Let’s outline two main reasons why people would fake their CVs.

Unpacking the Motivation: Why Do People Fake Their CVs?

Introduction: The Phenomenon of Faking CVs

The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is one of the most vital tools in the job application process. It provides potential employers a snapshot of your educational background, work experience, and skills. However, there’s a worrying trend where some job seekers exaggerate or entirely fake their CVs. This practice is not only unethical but can also have legal consequences. In this article, we will outline two primary reasons why people feel the need to fake their CVs, even when the risks seem to outweigh the benefits.

Two Reasons Why People Would Fake Their CVs?

Two primary reasons why people might fake their CVs are the highly competitive job market and societal or family pressure. First, with rising unemployment rates and an influx of qualified candidates, the job market has become extremely competitive. Individuals may feel the need to embellish or fabricate elements of their CV to stand out and secure a job. Second, societal norms and family expectations often equate career success with personal worth, leading to immense pressure to secure a high-status job. Faking a CV may seem like a quick way to meet these expectations and gain approval. While these factors provide some context, they do not excuse the unethical nature of falsifying a CV.

Reason One: Competitive Job Market

The Nature of Competition

The job market, especially in South Africa, is fiercely competitive. With high unemployment rates and more people graduating from universities and colleges, the competition for available jobs has intensified. According to economic theories like Game Theory, when everyone is striving for a limited resource—in this case, a job—individuals may resort to strategies that are not always ethical to gain a competitive edge.

The “Little White Lie”

In such an environment, faking a CV can appear to be a quick way to stand out. A job seeker may embellish their skill set, add job experiences they didn’t have, or even claim to have qualifications from renowned institutions. The underlying belief is that these “little white lies” can make their application more appealing to employers, thereby increasing their chances of landing the job.

Reason Two: Societal and Family Pressure

The Expectations Game

South African society, like many others, places a lot of emphasis on career success as a marker of personal achievement. Add to that the expectations from family, and the pressure can be immense. Psychological theories such as Social Comparison Theory suggest that people compare themselves to others in their social circle, often feeling inadequate if they perceive themselves as less successful.

The Shortcut to Approval

Faking a CV can seem like a shortcut to gaining societal and family approval. By presenting a fabricated version of their professional selves, individuals aim to live up to these external expectations, at least in the short term. The assumption is that the end justifies the means; that the social approval and self-esteem gained from landing a job will offset the risk and guilt of lying.

Understanding, Not Justifying

While the reasons for faking a CV can be rooted in societal issues and personal pressures, it’s essential to note that these are explanations and not justifications. Faking a CV is a risky and unethical practice that can lead to job loss, damaged reputation, and even legal repercussions. Understanding the reasons behind this phenomenon is a first step in finding more ethical solutions to the challenges faced by job seekers.

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