Your CV is your golden chance to get your foot in the door of a new job. It therefore needs to shine, stand out and make the reader want to interview you at least – if not employ you of course as well! However, whilst you can polish your CV, never get carried away as one candidate of mine did - with some quite major consequences! Tweaking, tailoring and adjusting is fine, and in fact to be actively encouraged for each individual job, but you must never, ever, ever lie!
My first role in recruitment was finding jobs for chefs throughout the UK. Being an ex-chef this was of course an interesting position where I could draw upon my experience to my benefit. One day, I received a CV from a chef called…well…let’s just call him “Charlie”. He had an impressive CV having worked at a variety of good restaurants throughout the world. However, he claimed that he had been the Sous Chef (that’s the number two in the kitchen, for those who might not know) for a very famous celebrity chef at one of this chef’s Michelin starred restaurants. Again, in fairness, this chef shall also remain nameless, but let’s call him Graham R. for the sake of argument….
Now, at that time, I knew pretty much all the Head Chefs of merit in the UK – mostly by name I have to say, not actually to speak to! Coincidentally though, I happened to know who Graham R’s Sous Chef was too – as an aside they are now famous too in their own right! Needless to say though, their name wasn’t Charlie. So, questioning my own knowledge, I decided to ask for a reference for Charlie from the famous Graham and so wrote to him. A few days later I was talking to someone at work on the phone when my boss started waving frantically at me mouthing something. Not really understanding I shrugged and turned away to concentrate on my conversation, but she persisted. Annoyed, I then read the note she had stuck under my nose – “Graham R. is on the phone asking for you!!!!”
Perhaps it’s different for you, but it’s not every day that a famous person calls me. I have to say though that they were really very charming - and not at all like their reputation! Anyway, Graham told me that Charlie had never worked for him and found it disgusting that someone could try to claim this when he had so many dedicated hard-working chefs working for him. He thought it dirty and underhand – and thanked me for bringing this all to light. He then went on to say that he’d called the industry press and told them…all good publicity for him I suppose, but he really was genuinely upset and angry.
The next call I received was from the industry press interviewing me…it made the first page of news in the next issue, and also a quarter page article in The Times on page 3 where Charlie was quoted as saying how he “regretted lying on his CV and was going to have a career break”… I never spoke to him again, I guess he was too embarrassed, but I also guess he might have changed his CV without any embellishments this time….
This all happened umpteen years ago. Due to the current fame of Graham R, this story would now no doubt make both the 9 and 10 O’Clock News, the front pages, plus Have I Got News For You and the like….
So, the moral of the story is, never lie on your CV, just don’t, it’s not worth it – you will only be found out and have to face the music…and that can be bad music…very bad music….