Fake it to make it31 July 2012
By Praseeda Nair
THE guiding tenet for anyone entering the workforce is to never lie on your CV, even although fabricating work experience and tacking on extra years may seem tempting in this sluggish economy.
While it’s reckless and morally dubious to lie on your CV, embellishing the facts a little (let’s call it ‘poetic licence’) might fall into an acceptable grey area. Think of your CV as a back cover summary of your autobiography where a little creative editing can go a long way.
Here, Campus Cashy looks at ways you can bend the truth without breaking your moral compass (or the law)!
WHAT TO DO
If you were a part of a division or department that experienced any sort of record-setting goals (increased efficiency or sales figures), there’s no harm in putting that information on your CV.
Sure, that may have only been a one-month internship, but if you were involved in the process at all, you deserve to bask in the glory. Be careful not to exaggerate your role in team success, though.
The numbers game
If you can quantify it, put it in your CV. Almost any job can be measured numerically, be it in terms of sales figures reached, clients bagged, articles or designs in the portfolio, or even the number of students taught.
While employers skim through hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of applications, numbers are the first to catch their eye. It’s not about making up figures or adding extra digits – it’s about letting your most impressive numbers shine through the text-heavy page.
Simply (one of) the best
Quantifying your output in terms of work experience can help you show future employers where you stand within the companies you’ve worked for (or even universities you’ve attended), as well as how you fit into the industry as a whole.
If you were the top selling sales executive at your last job, let the figures back your claim. If your work has been on the ‘most viewed’ list on the company’s website for two months in a row, you’re not lying if you call yourself ‘one of the leading performers in the department’.
Spin that yarn
You don’t need to be the CEO of cool to get attention, but putting thought into the documenting process shows future employers that you value each role you’ve had in your career, no matter how yawn-inducing the title may seem.
Your three-month stint at Burger King could have shaped your time management skills and customer relations, while giving you the opportunity to work in a dynamic, multicultural global conglomerate. It’s not about making things up, but working with what you’ve got.
No matter how big of a jerk your ex-boss was, or how underappreciated you were at your last job, on paper every job you’ve ever held should look like an amazing piece of the puzzle that forms your rock-solid work ethic.
Would I hire me?
Pore over the job description and the company profile before asking yourself if you would hire yourself for that position. This isn’t cheating per se, but it does involve manipulating the facts to make you look the most attractive for your chosen job role.
Make your CV match exactly what the employer is looking for, and you’ll be a cut above the rest come interview time.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Stretch and repeat
If you took a gap year after college to ‘find yourself’, don’t think that stretching your summer internship into a six-month stint makes you look more employable.
This common lie can throw suspicion on the rest of your accomplishments, causing you to lose your credibility in the eyes of an employer.
‘Of course I can speak Arabic, habibi’
Another common lie is faking prowess in languages with little or no real experience. In a multicultural environment like Dubai, this could be a grave mistake. All it takes is a quick-fire Q&A from a native speaker to expose your lie.
Wartorn Business School?
Lying about your educational background is probably the ultimate cardinal CV sin. Even if you do get hired, most HR departments require a notarised copy of your degree.
If you are asked about your current salary, it is understood that they mean to know about your entire salary, not just your basic number. But adding extra zeros or rounding figures up to the nearest three thousand, are definite no-nos. Many employers ask for salary slips for verification, so beware!
Pic credit: freedigitalphotos.net
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