26 May

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the global and South African economy that has resulted in many companies closing down and thousands left unemployed. South is currently sitting on the highest unemployment figure ever in the history of the nation, 30.1% and this was before the effects of the coronavirus pandemic could be documented.

As a result, there are many unemployed South Africans actively looking for jobs right now and amongst them, are those who think misrepresenting facts on their CVs will increase their chances of securing a job.

Research has shown the aspects of a CV that are most frequently misrepresented or incorrect are:

  • Skills,
  • Job titles
  • Responsibilities
  • Period of employment
  • Reason for leaving
  • Employment history

Background screening company Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), conducted over 462 000 qualification checks. Of the total number of qualifications verified, 15.17% were found to be either fraudulent, misrepresented or cancelled. In 2018, there was a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent qualifications that were reported to regulatory bodies such as the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

While this may seem like a tempting short cut to employment, job seekers should not fool themselves that they will get away with it. Fake credentials have become so common in South Africa that it necessitated the new National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act of 2019, signed into law by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Act states that prospective students or job seekers could face up to five years in jail for misrepresenting their qualifications. Misrepresentation is when you deliberately indicate that you have a qualification when in fact you don’t.

This is punishable by law.

Before you are tempted into cheating, consider the following:

  • Under the new law, in addition to lying about your qualifications on your CV, to do so on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter could also lead to jail time.
  • Before appointing and registering any individual, employers must verify whether the qualifications or part qualifications of such persons are registered on the national learners’ records database
  • If you are caught lying about your credentials however, you’ll be recorded in SAQA’s register as someone who lied.

Remember there is a clear line between showing yourself in the best possible light, and deliberate misrepresentation. Make sure you make the right choice. Giving in to temptation will put a stain on your career that may be difficult or impossible to remove.

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