Should I lie on my CV?

Dear Dr Jobs

I am finding it really difficult to explain in interviews why I’ve had 6 jobs in the last 5 years. I’ve got great reasons for leaving all of them (mainly redundancy) but by the time I’ve got to explaining the 4th or 5th one, the interviewer’s eyes appear to glaze over and they go off on a tangent talking about the patterns they’ve seen emerging on my CV.  I’m tempted to lie and only put 2 previous employers on there, making out I’ve lasted 2 or 3 years at each but I’m worried about reference checks. What do you suggest, Dr Jobs?

Raymond, St. Albans

Would you lie on your CV?

Dear Raymond

Before helping you overcome your challenges, I must point out that lying on your CV is very, very naughty! Lying is unethical, immoral and could be considered fraudulent so please stick to the truth, be positive and up-front and then cross your fingers!

Your question highlights a very common problem faced in interviews by many candidates who have moved around considerably in a short space of time and you are quite rightly sensing that the interest level in your interviewers are disappearing rapidly as you justify one employment change after another.

Employers will be able to see through your lies

The most effective method of dealing with this is to be explicitly honest with them whilst being brief and to the point. Perhaps some of your moves were misguided attempts to further your career? Perhaps there were personal circumstances that forced you to take jobs you wouldn’t normally have taken? Perhaps you took jobs you didn’t really want in order to ensure you were providing for yourself or your family during these tough times? Whatever the reasons behind your moves, try to explain them in a positive light.

More people than ever before have CVs similar to yours. Bear in mind that employers do understand that because of the recent economic crisis, even the most loyal employees have more entries in their recent CV History. This is mainly due to struggling to find the right role since losing a job during the recession years.

Below is a list detailing what your next employer will be seeking when you talk through your career history:

  1. They will need to see you being transparently honest about everything – if the interviewer feels there is a hole in just one of your explanations, this will lead to doubt over everything else you say. You will not succeed in that interview.
  2. They need to know if you have learned any valuable lessons from those experiences which will add value to what you bring to your next employer.
  3. They need to see you look them in the eye and tell them exactly what you will bring to their business and exactly what your strengths are in performing the role.
  4. They need to know what your medium to long-term goals are, how genuine and realistic they are and how you can be expected to make this move a more permanent one if they don’t know whether they can satisfy your ambitions.

In summary, a potential employer will often forgive mistakes in your career if they feel certain you are a wholly honest character with the best of intentions and that you are capable of performing the role in question. Lying on your CV in the manner you suggested is a sure-fire way of providing reasons for an employer NOT to hire you.

Be positive!

Above all else, make sure you research the company thoroughly before your interview and be aware that truthfulness, positivity, common sense and integrity will shine through. I wish you the best of luck in your job search. is an online job board hosting third party vacancies.

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