Contractors' Questions: Should I bend the truth on my CV?

Contractor's Question: Like many job-seekers in the current market, I'm taking a long hard look at my CV to ensure it presents me in the best light possible. But at what point does a little bit of 'talking up' my achievements on my CV become tantamount to lying?

Expert's Answer: You have a legal obligation to be honest when writing your CV. However tempting it is to stretch the truth a little, and this is especially so when recession fears become real, resist it.

You must remember that the information you are giving your future employer or client, including the references, form part of a contract, and if you are found to be lying then you are in breach of that contract. At best, the employer is under no obligation to keep you and, at worst, you could face criminal prosecution for fraud.

So to your question - when does stretching your achievements actually become lying? Is it alright to embellish your claims with what appears to be relatively harmless items? For example, adding a few extra weeks to a rather short work experience or claiming a love of extensive travel when the furthest distance actually travelled has been to Dieppe on a day trip?

Once again, it is simply unwise to go down this route. Anyone half competent at recruitment will quickly see through it. Any discrepancies with dates, unexplained gaps in time or extravagant claims that don't match the rest of the CV will all stand out to an experienced recruiter, and your CV will be heading for the bin without further consideration.

Furthermore, if you get through the first sieve, imagine how hard the interview will be when you find yourself lying out loud. It is one thing to write extravagant claims on paper, but quite another to be fluent in untruths in front of an interview panel. If you are found to be lying, even if it is only a small point, then the rest of your CV will be questioned, and you will be most likely back searching the job pages again.

ContractorUK has partnered with the UK's leading authority on contractor CVs to provide a FREE review of your CV and LinkedIn profile. Contact The CV & Interview Advisors and one of their team will get back to you to discuss if your CV and LinkedIn profile matches up with industry best practice.