The latest story is that of a government official who put a Stanford University degree in her CV that the university could not confirm. On top of it, they discovered plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation. Obviously, those discoveries don’t necessarily benefit a good reputation. And it can absolutely hurt sooner or later when you are trying to build a career.
The response of people in discussions about such scandals usually is that everybody does it. In Germany, a banker with the name Christian Eberhard dreamed of being a surgeon. He made his dream come true by forging a medical degree.
When his fraud was discovered, he had already performed 190 surgeries at the University Clinic of Erlangen. This was despite the fact that he had written his “degree” with an ink pen, even making spelling mistakes.
How to get creative without lying.
One resume writer lists that he won the silver medal in a drama competition at high school. What his resume fails to say is that his group landed second place out of two with a poor performance of a skit written just hours before. The truth behind the story certainly presents him in a bad light.
Another job applicant confessed that, while his CV was accurate, he invented a competing job offer to push a company into giving him more money. And his trick worked.
Do cheaters really get away with more? Temporarily maybe until the truth comes to light. Then it may be a cold wake-up call for them. Rather, it may simply be time for a little editing. There is a big difference between a little bit of padding versus outright lying.
I do not recommend lying, but it’s just common sense to present your experience in the best possible way. It’s all about dressing up the truth in some fancy clothes. People will realize your false claim of having been a CEO when you really were an intern. But changing “I made everyone coffee” to “I managed company-wide beverage orders” will work.
The situation becomes really complicated when there are gaps in your employment. No one wants to say they were unemployed. Rather than lying that you were at a company when you weren’t (it’s too easy to check that), think about what you actually did in that time.
Were you working on learning or improving skills? Did you do volunteer work or help out a friend? If you present these things in the right way, you can make a world of difference.
And if the interviewers challenge you about your extravagant claims, turn it back on them: “Well, did you win the East Midland’s race six years ago?” Chances are, they’ll buckle under the pressure and give you the job on the spot.