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Jail time for lying on your CV

In recent times we have read a lot in the media about people lying about their qualifications.

The South African job market is tough, so much so, that a high number of people have resorted to lying about their qualification just to secure a good job or promotion. However, lying on your CV could soon land you in some really hot water.

Staying out of prison used to be really easy. Don’t partake in criminal activities, don’t drive drunk, don’t smoke pot in public. Now you could get sentenced to up to 5 years in jail for misrepresenting your qualifications on your CV.

The National Council of Provinces recently passed the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill and it may soon be passed as a law. This will mean if you get caught lying about your qualifications on your CV, you could score yourself a criminal record.

The purpose of this article is to help you stay out of trouble so here are some tips to make sure your CV is not a crime.

Don’t overstate your qualification 

Do not say you have a BCom when you have a Diploma, or say you have a PhD when you have an Honours. Many people may feel tempted to embellish the level of their qualification to enhance their chances of landing a dream job. Misrepresenting your qualification will not only cost you a great job opportunity but may soon land you behind bars.

Incomplete is NOT Complete

Many people for many different reasons could not complete their studies. Some are only a few credits short of getting their qualification. If you are going to add a qualification you have not yet completed, then please put the word incomplete next to it as to not give the wrong impression to your potential employer. This one by the way, is one of the most common lies people tell on their CVs.

By a lie, a man… annihilates his dignity as a man (Immanuel Kant)

Don’t buy it

There is very little you cannot buy online these days. Shopping for a fake qualification has become incredibly easy of late. As you seek to enhance your career and step into more senior roles that require certain credentials, resist the temptation to purchase a “qualification” online. Please register with an accredited institution and get your qualification the right way. Check with SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) if you are not sure whether or not the institution you want to register with is accredited.

Stay truthful 

Most job seekers are aware of the phrase ‘skills matching’. When people write their CVs they try their hardest to mimic everything on the job spec of the role they are applying for. There is an authentic way of doing this without exaggerating your skills or claiming you have skills you actually do not have. That is why it is always best to leave this to the professionals, skilled CV writers can enhance your profile and properly articulate your abilities in such a way that you do not need to lie to pad your CV. There is no need to put false qualifications on your CV and potentially land in jail, it will be very hard to land a decent job with a criminal record. Rather let the professionals help you sell yourself truthfully.

Wallace Albertyn is a Senior Associate and Labour Law Practitioner at LabourMan Consultants.