ork is so crazy right now, but my team are amazing!’ Ah, the humble brag on a Friday night with your pals down the pub. Forget modesty – it appears that us Brits are going above and beyond to let people believe we have glossy job titles, are running the whole corporation or are generally #Bossingit. But while it may seem like everyone around you is being promoted left, right and centre, Look can reveal that in reality things might not be quite as they seem.
A recent study reveals that almost a quarter of UK workers admit to lying to others about their jobs, with over 28 per cent of those being between 18 and 34 years old. And another survey, conducted by Office Genie, found that 60 per cent of respondents said they’d be willing to change the appearance of their current role if it meant bagging a position they were really keen on.
‘Most of the time when I speak to people I say I’m a travel writer, even though I’m a blogger,’ says Sarah, 26, from Belfast. ‘I never say I’m a blogger because it’s not respected as much and [people] are like: “Oh, anyone can do that.” But if I say I’m a travel writer, the reaction is: “What a wonderful job – that’s amazing!”’
Why not just tell the truth? ‘It’s a lot to do with pressure,’ Sarah says. ‘You’re in so much competition with your peers and you want to sell yourself. You don’t want to feel like your mates are getting ahead of you. You’re always wondering what people say about you to other people… So you want them to have the best information possible.’
On top of peer pressure going into overdrive, twentysomethings are competing with a crop of other grads with top degrees. What’s a person to do? ‘I’ve only gone and got a bloody 2:1! Well, no, I got a third… But it will say 2:1 on my CV.’ These words may have come from fictional character JP in university comedy Fresh Meat, but it reflects reality.
‘We vet about 120,000 CVS a year,’ reveals Keith Rosser, head of screening and compliance at recruitment website Reed. ‘We did some analysis and found that 24 per cent of those CVS had been falsified, whether it was job title, reason for leaving, qualifications or period of employment.’
Amy, 23, from Brighton, works in beauty PR and feels it’s hard not to add extra information. ‘I’ve definitely embellished stuff on my CV,’ Amy tells us. ‘I interned at a fashion magazine years ago, sorting out clothes that came back from shoots. On my CV I spun it as “managing” a photo shoot. To get the job you want, you almost have to say you’ve already done it.’
But could these risky work fibs actually be holding you back? Rewriting the CV rules could land you in major hot water, as Leah Totton, winner of The Apprentice in 2013, knows all too well. ‘Embellishing the truth is never a good idea,’ Leah tells Look. ‘The intense CV check and interview in the penultimate week while I was on the show has seen many candidates lie, causing them to fail at the final hurdle. Honesty and trust is top of the list for many employers.’
Keith warns: ‘People need to be more careful nowadays. It’s quite common to find cases where employers could actually fire you after being hired if they find out you lied.’ Definitely one to bear in mind!
But how can we stand out and get a ‘real’ promotion – minus the work white lies – in today’s ‘build your own brand’, Linkedin-centric culture?
Turns out that what we get up to outside of work can actually help us get ahead professionally. ‘Mindset is so