Should I Lie on a CV?


We are commonly asked how far someone can go to “spice up” details on their CV in order to help get that dream job, but did you know, around a quarter of 3,000 screened CVs submitted with job applications last year had a lie in them? Lies included falsifying qualifications / references and inflating job titles.

However, a report released from The CIPD states that around a quarter of companies either failed to check these details or did not contact references.

High profile examples of CV lies

A Chauffeur managed to get a job driving a Managing Director around – even though he had been banned from driving.

The former head of an NHS trust faces jail after admitting securing his £115,000 job by lying on his CV – claiming to have a first class degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Medicine (even though his only qualifications were a couple of A-Levels).

A Dentist who lied about his clinical experience on his CV ended up being banned from practising for a year. The Dentist gave a presentation on oral surgery to an audience full of postgraduates and oral surgeons, but the delegates became suspicious about the contents of his CV and speech. He claimed he was a registrar in Oxford, and had carried out 200 operations after 4 years training. This surprised 3 oral surgeons from the hospital who knew the Dentist had worked there for just 10 months. The GDC found he had designed the CV to misrepresent his true position and mislead those who attended the lecture.

In addition to the above, it has recently been documented that housing associations are being forced to withdraw up to one in 15 job offers because applicants have lied on their CVs or concealed a criminal past.

What is being done to combat CV lies?

Around 80% of companies in the US make use of Resume (CV) verification services to ensure potential recruits are telling the truth but here in the UK, only 20% do the same / similar! (Please note, this article was written in 2005, exact figures today may be different).

Should I lie on my CV?

If you do decide to embellish details on your CV (and we do not condone this), you run the risk of being caught as more and more employers wake up to the fact – leaving your career and your reputation in ruin. If, however, you do get away with your lies, you may end up in a job normally beyond your grasp – and this may lead to questions being asked.

Our research into CV lies

We asked 100 Facebook users if they had lied on their CV. The options we gave were:

  • Lied about qualifications
  • Lied about employment history
  • Invented some interesting hobbies
  • Lied about something else
  • Never lied

Research results

Responses by sex
Female: 60%
Male: 40%

Responses by age
13-17: 18%
18-24: 52%
25-34: 26%
35-49: 4%

Lied about qualifications
Male: 3%
Female: 3%

Invented interesting hobbies
Male: 20%
Female: 10%

Lied about employment
Male: 5%
Female: 15%

Lied about something else
Male: 8%
Female: 3%

Never lied
Male: 75%
Female: 58%


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