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Little White Lies

Many people whitewash their experience in job applications and CVs to ‘make the best’ of their experience. That is what my teachers told me to do when I left school. They didn’t say lie (and I never have), but they did encourage me to hold a candle up to my experience, and play down any negatives.

On 2 July 2014, CIFAS (Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System) sent out a warning to all university graduates about lying on their CVs. In their latest guidance ‘Don’t finish your career before it starts’, they remind those graduating this year that “lying on a job application can have serious consequences for your future”.

But it isn’t just for university graduates. A year 11 pupil leaving school may very well wish to apply for a part time job to supplement their further studies. So, what does lying on your CV mean in practice?

Omitting your school sickness record or leaving out the irrelevant 6 week spell at the local chip shop is one thing, but how about putting a star next to that A grade or saying you volunteered all summer rather than the two weeks you were actually there? After all, it’s just a little embellishment, and nobody will check.

I was surprised, even shocked, to find out that even a little fib, such as inflating a grade, on a CV or job application could land you in jail!

One young woman was jailed for six months after lying about having two A-levels. After her work performance didn’t live up to their expectations, her employers challenged her about her experience and qualifications. She admitted that she didn’t have A-levels and had begun embellishing her CV after she applied, unsuccessfully, for several jobs and thought it wasn’t very serious.

Steve Girlder, Managing Director at HireRight, said: “Graduates often hear in the media or from peers that it is standard practice to inflate claims on a CV. But employers do check information, especially in graduate roles where there can be little to choose between different candidates. Errors and ‘white lies’ could be the difference between getting to the next stage of the recruitment process and being sent home.”

As it turns out, that little white lie could even lead to being blacklisted. A fraudulent job application will stay on your record for six years, even if you don’t get the job – and any employer could find out by searching the database. It could, quite literally, destroy your chances of getting a job before you even have your foot in the door.

So how can your pupils improve their job prospects? CIFAS suggests voluntary work and gaining skills through project management and research. Give your pupils plenty of opportunity to develop these skills whilst at secondary school and they will have a much better chance when their CV goes before an employer.

You can find information about Careers Guidance on TheSchoolBus.



I'm an ex-teacher with a real passion for education, politics and teaching. I am also a keen writer and blogger with strong opinions.

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