There are several reasons graduates might lie on their CV. Either because they want to secure a bigger salary, because they have no previous experience or because they think employers are expecting too much from them.

But lying on your CV is never the solution. If you are found out during the application process, it could cost you the job and the repercussions could be even bigger if you’re accepted for the job but your employer later finds out you lied to them.

So, while a little white lie might seem harmless, it’s best to avoid this at all costs. Still feeling tempted to embellish the truth? Check out our guide below on the four biggest lies graduates tell on their CV and what you should do instead.

1. Claiming you're more qualified than you are

You might have found a job that you want, but you don’t quite meet the qualifications set out in the job description.

Sure, you could easily upgrade that 2:2 you achieved at university to a 2:1, or you could lie about your previous experience - but should you?

No, you shouldn’t! Because if the recruiter asks to see proof of your degree or for references, you could find yourself in hot water, leaving you looking unprofessional and unlikely to get the job.

What you should do instead

Instead of exaggerating you should simply be honest and focus on your other strengths that make you great for the role.

Some employers only list these qualifications as ‘preferred’ anyway or they may be willing to forgo these requirements if you’ve impressed them enough with your personal profile, key skills and achievements.

2. Covering up a gap in your CV

So, you took some time out to travel or to spend some downtime after university - that’s not a bad thing! Yet many graduates feel the need to try and hide a gap in their CV by swapping it for, or exaggerating, a work placement or part-time role.

What you should do instead

Don’t be fooled into thinking that employers expect you to walk straight out of university on graduation day and immediately into a job. If you take some time out to travel or to focus on yourself that’s OK.

There are plenty of transferable skills to be learnt during this time. For example, if you go travelling you might learn a new language, perfect your organisation skills or learn how to budget effectively.

So instead of lying or filling the gap, be honest and talk about what you learnt during your time out.

3. Boosting your work experience

Many graduates leave university with little or no relevant work experience, making it tempting to include a fake internship or embellish on the two days they spent helping at their dad’s shop. But should the employer ask for references this could get very awkward.

What you should do instead

If you're truly worried about your lack of experience you can take on a work placement or look for a volunteering opportunity. You can still continue your job search in the meantime, but this gives you something to add to your CV.

Alternatively, focus your CV more on your time in education and what you achieved at university. You can highlight how you can apply these skills to the role.

4. Exaggerating your skillset

It can be all too easy to exaggerate your skillset, but one lecture on SEO doesn't make you an expert on the subject. Similarly, a basic course on Adobe Suite doesn't mean you can claim to be a designer on your CV.

What you should do instead

Instead of exaggerating your skills, it’s a good idea to develop them. To do this you could enrol in an online course or join an evening class.

If you haven't completed the course when you start applying for jobs, you can mention that you're in the middle of developing these skills and explain how. This shows the employer you're willing to learn and looking to develop your skills in the future.