A sales pitch too far?

Thought sml 600px wideSome people are economical with the truth, tell lies, plagarise coursework, cheat in exams and on their boyfriends/girlfriends.

You can think what you like about the morals or ethics of such people but what actually happens to them?  Do you hear about the ones who got away with
it or the ones that got caught and were expelled from their course or make the headlines in the papers?

It’s tempting with other people seemingly taking advantage all over the place to consider doing yourself a favour and padding out your CV with some things that will make you look good too.

There is a BIG difference between doing a good sales pitch and downright lies.


  1. Think about everything you have done, paid work, family business, voluntary work, projects on your course, hobbies, sports, helping friends etc
  2. Consider very carefully what skills you might have gained.
    It’s not JUST a bar job, the skills you used are valuable in almost every job – teamwork, leadership, verbal communication skills, negotiation skills, customer service skills, even marketing and sales skills.
  3. Use active language to help sell these skills to an employer.
    Words like: Analysed, Assessed, Classified, Collated, Defined, Designed. See our CV guide for more
  4. Give evidence to prove that you are competent at the skill you claim to have.
    What was the situation? – what did you do? – what was the outcome? e.g. Coordinated projects across campus, including market research surveys and facilitating focus groups, gathering student perspectives all of which enabled me to develop effective analytical and project management skills.


Copy someone elses CV and put your name on it.

  • Seen it on assessed course work. Outcome –  FAIL
  • 2 graduates were recently found out when they both got a job at the same company and their manager looked at their CVs and got rather a shock. Outcome – immediate sacking for both of them!

Say you worked somewhere when you didn’t

  • It’s too easy to check and people do check on these things, a simple phone call is all it takes.
  • Even informally you can be found out, your boss asks you if you knew John Smith who would have been your boss, what can you say??

Claim you worked on something when you didn’t.

  • Did you really run events with that professional body?  Again its too easy to be found out – e.g .Your boss says oh you worked with Tricia Smith at CILIP didn’t you? Can you just ring and ask her about this…?
  • There might also be a realistic expectation that if you did a particular task you would have developed a particular skill or knowledge, it can be pretty hard to fake.

And if anyone tells you it’s ok to make stuff up on your CV or that everyone does it – just ignore them!

EDIT 31/7/2014 – CIFAS the UK’s fraud prevention service has produced a new leaflet explaining why it is a very bad idea to lie about your qualifications on a job application and the possible repercussions.

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