A frank CV could spare your blushes and a prison term

In an age of traceability and private investigators, lying on your resumé will catch up with you

Job seeker Alejandra Bastidas fills out an application at a job fair, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, at Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater, Fla. On Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in September. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Some might call it "massaging the truth"; others would deem it an outright lie. But fibbing on a job application is more common than you might think.

A YouGov survey in the UK found one in 10 people admitted lying on their CVs while the US recruitment firm HireRight found a staggering 85 per cent of employers had caught applicants making up information on their resumés.

As commonplace as it might be, there is good reason to be upfront about your past work experience. Dubai recruitment firms are hiring private investigators to verify details on jobseekers’ CVs after being swamped with embellished applications.

And there are potentially more serious consequences, with the threat of a three-year prison sentence for those caught out and prosecuted for fraud.

There are many reasons why people might lie on their job applications. In a place like the UAE, new arrivals come as blank canvases and the chance of reinventing themselves or their career choices might prove too tempting.

The very nature of a CV lends itself to boasting about one’s talents and presenting oneself in the best possible light – and there is a fine line between showcasing your assets and over-aggrandising your achievements.

However, it pays to be honest. Most employers will appreciate candidates with their feet firmly planted in reality. And in an age of social media and the availability of background checks and traceability, it is too easy to be caught in the act of embellishing the facts in a job application.

While the prospect of prison might act as a deterrent, it might also be excessive. Hopefully the natural earnestness of candidates who want to win the job on merit and hard work and the eagle eyes of employers or recruiters trained to spot a genuine appetite to succeed should be enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.