9 Exaggerations People Tell on Their CV

It’s time to get your CV written and of course, you are a (reasonably) honest person (so you tell yourself); therefore, lying on such a pivotal document is out of the question, right?

Naturally, if you have a quarter ounce a week amphetamine habit or a criminal record which you would prefer to keep quiet about, then outright lying is probably going to be your chosen plan of attack.

Assuming you are neither of the above, one still might feel the need to big themselves up and so you begin trawling your mind for any relatable experience which will fill the white piece of A4 paper in front of you and possibly give you the edge over your competition.

And so, it’s time to look at 9 exaggerations people tell on their CVs. How many of these have you been guilty of in the past?

 Travelling & Culture

The classic line which ought to be pre-formatted into the CVs footer as it is so commonly used is the

“I enjoy travelling and meeting new people from other cultures. This I feel this gives me a better understanding of the world as a whole and its different people.”

Loosely translated, a wild week in Ibiza in your early 20s in which you woke up on the floor in a hotel room of some Romanian who you can’t even remember meeting the night before.


Proficient in Microsoft Office

So you used Microsoft Word, changed the fonts about, done a bit of highlighting, heck, you’ve even changed the margins, the page orientation and whipped up the odd table in your time. Powerpoint? No problem, used it so many times that you have lost count – sliding animations, adding video, you name it – I’ve done it.

That really only leaves Microsoft Excel for the full house – you once put together a very basic table but couldn’t work out to get the columns to total at the bottom so you did it with a calculator yourself instead. Still 2 out 3 is okay, isn’t it?


Ability to Work Alone or as Part of a Team

Let’s just cover all the bases here straight off the bat. But hey, you not lying! You were a key member of your junior high school’s softball team – I mean, who else is going to cut up those oranges and hand them out?

The fact of the matter is, most people play well with others when things are done their way and if not they detach themselves as they don’t think it is the best idea (because theirs was, obviously).

In 2016, ability to work alone simply means; yes, that’s fine as long as I have Google in front of me. Oh, how the world has changed.

Work Well Under Pressure and Meet Deadlines

You feel it needs to be said so sod it, just throw it down!

But it’s true, even going back to your school and college days when you were busy doing your homework on the bus, which 9 times out of 10 meant copying your friend’s, accounts for you being able to work well under the (often bumpy) pressure of the journey in order to meet that deadline.

The reality of this in the world place is; you start biting your nails, you are working at home until 2am, you haven’t eaten properly for the last 7 days and you’ve lost half a stone in weight. Nevertheless, you did it and can breathe a sigh of relief while thinking to yourself that you hope you don’t have to do that again.


Relatable Experience

We all like to draw on a little experience just so the potential employer doesn’t think we are totally green behind the ears and it’s all in the way we word something – which leads this common exaggeration open to interpretation (as it is intended to do).

A job listing asking for experience in the sales and suddenly you remember selling your Playstation 1 games to your friends and then on Ebay. That’ll do, experience in both offline and online sales with an understanding of the positives and negatives of both formats – bingo!

Enthusiastic about the Position and Industry

Ever since the age of 12, your sole dream was to be a checkout assistant at Walmart – really? Most people tend to over-cook this one until it is burnt to a crisp.

Yes, you helped an old lady cross the road so you can say (without fibbing too much) that you are passionate about helping people and this is why you are ideal for ‘X’ position. You are a bit anal and have organized your friends on Twitter into ‘lists’ so the data entry and processing industry is in your blood.

Fact of the matter, you want a blooming job to get some money so you can go out and have a few beers at the weekend but it’s probably best not to put that in writing.


Duties at Previous Companies

Surely no potential employer is going to phone your old boss and ask for the exact details of what you did at that company which means this one is ripe for the ‘exaggerated’ picking.

Thinking you back you set up a fantasy football league which gets written on your CV as ‘was in charge of organizing several company activities and monitoring its success’.

You showed a new employee where to get some paper clips, only because there was no one else around, can fill another line; ‘assisted in the training and development of new company personnel.’

The list goes on, and on, and on. Don’t pretend you aren’t guilty of this one – we all are!

Willing to Work Overtime

All bosses what to hear that employees are devoted to the cause and are willing to put in an extra few hours to get the job done.

So, the day comes when your manager wonders up to you and says, “Tim has just phoned in sick, can you cover for him?’

‘Tonight?’ you reply like a startled rabbit before continuing, ‘Err, well, the thing is, I have made arrangements.’

‘Yeah, I know it’s short notice; I asked Phil but his wife is in hospital so he needs to shoot off,’ the manager replies.

‘Okay, not a problem,’ you mutter.

Well, come on, you didn’t seriously expect the ‘willing to work overtime’ would be only at your convenience, did you? It always get exaggerated but when it comes to being asked, we all want to avoid it like the plague.

High School Exam Results

Isn’t it funny how as you get older your high school grades magically improve? Depending on how you choose to phrase this, governs as to whether you are simply exaggerating or telling a big fat porky.

For those people who didn’t take school too seriously and mustered C and D grades in nearly all subjects bar one in which you got an A, a little exaggeration is just what the doctor ordered.

‘9 exam passes including English, Science, Math, Geography, History and woodwork, which I received a grade A for.

A little ambiguity might just swing the vote in your favour – who knows.


It’ll be great if you would leave a comment below and let us know your personal CV exaggerations and tell us if there are any we have missed which you think deserve to be included.


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