I called my friend a few weeks ago to ask him upfront why he is getting a lot of interviews and finding jobs that easy while I am never even been shortlisted in the jobs I applied for. We both know our capabilities even without comparing ourselves against each other.
You see my friend was never the hardworking, committed and motivated type. He would skip classes as often as he likes. He would even ditch his part on our group assignment. I often end up doing the group assignments for fear of failing while he and the rest of the group only appear on the day of submission.
We met up one cold afternoon, me carrying my notebook with my cv on it. He checked, and to my surprise, he started erasing details, erasing dates, and adding months to my work experience. He even changed my position title. He showed me his cv where he edited his work history into the desired position that he recently applied for and where he is now currently working. For example, as a Tutor into a Marketing Assistant.
“I wonder how he went through the interview with all the fabrications and how he’s doing in his job?” I thought to myself perplexed.
“I have qualms doing it,” I told him.
“What if they look at my linkedin profile and find out the inconsistencies?”
“No, they would not look at your linkedin profile!” he insisted.
I didn’t believe him though.
Some employers may require employment certificates, I reckoned, but if it is easy for him to fabricate a cv then it is much easier to fabricate an employment certificate. Some nationalities even fabricate university degrees and IELTS results. Some even pass the immigration interview conducted on the phone by paying somebody else to be interviewed especially when their English language skill is poor. My tutor who was finally exasperated with some of my classmates classroom attendance and performance told me that, in confidence, in the classroom.
I am dumbfounded.
His cover letter even impressed me. I know that his written and conversational English is not even at par to excellence. He explained that he copied the first paragraph from a sample cover letter in the internet and the second paragraph on another sample cover letter from the internet.
Pretty clever. And hilarious!
I laughed out loud.
Another friend joined us and explained how she got an interview for a customer service position. “It’s simple,” she explained. “I just erased my position, changed it to customer service, added years and copied duties of a customer service officer from the internet.”
“Isn’t that plagiarism?”
They both said “No!”
I found it disgusting. These guys must have never had any idea about honesty and even fear.
I came home excited but with much discomfort as I toyed with the idea of embellishing my cv. I shared this new discovery with my parents, my brothers and my boyfriend.
My parents said that if it can save me then I do it provided that it is not too far from my real work history. One of my brothers said the same. Although my father who had raised us to be children with dignity and integrity, would always tell me that I am too honest to the point of being naïve. I don’t really understand what he means. My boyfriend said the same. But one of my brothers said,
“Forget it, you may just get into trouble, I know you, you don’t know how to tell a lie.”
I met a fellow Filipino in a party who said that some of the migrants come here overqualified that they really have to tone down their cv. He said it is not faking. Another visitor agreed with him.
Where do we draw the line then?
My close friend who came here to study the same course I did, got a break in his career when after months of unsuccessful job search, deleted his real position as a store manager and changed it to a Sales Representative.
He had a funny experience though in the same situation. As a new comer and desperately looking for a job, his brother urged him to fabricate his work history. He applied for a room attendant position in a hotel with his fraudulent cv, impressed the hiring manager, and got an interview. With much anxiety, he faked his experience all throughout the conversation. He was glad however that there was no vacant position yet at that time, or he would not have any skill to show for.
Another friend had a success story much like my friend who was good at embellishing his cv. When he passed the interviews and the reference stage came. He called up his friend whom he used to work before but with a twist – because he had to tell him to tell the background investigator that he worked there for three years which is the required length of work history (because in reality, he only had two years). So far so good, this friend will now get his PR.
I remembered a related experience with a friend who manufactured his own fake school records as a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate as well as his employment certificate as a pastry chef in a restaurant to get a US visit visa. The latter was signed also by their jobless neighbor who became an instant restaurant manager where no restaurant exists. The guy with fabricated documents now has a flourishing career in the US as a nurse. He entered the US in a visit visa with his fake documents. As soon as he got there, he used his real degree in nursing and took the state exam. That was in the US though, but I am jealous. I wonder how he got away with the immigration.
It is quite frustrating to realize that some people can just get away with fraud.
When I see them, I turn envious. Because I find it daunting. And, I am afraid, really afraid. I am living in a hand to mouth existence, I am literally hungry and desperate and yet I still hang on to my foolish principles which had gotten me nowhere while the rest of them are up there eating whatever food they like.
My cv cannot really capture what I can do because I am more than that. Who will hire me?
A dim reality.
I am hoping however that one day I will meet that one person who believes in me as much as I do believe in myself. I have been customizing my cv for every position and company that I have applied for. I am even expanding my network. I have been rejected a hundred of times. Maybe that is not enough and I will have nine hundred more rejections before landing a new one.
I have attended a job search seminar under a non-government organization supporting migrants. One of the resource person said that sometimes your name will have something to do with it.
“So, is that a reason why I’m not shortlisted because my name sounds exotic and difficult to pronounce even in my own country?”
I will be attending another one under the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. I wish to raise this question of embellishing a cv and where do we draw the line between a customized cv and a fabricated one?
To the readers of this blog, I wish you share your ideas. Thank you for visiting my blog.
Note: I reserve the right to confidentiality and protect the real persons in this story and as such I mixed up facts as gender, positions and degrees.