A CV is the first chance to make a great impression with a potential employer. So naturally people may feel the need to embellish every now and again.


However what candidates may not understand is that it’s easy to get caught. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 56% of employers have found a lie on a resume.

Some of the most common lies included embellished skill sets (62%), embellished responsibilities (54%), dates of employment (39%), job titles (31%) and academic degrees (28%).

The survey showed that one of the most common mistakes by candidates is assuming every requirement in the job listing needs to be filled. Yet, 42% of employers say that they would consider an applicant who has met only three out of five qualifications.

Despite being prohibited, many candidates still make these errors. CareerBuilder collected examples of some of the most ridiculous mistakes and lies found on CVs.

The 15 best examples are below:

  • Applicant claimed to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying
  • Applicant claimed to be fluent in two languages – one of which was pig Latin
  • Applicant wrote “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse” when listing work history
  • Applicant’s personal website linked to a porn site
  • Applicant introduced himself [in the cover letter] by saying “Hey you”
  • Applicant applying for a customer service position gave “didn’t like dealing with angry customers” as the reason for leaving her last job
  • User name of applicant’s email address was “2poopy4mypants”
  • Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner
  • Applicant claimed to have worked in a jail when they were really in there serving time
  • Applicant who claimed to be HVAC certified later asked the hiring manager what “HVAC” meant
  • Applicant said to have gotten fired “on accident”
  • Applicant claimed to have attended a college that didn’t exist
  • Applicant for a driver position claimed to have 10 years of experience but had only had a driver’s license for four years
  • Applicant’s reference was an employer from whom they had embezzled money and had an arrest warrant out for the applicant
  • Applicant’s stated job history had him in three different companies and three different cities simultaneously

Preventing mistakes is one thing but demonstrating exactly what employers want is another. CareerBuilder asked employers on attributes they like to see to see. They prefer CVs that: are customised for the open position (61%), are accompanied by a cover letter (49%), addressed to the hiring manager or recruiter by name (26%) and include links to applicant’s online portfolio, blog or website (21%).


‘Most absurd CV mistakes ever’, (recruitmentgrapevine.com), August 2015

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