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The truth about cvs

How accurate are CVs/Resumés?

Once, a long time ago, I knew a young man who had come to South Africa from England.  He was a television technician who landed up sharing a house with two draughtsmen.  They were earning better salaries than he was, so he decided that it was an excellent career choice.
They taught him the basics and off he went and got a job as a draughtsman.   He was fired at the end of the first week!  Undaunted, he tried again.   Six months, and 5 jobs later, he was a draughtsman and still is today.

I am not sure if this would still be possible, nor if there is a moral to this story, maybe amoral is more like it.   He did work extremely hard to improve his skills, though, and shared his questionable career path with the final company.  They decided to take a chance, and the rest is history.

The value of secure employment within challenging economic conditions creates an environment where people resort to any number of tactics to gain an advantage – including seriously embellishing the truth on the Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Resumé.

At Accsys, we recruit both for ourselves and our clients through our Recruitment Division, PeoplePlace.  Fari Chibgwe, who heads up the division, says that they have noticed at least 1 in 5 CVs misrepresent the truth.  She says “It is clear to us that candidates understand that the document is a way to market themselves effectively and try to make them as attractive as possible.”

In broader discussions with people in the Recruitment and HR space, it seems that practitioners are concerned about the level to which some candidates exaggerate their credentials, particularly with reference to work experience, qualifications and salary.

Among the more common problems are:
·       the use of friends or peers as references
·       significant exaggeration about designations and responsibilities
·       inaccurate dates
·       over-emphasis or misleading details about strengths, achievements and successful projects.

It is difficult to quantify the situation and there is no real way of measuring the precise degree to which people are padding their CVs.

While companies do run expensive and time consuming background checks, sometimes the truth only comes out after commencement of employment.   This incurs additional costs for companies.

The best advice she offers to candidates to truly stand out amongst competitors, in the right way, is to tell the truth and highlight the positive, whilst not attempting to hide the negative.

When sharing situations that may be seen as negative, it is difficult not to try and put a positive and possibly inaccurate spin on what happened.   Simply saying that you made a mistake and learned from the experience might serve better in the long term.

A resumé should put your skills, qualifications and experience in an attractive light, emphasising the areas which are most relevant for the applied position.   Once inaccuracies filter in, it becomes difficult to remove them later.  

Links, References and Notes

Accsys provides people management solutions ie Payroll, Human Resources (HR), Time and Attendance as well as Access Control/Visitor Management.
The company develops, implements, trains and services our solutions.  We provide readers, turnstiles, booms and CCTV.
We run both on premise and in the cloud, as well as mobile options for ESS.  Recruitment, online education and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) are part of our offering, too.
twitter:   @TerylSchroenn

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