How the heck can I recover from lying on my CV?

What you need to do if your CV contains false information (

Job seekers are often tempted to exaggerate their suitability for a position. If you're one of them, find out what your next step should be.

You’d be surprised how many job seekers choose to omit certain incriminating information. You’d be equally surprised to find out how many people amplify their suitability for vacant positions. CV fraud is rife and be warned, it’s illegal too. Jenny Reid, CEO of background screening company iFacts, says that CV fraud is the same as regular fraud, and perpetrators could therefore face jail time or end up with a criminal record.

If you didn’t include some of your employment history on your CV because it’s not related to the position you're applying for, don’t worry. You’re supposed to be selective and only mention those positions relevant to the vacancy to sell yourself properly.  You can simply mention the discarded fluff to your employers whenever and explain the reason for its exclusion – they’ll understand. 

However, you can get into big trouble with the law if you’re one of the people that has:

- Added a few years to how long you’ve stayed with previous companies

- Made up and added an extra position or two (or three or four…) that you've never held

- Added a few zeros to your previous salary to justify your new salary expectation

- Added responsibilities that you’ve never had

- Claimed to be registered with a national professional body when you aren’t

- Claimed to have any kind of academic qualification when you’ve never completed the course

If your CV currently contains any of the above, here’s what you should do:

‘Fess up!

We advise that you run to your manager immediately. Explain the entire situation. If you have a good history with the company, it might surprise you how lenient they are.


If you’re only just landed an interview (thanks to your lies), your best bet is to be honest. Correct all the errors, apologise for the oversight, and try to win them over by explaining why you’re suitable for the position anyway. Dazzle them with your awesomeness.

Run Away

To avoid the consequences of confessing, then opt to withdraw your application as soon as possible. You won’t have to explain why and how and all that.  Of course you run the risk of losing the position but at least you won’t have to worry about the risk of them finding out afterwards – which is worse because it’ll ruin your professional reputation in the process.

Don’t forget to update your CV immediately and apply elsewhere with your new and improved honest CV. Don’t forget to update your online CV too.

Click Ignore

'Not deciding' is in effect also a decision. Good luck with living a life constantly having to look over your shoulder.

Hoping that you don’t get caught is nothing more than wishful thinking.  Yes, the rest of your life. Because even after you leave that company, you’re still sitting with a dodge CV that got you hired into a position you’re not qualified for. You’ll have to lie for the rest of your life. And not make any enemies because they will seek, find and unleash all the skeletons in your closet.

You should watch Suits in anticipation of Mike Ross’s inevitable downfall. And if you think yours isn't coming, have a look at these 6 who once thought that too...

Caught Out:

1. SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, reportedly lied about having a matric qualification

2. “Dr” Daniel Mtimkulu, Chief Engineer at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), reportedly lied about his qualifications.

3. Pallo Jordan, former Minister of Arts and Culture has already admitted that he fabricated his degrees.

4. Ellen Tshabalala, former Chairperson of the SABC never completed her BComm degree.

5. SA Airways board Chairperson, Dudu Myeni admitted to not having her Bachelors degree.

6. South Africa's ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko, has admitted to lying about having a doctorate.

Not even government officials and higher ups at South African parastatals get away with fabricating the qualifications on their CVs. How embarrasing.

Lying on your CV is definitely not the way to go. You may think that getting a job is most important but it's actually your future success that's much more important. Too often, we make decisions for instant gratification and fail to realise its long term effects.

Besides,Careers24 has thousands of jobs that are perfect for you.