You Could Now Face Jail For Lying On Your CV

Actual leaflet from fraud prevention service says no lie is permissible on CVs


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

As you cobble together a CV, amassing your life's achievements, instead of saying you can do the 200m front crawl and have a badge for it somewhere pinned onto your fraying swimming costume from the late 90s, you might be tempted to lie about, say, your degree result. Or not even that. Maybe you might say you were captain of the debate team, when actually you just turned up to one debate and made one silly remark.

But maybe don't. Because turns out lying like this could land you in jail for up to 10 years. Seriously. The CIFAS (the UK's fraud prevention service) have made a guide, specifically targeting students, and sent it out to every UK university to warn about lying on your CV.

It's called Don't Finish Your Career Before It Starts, reports The Independent, and explains that cases referred to them stay on file for six years. This means that if applicants apply for other jobs, they will be flagged up.

'Your dream job asks for a 2:1, but you’ve got a 2:2 – so you just make a little change on your CV. You’re worried you don’t have enough work experience – so you pretend your summer of trekking through Nepal was actually spent working at a local solicitor’s firm,' the leaflet reads. 'After all, no one really checks, right? It’s just a little white lie, right? Wrong. It’s fraud.'

It's not that the CV is a legally binding document, but we get that if an employer only hands you a contract on the basis that the CV is representative of your various documents or certificates or your experience, then lying could get you in trouble. How much trouble? Ten years is the upper limit for 'fraud by false representation'. Yeesh!

Apparently 324 people were prosecuted for lies on their CV in 2013, up from 205 in 2012. The guide also tells a story of one woman who was in the slammer for six months after lying about her A-levels and making up references.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of CIFAS, says: 'Ignorance isn't an excuse if you're caught out.'

So basically, don't lie, but if you feel you have to – 85 students are competing for every graduate job, after all – then be very diplomatic with the truth. Surely there are better ways to make your CV stand out than lies? Comic sans as a font? Might be silly, but nowhere nears as silly as landing in jail for an overachieving CV.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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