Articles From the Team

Should I ever lie on my CV?

For those of you who have ever watched a series of the Apprentice, you may recall one of the most infamous contestant’s Lee McQueen, who subsequently went on to win the final despite being caught out in the penultimate “interview” episode for lying on his CV. Even more worrying was that this individual actually worked as a recruitment sales manager at the time he chose to take part in the programme and lie about his academic profile on national TV.

At the time, Sir Alan Sugar’s decision to still recruit Lee was highly criticised by many in the employment and recruitment profession as unrealistic and farcical. It casted a false impression about how professional recruitment and employment law really works. Furthermore, in my view, Mr McQueen came across as someone who completely lacked integrity (sorry Mr McQueen).

So, in answer to my question, no - you should never lie on your CV! Ultimately you will get caught out and it could result in you either not getting a job or could lead to disciplinary proceedings and/or automatic dismissal. As legal professionals it could also lead to sanctions being brought against you by the Law Society. When questioned about whether he had been disingenuous, Mr McQueen accepted he had been but went on to say that a CV should serve as a conversational tool and not be the only thing that is taken into consideration when deciding whether someone is suitable for a job.

Whilst I cannot agree with what Mr McQueen did and can never see a situation when someone should lie on their CV, I fully understand that there are extenuating circumstances that people face in their lives which may impact, for example, on their academic grades or job moves. However there is a clear and simple way of dealing with that – which is to be open and honest. Potential employers understand this too and will not rule someone out for anomalies on their CV.

At BCL we work closely with our clients and candidates which means that when a candidate has faced extenuating circumstances we can pick the phone up to our contact at the firm and have an open and honest conversation with them. We can talk the recruiting partner or HR manager through the situation, so that when they see the CV, they have the context and background information. Ultimately if a candidate has the right experience and background to the fit to firm and role profile, most clients will still want to meet that candidate.

Your CV is your tool to get you an interview and so how you present your experience within your CV is critical. Another criticism picked up during Mr McQueen’s interview on the Apprentice was that his CV was scattered with spelling mistakes.

I still cannot believe the number of CVs that we receive from candidates which are poorly compiled, strewn with grammatical errors and typos or just plain boring to read! This is also a regular complaint from the HR managers we talk to with regard to CVs they receive directly from candidates.

If you can imagine the number of CVs that land on the desk of HR managers on a weekly basis, you can understand why you need to make your CV stand out, or at the very least be error free! It is therefore imperative that you take the time to get this right when looking for a new job. Why not check out our bank of CV preformats at

Furthermore if you register with BCL, our team of specialist consultant’s will be on hand to help review and provide feedback on your draft CV and ensure that when your CV goes forward to a role, it presents you in the most positive light.

I specialise in placing lawyers into Birmingham's leading commercial firms. Please feel free to call me on 0121 237 5611 or email me at to discuss new roles.

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