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There comes a point in everyone’s life where the market is tough, you’re new to your field or you’re just down on your luck and no one is responding to your job applications. Even though developers are in demand, a job search is by no means a walk in the park. Adding a few porky pies here and there is hideously tempting but what actually happens when you lie on your CV? The truth is this; whether its an embellishment or a whopper, the risk is just too big. It’s a short cut which can damage your reputation irreparably. No matter how big you think your city is, it’s not big enough to avoid all of the potential consequences.

What Happens When a Developer Lies on Their CV

Understandably many people are desperate to find work but lying about your ability to code in Java, C#, .NET, Python or any other programming language is only going to land you in hot water. If you make it to the interview the person interviewing you is highly likely to pick up on the fact that there are gaps in your knowledge. It’s near impossible to bluff your way through technical, development related questions. On the off chance that your porkies get you the job, you still have to pass all the background checks.

A Growing Problem in South Africa

The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service has noticed a massive increase in the amount of falsified information candidates put on their CVs. By far the biggest lies come in the form of qualifications which candidates have not received or successfully completed. By purchasing a fake qualification or forging a qualification you are actually committing fraud and while the South African government may not appear to take it too seriously, recruiters and potential employers do.

All the Background Checks

So you manage to fly through the interview without raising any red flags. Whether by sheer luck or because the interviewer doesn’t know all that much about programming either the next step is getting through the reference, background and qualification checks. You might have managed to slip through the cracks ten years ago but these days more and more companies and recruiters are going the extra mile to tick every box. If only to cover their own backs, these checks and balances will ensure that you have qualifications you said you have, that you have no criminal record and that you have worked where you said you have worked.

Learning on the Job

If your qualifications check out and your previous employers don’t accidentally out you; you may actually land the job. Then what? That’s when things get real. The forecast; Hlaudi with a chance of meatballs. Even if you are a fast learner and you spend every waking moment outside of work learning what you need to know, 90% of learning a skill is making mistakes and figuring out how to fix them. If you are making mistakes carrying out simple tasks, which you said you purported to have a clear understanding of, someone is going to see through your porkies.

The Repercussions of Lying on Your CV

Having slid through the initial vetting process and continued to lie; the risk of repercussions is increased significantly. Even if you do hold said qualifications and you have worked at the places you said you worked at, embellishing on your skills or experience is an extremely serious offence. Losing your job may be the least of your worries. You have likely muddied your name in an industry which you were truly hoping to break into.

Not Even a Fib

It might be easy to justify but the odd little overstatement can foil your best intentions. You might not go as far as to adjust your marks, subjects and training certificates but any untruth is an untruth. Stick to the facts, be honest about your skills, previous titles, responsibilities, period of employment, where you worked and your reasons for leaving. Nothing is worth being caught out on because once you have lost the trust of your new employer they are unlikely to keep you on. The most important thing to remember is the way a lie quickly snowballs and keeping track of them is cumbersome at best. Even if you are only found out years later, you could still face an unpleasant fallout.

The Work-Around

There is a hack though. Getting a great job requires honesty. Even if you do not have the experience required, you can state your case by expanding on any relevant experience you may have accumulated. If your new employer knows where it is you are coming from, they will be more understanding if you do make mistakes on the job. If the job requires a senior level of experience which you do not have, you need to reassess your goals and consider a more practical approach to your job search. The stress that comes with a job you are not skilled or experienced enough for is exceptionally high and the chances of pulling it off are far too slim for it to be worth the risk.

There are far too many things that can potentially go wrong when you lie on your CV. As tempting as it may be, you will get caught out. Make sure every version of your CV is the same and accurate, then potential employers and recruiters will take you seriously. When the right job comes around, you’ll know it. After all, good people get good jobs.