5 Dangers of Lying On Your CV

3 minute read

When working in the charity and non-profit sector, integrity really matters. Whilst your dream job may feel alluring ‘if only’ you had that relevant experience, you need to resist the temptation to lie. Lies will come back to haunt you and can damage your career in the long term.

But it is possible to achieve your goal without resorting to bending the truth. Need more convincing? Here are just five dangers of lying on your CV:

5 Dangers of Lying On Your CV

1. Your online trail is bigger than you think

Today’s savvy recruiter gets Googling when they like the look of a CV. They’ll work their way through the shortlisted pile, donning their detective cap and unearthing anything and everything that they can find out about a potential candidate online.

This means they’ll check out your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages. They’ll try to track down mentions of you made by others, or whether you really are a contributor to a particular paper that you’ve said you are.

The reality is that no matter how much you lock down privacy settings online, if you’re a professional in the charity sector, you will have an online trail. And nothing hurts your chances more than that trail catching you out in a lie.



2. Interviewers will sense your fibs

Let’s say your lie secures you a call for an interview. You’re not home and dry. Imagine the angst you’ll feel when quizzed on your lie face to face. Don’t think you won’t be, because you will.

Interviewers are intuitive and highly adept at reading body language. They are familiar with this process and will have interviewed multiple people before. They will know when you are lying.

If you don’t want to get even hotter under the collar than is normal for interview nerves, then don’t lie. If you aren’t quite qualified for a job but still think you’ll be a good fit, try instead to explain what you’ll bring to the role that other candidates cannot. Hiring managers will appreciate the honesty, and it may even help you get to that next stage in the interview process.

5 Dangers of Lying On Your CV

3. Your referees won’t lie for you

It is one thing for you to lie, but it’s another entirely to expect someone else to do it for you. Charities and non-profits always check references, and they will likely do so in a targeted and structured way. Your referee isn’t going to sign their name to back up your lies.

Indeed, references in the charity sector are extremely revealing when it comes to quantifying and qualifying skills, experience, qualifications and more.


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4. Actions speak louder than words

So, your telling-porkies CV did the trick and landed you an interview. You resisted the power of the polygraph-like interviewer, and you’ve been offered the job. Now what? It won’t be long until it’s abundantly clear that you don’t have the skills that you said you did.

You’re heading into a sticky situation. Are you going to lie further to get out of this? Are you going to be pleased with a job done poorly, especially in the non-profit sector where principles really matter?

5 Dangers of Lying On Your CV

5. You could tarnish your reputation

Ultimately, lying on your CV, and then throughout the recruitment process, could be fraud. Even if it’s not, it’s morally questionable. When you are found out, because you will be, your reputation will never recover.

This could be catastrophic, especially because of the sector you work in. Word travels and you’ll find that not only have you damaged your career now, but you’ll prevent yourself ever getting the job you really wanted—and could get—if you’d just stuck to the truth and been patient.



What to do instead of lying on your CV

You don’t need to lie on your CV and the risks aren’t worth it. Instead, you can do a few different things:

  • Use this as an opportunity to gain what you lack: Identify the skills or experience you are missing and acquire them. If you don’t have any charity sector experience, volunteering is a great place to start.
  • Bolster the strong areas of your CV: Focus on what you do have to offer, pinpoint your transferable skills and highlight them.
  • Write an honest cover letter: Use your cover letter to explain what’s missing from your CV and how you plan to address those issues, within the context of still being suited to the job.

Be honest on your CV. A key attribute that recruiters in the charity sector are looking for is integrity. Don’t damage your long-term success for a risky short cut now.

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV and careers advice websites StandOut CV and Job description library, as well as being a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider.

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