Studies have shown that as many as 35% of people actually stretch the truth on their CV and exaggerate certain qualifications or experiences in order to make themselves look like better candidates. However, just because a lot of other people have taken this approach, does that means it’s acceptable or advisable?
Some people may not be surprised to hear that it’s common for the contents of people’s CVs to be untruthful, at least in part. However, thinking about your own workplace, it may be a little more disturbing to consider the consequences of this trend. How many people in a similar position to yourself have got there because they weren’t truthful in their applications? This is all before we consider the fact that it’s actually not legal. In the past, people have been prosecuted for fabricating their qualifications in order to land desirable roles.
However, you might be thinking that as long as you’re not backing yourself into a corner by telling a completely outrageous lie about your own abilities, perhaps there’s nothing wrong? Many people see lying on their CV as simply levelling the playing field, because they assume other candidates will be trying similar tactics to get ahead of them. This could be seen as a way to stop jobs that should rightfully by theirs going to other people.
The problem is that employers are getting better at checking their facts. It usually only takes a smart phone call or two to figure out whether a candidate is exaggerating or completely lying about something from their past. Many employers have either found that prospective candidates had been trying to pull the wool over their eyes, or worse, already succeeded and landed a position under false pretences.
Overall it’s fair to say that it’s not going to be worth lying on your CV. Even if you’re successful, you’ll constantly be looking over your shoulder and the risk of losing your job after you’ve been given a position simply isn’t worthwhile. You’d be better off spending your time actually improving the presentation and content of your CV to make the best of the experience you actually have.
People from many different background could be suitable to qualify for a job teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) in another country. This works out brilliantly for people who are interested in travelling and experiencing new cultures but need a way to finance it. The skills required can be learned relatively easily, but before you can go ahead and get a placement you’ll need to tailor your CV to suit the role.
Firstly, you will need to ensure you’ve completed the required qualifications for your chosen scheme and you have certificates to that effect. Sometimes you will also need to get a visa for the country you wish to travel to and make other important arrangements in advance. As long as these things are sorted out, you shouldn’t have a problem.
The good thing about this kind of work is that you won’t usually be expected to have directly relevant work experience, since this is usually highly unlikely to be the case. However, it will help if you can discuss past roles or situations where you have applied the required skills. If you have ever lived abroad this could be particularly relevant to mention and describe.
You will still need a section to explain what you have done in the past, just like you would for any other kind of job application. Professional experience is always relevant to some degree so it should be detailed in full. Personal details such as your name, date of birth (more relevant in certain countries than others) and contact information always need to be included, of course.
When applying for a job teaching English in another country, you might want to follow a format similar to this:
- Personal and contact details (name, date of birth, address, phone, email)
- Personal summary (short profile about your experience and skills)
- Any relevant teaching experience if you have it
- Other experience (past job roles in reverse chronological order)
- Education (starting with university education and including past details if relevant)
In general, you should ideally be focusing on relevant aspects of your teaching qualifications and experience. You can discuss your TEFL qualification in detail, including any particular specialisms. Additional things may be relevant to include, such as extra curricular activities during your studies and other interests. It’s up to you to decide what you can describe in a way that makes it relevant to the role you are applying for.
It can be tricky to figure out how to pitch your CV, especially when you’re trying to find a format that will work for several different job applications. There is a certain pressure to stand out from the pack, but at the same time, you want to make your CV seem somewhat familiar so that prospective employers don’t become frustrated trying to read it quickly and compare it with others.
Different recruiters have different objectives, but overall there are a few things that tend to stand out on candidates’ CVs for the wrong reasons. These are all things will want to avoid whenever possible.
Template cover letters
If you don’t tailor your cover letter for every job you apply for, it’s going to be immediately obvious from the moment someone starts reading it. You need to show that you have thoroughly read the job description and candidate specification, and persuade the reader that you are an appropriate person for the role.
Although some distinctive details and features could help your CV stand out from the crowd, your potential recruiter won’t have time to analyse your unique format and go hunting for the details they need if you get too creative. Work history should always be the priority, and leading with skills can come across as more generic than you think.
The first thing someone sees on your resumé should be a previous job with a high degree of relevance to the position you’re applying for now. Your background needs to be strongly related to the job you want, otherwise you will be dismissed as the wrong candidate. You should make sure only the most relevant details of your past positions are listed.
Lack of focus
Sometimes it will be obvious from your CV that you don’t know what you want to do with your career. Flitting between unconnected jobs is not something a recruiter would see as a benefit. You should try to come across like you know what the next step on your personal career ladder will be, but you aren’t in a desperate rush to do that elsewhere.
Many people try to add buzz words as filler content on their CV, but this is a mistake as it’s clear to any experienced employer that you’ve simply run out of facts to provide. A personal statement should not consist of vague adjectives, but rather a summary of what a candidate as achieved in the past and skills they have developed as a direct result.
Key details missing
Before submitted a CV for any role, you need to make sure that you haven’t forgotten to include any vital details. It should be clear within a few seconds what job you are applying for, what you have done in the past and how to contact you.