Embellishing your CV with overstated qualifications or past achievements can come back to haunt you, should your new employer delve deeper.

Most of us have, at some point, jazzed up the 'Hobbies and Interests' section of our CV to try to make ourselves seem that bit more impressive. Indeed, if you were to go on the basis of CVs rather than club memberships, you would probably find an astonishingly large community of rock climbers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers in Ireland.

But whatever about injecting a touch of the superhero into this particular part of your CV, there can be more serious repercussions for untruths elsewhere.

"I wouldn't say people lie exactly; it's more overstating," says Kenneth Buchholtz, director of Campbell International HR Consultants. "They might make it look like they have a lot of experience in a particular area, but when you drill down a bit at interview stage, you find they did it at university but not afterwards."

Remember LeeMcQueen? He won The Apprentice reality show in the UK, but submitted a "creative CV". Alan Sugar hired him despite the fact that McQueen had lied on his CV about how long he had spent at university.

"If it had been real life, I don't think he would have gone any further," says Buchholtz.

However, he believes it is possible to get through an interview despite incorrect information such as this. "You might have two interviews, each lasting an hour, and the employer can't cover everything or double-check everything in this time. Even if an employer checks with referees, it can be misleading because they could be friends of the candidate.

"If untruths are found out later, however, this can be grounds for instant dismissal."

Buchholtz cites one example where an experienced manager got a job, but a couple of months later it emerged that the university he had supposedly got this degree from had never heard of him. "He probably would have got the job anyway because of his experience, but when his employer found out he spoke to him about it and the manager resigned. It was his own insecurity that led him to lie on his CV."

Jobseekers who lie or overstate their knowledge and experience on their CV should be aware that some employers will require them to conduct a practical test in conjunction with an interview. This will quickly catch out anyone not telling the truth. If you're found out at this stage, and the information gets back to the recruitment agency or to other potential employers, you will have done yourself no favours.

"If you are ambitious, but don't have much in the way of qualifications, highlight any practical work experience you have, especially if it involved doing the same work as qualified people," advises Buchholtz.

"Get a reference that states that as well. Failing all this, face facts and consider getting a qualification by night."




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