Beware the Perfect C.V

Have you ever lied on your curriculum vitae? Your C.V: that all important resume. After all, who could possibly be interested in your employment at a given company when you had only worked there for only three or six months? Surely it doesn’t matter about that year you spent struggling to hit a sales target only to be fired by the boss from hell. Or the time you ‘accidentally’ put your mother’s birthday present on expenses only to find yourself without a job the next day. The truth is that none of us wants to reveal our shortcomings, weaknesses or lapses of judgement, and certainly not in writing for all to see. Forget all of that, because you’re sure that everybody else has, and just concentrate on the ‘good times’, conveniently merging some of the good dates of employment with other equally good dates. As the old song says accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. All of the bad stuff will simply disappear as if it were an unwelcome credit card bill tossed into a drawer, never to be seen again. You’re convinced that nobody cares or bothers to check your employment record that closely. Well, think again. It doesn’t matter how old you are, an employer will still need to see evidence of those exams taken in 1971, and above all its worth remembering that potential employers are not stupid people. In the 70’s I worked for an insurance company based in Birmingham, and although the salary was reasonably impressive I can honestly say it was probably the worst three months of my working life. Yet, strangely, this has always been missing from my curriculum vitae. I feel almost relieved at having shared that information: like the purging of ones soul. Confessing to a wrong-doing of some thirty years. Yet the question has to be asked, how much of the ‘truth’ can the average human resourses department take? After all, sometimes the absolute truth on a C.V may work against one. For example, a criminal record or being fired, and remember, millions of people have been fired and lots of folk have been to jail. Sometimes the ‘perfect’ C.V may just appear too perfect and can start alarm bells ringing. It could be argued that the employers’ eternal quest to find the unblemished resume of the glowing candidate has led to the doctoring of many a C.V down the years, but it still doesn’t make it right. Even worse is when you finally get that illusive job only to be found out as someone who has lied on their C.V and fired as a result. What is one to do in that situation? Easy, you might think. Just leave that bad experience off the revised C.V: compounding the problem. Go back over your full employment record, list everything, the good and the bad, and concentrate on how to present a genuine document at your next interview. Just think how honest: sincere you’ll feel when you get that job!

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