Beware! Lying on your CV could land you in jail

Beware! Lying on your CV could land you in jail

A new bill could see those who lie on their CV put behind bars.

Female candidate interview with HR managers in office
Female candidate interview with HR managers in office/ iStock

The unemployment rate in South Africa is sitting at 29% - the highest since 2008.

With loads of people unemployed, you might be tempted to do just about anything to get a job. For some, this might mean lying about their qualifications in order to impress a potential future employer.

But be warned! Lying about your background, qualifications or misrepresenting your credentials could land you in serious trouble.

 A new law, the Qualifications Amendment Bill, could soon see those who lie on their CV put behind bars.

In 2015, the South African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS) said it encountered a significant number of false-qualification fraud cases.

“Our own RefCheck data shows qualifications fraud is the biggest HR fraud concern. A quarter of all matric certificates cannot be confirmed by us. One in 15 tertiary qualifications could not be confirmed due to invalid data, incomplete courses or no record of the candidate. A third of all global qualifications checked through RefCheck Advanced could not be verified,” Rudi Kruger, LexisNexis’ GRC division GM, told Business Tech.

But the government hopes that the new bill will address the issue and see the numbers of those using fraudulent academic qualifications decrease in future.

The Qualifications Amendment Bill states: “Any person convicted of an offence in terms of this act is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a term of no longer than five years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment; and any person, educational institution, board member or director may be ordered to close its business and be declared unfit to register a new business for a period not exceeding 10 years.”

The new law would see that the registered qualifications of each citizen in South Africa will be monitored by The South African Qualification Association (SAQA).

Another danger about lying on your CV is that if an employee discovers that you lied about your qualification they are able to record your details on the SAFPS Secure Internal Fraud Database, and this database is available to all other employers that are SAFPS members. This could mean you will jeopardise your chances of getting a job in the future. 

How to make your CV stand out

“Your CV will be the first impression prospective employers get of you. Structure your CV logically, make sure that it contains all the necessary information, and showcase any relevant experience and qualifications,” says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education.

She adds that “very importantly, get your CV proofread to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.” She also says that “it is vitally important to tailor one’s CV for the requirements of each individual position. Sending out a generic CV, which does not address the specific position advertised, is a surefire way to land your application in the recruiter’s recycle bin.”

Brenda Bensted-Smith, CEO of AdTalent, says job hunters must not make the mistake of giving out unnecessarily long details. “Only mention achievements that are recent and relevant. Don’t get too detailed about school, especially if you have an extensive work history. Memberships and professional affiliations – only if they are relevant,” she says.

Image courtesy of iStock/fizkes

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