Your CV & Social Media profiles: Honesty really is the only policy, as the search engines never forget

It's not just about maintaining your dignity on Facebook when it comes to having your career hijacked by your social media life.


Working in recruitment, I expect most experienced recruiters to have an up-to-date Linkedin profile of some description. When I receive a CV that is potentially of interest, I will generally scan their Linkedin profile, and I know many of my clients in the digital and marketing sector do likewise. Some people tend to think telling little white lies or slightly exaggerating on a CV is the norm, and I guess some employers may overlook minor indiscretions in this area. However, once you start putting your work details and professional information on social networks such as Linkedin, you can easily get yourself in to trouble.

I have had many conversations over the years with clients where I've heard about candidates who have tried to 'enhance' their experience or education on their CV. From a personal perspective, the worst example I've seen was when I received the CV of an 'experienced' recruiter. The candidate seemed to have an OK career history from the CV, nothing spectacular but worth reviewing further. However the name rang a bell - I remembered receiving a generic Linkedin invite from the same name about a year earlier. At the time the individual worked for a competitor, who now wasn't named on their CV, and this started more bells ringing. I checked my Linkedin inbox and found a response I'd sent at the time politely enquiring as to why they were wanting to connect, although I'd heard nothing back.

I checked their Linkedin profile (maybe a little more thoroughly than I would have normally) and it was then that any credibility was completely wiped away. There had been some effort to correlate the profile with the CV, however recommendations remained on the profile for their work at two other recruitment businesses that weren't listed on the CV or the Linkedin profile at all. In total it appeared that there had been 6 employers in a 3-4 year period which had been consolidated into just 3 employers. A quick Google search on the individual's name came up with profiles on Google+, econsultancy, Facebook, several on Twitter, Xing, Naymz, etc. Many of which were abandoned at various points in the last fews years, but between them they referenced all the employers, those listed on the CV and those now missing on Linkedin. This is someone with extensive experience, and you would hope understanding, of the IT and digital marketing sector, but they obviously didn't get it.

If you're connecting to people on social networking sites for work purposes, Linkedin viewers will generally take a look at who you are, and may actually remember some bits you include in your profile. The search engines certainly won't forget about your profiles, even if you do.


With more and more social sites popping up every week, which have definite benefits in having your professional profile prominent, the only way to make sure you don't do potential serious damage to your career and reputation, is to be honest and true on the information you provide. It's no longer just about providing referees you think will let you get away with it at offer stage.

And worst case scenario, there is always the possibility you could be sent to jail for lying on your CV too!

Matt Hackett

What's the worst lie you've told on your CV, and did you get found out? Or have you found someone out yourself? Let us know your experiences.


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