According to research, a staggering 75% of candidates tell CV lies.
They lie on their CVs and resumes because they think everyone does it -- and that to look as good as their competitors, they must do it too.
Most think it's 'harmless' and believe the benefits of lying outweigh the risks of being caught.
After all, they tell themselves, there's tough competition for most jobs and it's only natural to want to enhance your profile on your resume or CV so as to present yourself in the best light.
Research suggests that as many as 3 in 4 people tell resume or CV lies, mostly about qualifications, dates of employment and salary.
According to The Risk Advisory Group (TRAG) 65 per cent of CVs submitted in 2007 contained false information, a rise of 16 per cent on the previous year's amount.
According to TRAG, women in their early 30s tell the most CV lies, with 77 per cent of resumes containing some kind of untruth.
Men in their early 20s were next with half of all CVs and resumes containing some misleading information.
TRAG, which reviewed over 3,000 candidate CVs and resume for discrepancies, said that jobseekers misled firms over everything from employment gaps to fraud committed against previous employers.
The most common lies were in employment history, with 55 per cent of applicants inventing a more impressive career. A further 36 per cent lied about their qualifications.
Bill Waite of TRAG, said that many of the resume discrepancies they uncover are simple errors of omission but that around one in ten are more serious, such as failure to disclose criminal convictions, fraud against previous employers or even terrorist links.
He warned employers to be alert to resume and CV lies and far more rigorous in checking out new potential employees.
Although exaggeration is widespread and generally accepted, we would not advise you to resort to outright lies on your CV, resume or job application form. It's as much a legal issue as a moral one. If you're offered a job on the back of information contained in your resume or CV which the employer believes to be correct, then the employer is entitled, in law, to withdraw the job offer if they discover the lie.
So employees found guilty of CV lies can lose their job and worse still, receive a reference that refers to the reason why! It could cost you your future career.
One of us employed a sales person who exaggerated their basic salary by 35%. They had an impressive CV and did a good interview. When our payroll department processed the tax details from his former employer his deceit was discovered. Six hours after arriving at his desk he was marched from the building.
What about the case of Neil Taylor who produced a bogus degree certificate to land the position as head of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust? After admitting the offence of obtaining a financial advantage through deception, he now faces the possibility of prison.
Perhaps you don't think you'll be as unlucky as these two but is it worth the risk? Employers are wising up to CV lies and doing more checks than before.
Many outsource application checking to other companies, set up for this very purpose. They only charge between $150 and $600 to check the details of the CV or resume. The penalties vary from being refused the job to being fired if the offender has already started work. Or as Mr Taylor's case demonstrates, the punishment can be even stronger.
It's possible to look better than your competitors without resorting to CV lies -- trust us.
It's simply a case of selling yourself effectively -- making sure your CV or resume or job application form is professional, relevant and persuasive. You can do this yourself if you have a talent for good writing and presentation.
If you don't, use a professional to write a resume or CV for you. They really are worth the money. You'll get more interviews and perhaps even land your dream job without having to resort to exaggerations or lies.
If you'd rather not pay a professional, check out our resume resources where you can find lots of information and advice to help you write a CV or resume that wins you interviews, without having to lie.