Lying on your CV is a bit like driving at 110kmph in 100 zone; everybody agrees it’s wrong but many people do it regularly.

Cpl Director Peter Cosgrove spoke about this topic on Newstalk’s Down To Business this week, with presenter Bobby Kerr suggesting that three-quarters of Irish job seekers admit to lying on their CV.

On the show Peter gave an honest assessment of his experience with CV falsehoods, “Most people embellish a little bit. While we don’t want doctors claiming medical knowledge they don’t have, the reality is most people claim a little bit more experience than they actually have.”

Don’t Embellish Your CV

Those that do admit to falsely ‘improving’ their CV usually argue that they have no choice but to bump up their qualifications. The rationale is that recruiters expect a little embellishment or that everybody else will be ‘improving’ their CVs so the only option is to follow suit. As Peter mentioned, “many people feel they need to bolster their education just to get in the front door.” With so much competition in the jobs market at the moment, are we coming to a point where you have to lie on your CV to get a job?

The simple answer is no. The best CVs highlight the skills that you do have that are most relevant to the role you’re applying for. If you can do the job, you should be able to make that clear and secure an interview without bending the truth.

Adapt And Improve It Instead

However, just because you’re telling the truth doesn’t mean your CV should be a bland list of facts. Your CV can add detail and depth to the experience you have. It can be adapted to fit the role you’re applying for or the employer you’re applying to. Without ‘embellishing’ it, you can put some work in to make sure that your relevant skills stand out. Move your most relevant experience, skills and education to the top of the CV and add more detail on your successes that fit the job spec.

It’s very easy to have multiple versions of your CV and to create brand new ones to fit specific job applications. These new versions can be focused on a specific role without ever venturing away from the truth. Your CV is about putting your best foot forward, but that doesn’t mean artificially inflating your abilities.  It means making sure that it demonstrates why you are the best person for the job.

Your ability to actually do the job will ultimately be the most important factor in securing a new role. No matter what you say on your CV, it will never get you a job on its own. As Peter pointed out, “The CV only gets you the interview. It’s still up to the employer to decide if you’re right for the job.”

You can listen to the full Newstalk piece here.