Fraud prevention service CIFAS has sent a booklet to UK universities outlining how a little white lie added to your CV can carry heavy consequences
Telling lies on a CV or job application may seem like a good way to help secure yourself a new position, especially in the current job market which is more competitive than it’s ever been, but new guidelines being sent to Universities around Britain are warning students against it.
The booklet, which is being circulated by CIFAS - the UK's fraud protection service, is titled 'Don’t Finish Your Career Before It Starts' and outlines the penalties which can be handed down if someone is caught lying to secure employment, with the worst offenders facing the potential of up to ten years in prison! These aren't empty threats either, as CIFAS figures show 324 people were prosecuted in 2013 for all forms of fraudulent applications, a massive 58 per cent increase on the previous year.
An Over-saturated Graduate Market?
It's estimated that for every position being advertised in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, up to 85 graduates are throwing their hats into the ring, and in some technical sectors the figures could be nearer 200 applicants per position, illustrating just how tough the job market has become. Helen Kempster, of University of London’s Careers Group, says: “It can be tempting to tell a ‘white lie’ but this leaflet makes students aware that there can be serious legal repercussions.” while the document itself makes things as clear as possible to students tempted to fudge their achievements: “Your dream job asks for a 2:1, but you’ve got a 2:2 – so you just make a little change on your CV. You’re worried you don’t have enough work experience – so you pretend your summer of trekking through Nepal was actually spent working at a local solicitor’s firm. After all, no one really checks, right? It’s just a little white lie, right? Wrong. It’s fraud.”
Ruining Your Chances of Ever Getting a Job
CIFAS is keen to highlight the fact that details of a prosecution will be kept on file for six years, should a prosecution be brought for fraudulent application, affecting students’ job prospects even once a sentence has been served, something which could prove a real disadvantage for anyone hoping to find a career in the professional services sector. Simon Dukes, chief executive of CIFAS, weighed-in on the discussion, adding his two-cents: “Ignorance isn’t an excuse if you get caught out”, making it clear that fraud will no longer be taken lightly and the days of using a little white lie on your CV could very well be long gone.