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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

If you have a question for our Career Coach, e-mail us at careers@ReConnectAfrica.com

ImageDear Career Coach

I have an interview coming up for a job I really want and I am really concerned that I might have overstated some of my previous experience. How do I deal with this at the interview?

Gina, London

Dear Gina

Not knowing how far you stretched the truth on your application, it is difficult to know what to suggest except to offer this as a salutary lesson to other readers.

There is a clear line between making the most of your experience and skills on your CV and making statements that are not true, particularly when a few probing questions at interview will soon make this clear to the interviewer and ruin your credibility. Another reason to stick to the truth is that companies taking up references can often ask for information about the nature of the work you did with your previous employer. Even if you do get the job, there are some high-profile examples of people who have derailed successful careers when information they gave in an application many years before is found to have been untrue.

As you are expected to market your skills and experience at this interview, to ‘downplay’ the experience that you claimed when you first applied is likely to appear odd to the interviewer and could call into question other things on your application.

At this point, what I will suggest is that during the interview you play up the truthful and positive parts of your previous experience, minimising references to those claims that are not true. Finally, please learn from other people’s experiences and make sure that the next CV you send off is a positive but accurate reflection of your experience.

All the best!

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