of experience will certainly be exposed once you are in the role.



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