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Be A Pro – Don’t Con

What should you do if you are applying for a job and there is an embarrassing incident in your past that you would rather keep from prospective bosses?

Sexing up your CV for that competitive job market is difficult enough at the best of times. But if your past isn’t something to advertise, or there are a few skeletons in the filing cabinet, the odds can be stacked against you.

IT director Phil Lenham would know. When he was sacked from his first job in banking at 18, he was keen to put the past behind him, but it wasn’t as easy as he imagined. “When I started working at the bank, my colleagues soon told me that they sometimes dipped into the bank charges we took over the counter,” he says. “It wasn’t much: a pound here and there for your tea money, a bit of extra change for your lunch. Everyone was at it, but muggins here got caught! It was instant dismissal. I decided to go back to college to do A levels, then got a job at an insurance company, without letting on I’d been sacked from my previous job.”

Then he received a call from Human Resources, asking him to attend an urgent meeting. “They told me there had been some kind of mix up and my references had only just turned up – nearly a year after I’d started the job! They knew I’d been sacked and why. I told them I was ashamed of what I’d done, that I was young and naive at the time, but I’d learned a lot from the experience. My boss was happy with my work and willing to give me a chance. That was years ago and since then, I’ve moved on several times, but I know I was fortunate to keep that job.”

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