CVs and the truth, or what exactly is meant by “conversational” German?

A constant moral dilemma for unemployed people is the stretching of truth on CVs. Of course any employment service will say you should be 100% honest, but do people really do this? I heard on Ryan Tubridy’s show during the week that 70% of people have admitted to lying on a CV.

I ask this as I’m in the process of applying for a certain job, the advert for which asks I would be willing to travel to places such as Germany. Now it doesn’t state that being able to speak German is a requirement, but I suspect highlighting that I studied German in college would be a major bonus.

The trouble is that I only studied it for one year, being one of the subjects I dropped after first year. And the amount I remember extends to being able to say my name and asking what’s wrong. Somehow I don’t think this can be described as a conversational knowledge of the language. And yet that’s what I want to write on my CV.

Is this dishonest, or even a strategically bad move? I mean, they could ask me to prove my abilities with Deutsch. Where would I be then? On the other hand, I did do it for a year. That’s got to be worth something, right?

I really don’t know what’s the right, or clever, move here.

1 Response to “CVs and the truth, or what exactly is meant by “conversational” German?”

  1. January 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I would suggest saying that you have ‘basic’ German, then brush up on it a little if and when you get an interview, it will probably all come flooding back to you. A friend went to an interview a few months back and had said that she speaks French (because she does!). It hadn’t been part of the original job spec to speak French but they had just bought over a company in Bordeaux and the interviewer launched into a conversation in French during the interview…luckily my friend had the French to back up her claim.
    Saying that you studied German if you did study German is not lying. I studied it for 3 years & have a degree in it, it;s on my CV, but I am very rusty. Wouldn’t take much to pick it up again though.

    Sorry about the long rambly comment! Good luck with the job hunt, am doing the same at the moment 🙂

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