The key to a killer CV: Tell the truth

Many jobseekers are tempted to embellish their CV to make themselves look better, but studies have shown that honesty really is the best policy.


Recruiters see copious amounts of CVs on a daily basis, and many of them are largely uninspiring. Because of this, it can be tempting to embellish your resume a little in order to stand out from the flood of other candidates gunning for the same position.

However, being candid about your expertise can actually be far more beneficial for landing an IT job opportunity than exaggerating the truth, as it not only speaks volumes of your character, but may differentiate you from the competition as well.

Is honesty really the best policy?

While a little white lie might seem inconsequential in comparison to the chance of expanding your career prospects, it’s another matter entirely if you are caught out. According to a 2015 survey by CareerBuilder, 56 per cent of employers have caught lies on applicants’ CVs. The survey revealed that 62 per cent of jobseekers embellished the skills they have, 54 per cent said they had more responsibility in a past position that they actually did, and many also exaggerated their job titles, how long they were employed for, and the qualifications they have.

By not being truthful in your resume, you may discredit yourself entirely because the employer is likely to feel they cannot trust any of your claims. In addition, you run the risk of getting a job that you are not equipped for and ending up out of your depth as a result.

How can you make weaknesses count in your favour?

With this in mind, it’s apparent how important it is to be honest when creating your resume. Telling the truth amid a sea of inflated CVs will reflect well on your character and demonstrate to your potential employer that you are a person of integrity.

So how can you recommend yourself through transparency? Some approaches to keeping your CV truthful while still presenting yourself in a good light include being specific about dates, job titles and tasks, putting your strengths first and supplementing any areas you lack by mentioning experience you have gained outside of work.

Likewise, CareerBuilder’s Chief Human Resources Officer Rosemary Haefner says that not entirely meeting the requirements of a position doesn’t have to automatically disqualify you.

“Most hiring managers are willing to consider candidates who do not meet 100 percent of the qualifications. Jobseekers can increase their chances for consideration by proving past achievements that exemplify an ability to learn, enthusiasm and cultural fit,” she said.

Telling the truth is a vital aspect of writing a great CV, so be confident in the abilities you do have and represent them accurately to boost your IT career.