London - A staff recruitment company asked 25,000 people if they lie when applying for a job. The results were clear cut - one in five would have no problem embellishing their CV to impress a new boss.

Earlier this year, the Government announced it was setting up a degree verification service to weed out the increasing number of graduates who fib about their grades when looking for work.

Once, CV fibbing just meant writing a load of flannel about wide-ranging “interests” (baking cakes and being a member of a choir always go down well), but these days employers complain about far bolder fibs - fake qualifications and lists of work experience that are pure invention.

In a shrinking job market, one in ten of us are working fewer hours than we want, so it’s easy to understand a bit of fantasy.

Personally, I can’t see anything wrong with it - getting away with a really good lie makes you feel absolutely fantastic, it’s hardly like drink or drugs that can wreck your health. And if you’re sitting at home sending off CV after CV, not even getting a single acknowledgement, why not spice up your credentials to make your bid stand out from the rest?

If - and there’s only a snowball’s chance in hell - you actually manage to land an interview, then a smart boss will extract the truth pretty sharpish. They might even be impressed by your resourcefulness.

It’s not just ordinary workers who lie - last May, the chief executive of Yahoo! resigned after being accused of not being totally transparent about his qualifications. There are countless examples of top executives who have fibbed their way right up the greasy pole and then fessed up, once they were in the boardroom.

I’ve spent my life lying, to husbands, partners, relatives, friends and workmates. Anything for a quiet life - why not tell people what they want to hear? In fact, my past is so shrouded in mystery, the truth will never be established and one day, it might be a special subject on Mastermind.

I am sure lots of you are the same. I once married a well-regarded film-maker who was a chronic fantasist - it was part of his charm. We divorced amicably and when he died a few years later the various obituaries and tributes that appeared gave him different ages and varying numbers of ex-wives!

To get through the demands of the festive season, lying isn’t an option, but an essential. As an expert in the field, let me recommend my top Yuletide Fibs. Remember, success depends on a cheesy grin and straight face at all times.

1. Don’t bake - fake

Forget baking. Buy a ready-made cake. Sod Mary Berry and her retro mantra that the path to heaven lies through baking a perfect fruit cake festooned with handcrafted icing figures.

Life’s too short to master an icing bag. Cut up some old snaps and stick them on top of your cake and, hey presto, it’s a one-off, Tracey Emin-style artwork. Of course, you baked it, darling, you plucked the recipe off the internet (impossible to verify).

2. Stuff the canapes

The evil cooking witch who invented canapes hates women. Mini fish and chips, pixie-sized bangers and mash - dinky vol au vents. Stuff that’s popped into a normal sized mouth and disappears in a nanosecond, and then a hand goes out for more.

Munchies that take hours to construct. No! That way lies insanity. Head to your local baker, buy normal-sized sausage rolls and cut each into three. Job done. Serve crisps and declare they are Nigella’s secret snack. On no account make one canape, your time is worth more.

3. Present and incorrect

As you unwrap a disgusting sweater, inappropriate underwear that wouldn’t fit a ten-year-old or a tacky bottle of perfume from your partner (which was on offer at Superdrug), smile and feign effusive gratitude, just mark a large number of debit points on his side of the mental ledger book you keep of your relationship.

Two rubbish gifts and you’ll need to think seriously about trading in this clunker for someone more in tune with your essential needs.

4. It’s a wrap (again)

Recycling is the key to sanity and successful present-giving. Store the ghastly gifts from last Christmas, and stockpile unsuitable birthday gifts. Rewrap the lot, passing them off as ‘something I picked up at the local charity fair’, adding: ‘It was such a good cause.’

Recipients will be far too embarrassed to complain about supporting the needy and you can send a cheque to the charity of your choice.

Mission accomplished without leaving the house to elbow your way round a shop. Wrap in recycled paper - who can cricitise you for saving trees!

5. Play the party game

At The office party, fill your champagne glass with apple juice. When an office bore tops it up, pour it back in theirs when they’re not looking.

My acting skills are minimal, but I can give an award-winning performance as a slightly trollied woman desperate to go to the loo (where my coat is already stowed, and from where I will make an early departure). I’ve only been caught out once doing this, at my cousin’s wedding.

It was a sunny day - I left the lunch after the speeches to change into a beach dress and had planned a trip to the coast. My mother intercepted me as I was clambering out through the ground floor toilet window and threw a tantrum, but I still left, citing a ‘business meeting’.

6. Festive fancy

Festive Fake Sex must be the rule for the coming weeks. Pretence makes him feel great and doesn’t mess up your expensive hairdo, so you can start party-ready for the next day’s events.

After a party when you have fallen into bed a little the worse for wear and your partner is already dozing, make sure next morning you compliment him on his performance, claiming a small-hours quickie. Most men will never admit they fell asleep and nothing happened, and you will appear a willing sex goddess keen to pander to his lust.

7. Nearest, not dearest

Family gatherings mean a trip down memory lane, buttock-clenching boredom with the same anecdotes recycled every year.

You don’t know who the hell they are talking about, what auntie or second cousin has died/given birth/got pneumonia/bought a new house, but how to look interested as out come those hideous pictures of you wearing a nasty bobble hat aged eight?

Here’s the simple solution to mind-sapping nostalgia. At the first sign of a photo album or slide show, produce a cheap ukulele, and claim Elton John plays one at all his parties (a huge lie, but they can’t check).

Print out some George Formby lyrics and before you can say When I’m Cleaning Windows, they’re all singing along at the top of their voices, downing wine by the bucket load and will be asleep in front of the telly by 8pm.

8. Location, location, location

(Or the dreary dilemma of where to celebrate Christmas)

Years of spending the day in a traffic jam on a motorway en route from one set of in-laws to another has persuaded me the optimum solution is to tell them you’re going abroad for a minibreak.

This is a degree-level lie, as it involves producing holiday photos. But, let’s be honest, one beach looks exactly the same as another and we all take hundreds of snaps on our digital cameras and phones. Download some, for showing later - the relatives will never know.

Choose a destination in the Caribbean where the phone reception is non-existent or cripplingly expensive. Stock up on food and drink, draw the curtains, and stay at home. You can always say the weather was rubbish, you got a stomach bug and couldn’t eat much, and spent most of your holiday in your room - which is true, even if you are fibbing about which country that bed was located in.

GOOD LUCK! - Daily Mail