The 5 Most Common CV Lies


Liverpool Polytechnic student Caroline Kaye graduated in 1986 with a degree in Fine Art.
According to UK recruitment firm Fish4Jobs up-selling your education is the no.1 most common CV lie. It says:

It seems that many candidates feel the need to exaggerate their education history, in regards to their degree subject, grade and even university. In a 2015 article, Forbes described that lying about education on a CV is ‘depressing’ and ‘stupid,’ explaining that a simple education background check reveals the lies of the candidate. Forbes explains that candidates would list the university they graduated from but after checking with the registrar’s office there would be no record of that person. Busted. The further you get away from time of graduation the less your degree matters and the more your work experience speaks for itself. This doesn’t mean that you are exempt from education background checks. So think next time before you change that 2:2 into a 2:1!

Graduate Anna Goodwin received a £3,000 fine from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and was banned from working as a solicitor after lying on her CV. (Case No. 11411-2015)

The statement below on the web site of this major London law firm may have looked convincing, but ....
Mrs van der Zyl's profile on the Davenport Lyons web site where she was a partner for ten years until 2014, when it collapsed with £14 million debts, reported her as having studied at, and obtaining a degree from, a university. Both claims are incorrect. The statement: 'Marie graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 1988 with an Honours degree in law' was therefore a falsehood.

According to a UK Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) survey on graduate data fraud, around 33% of graduates or job seekers falsify important information on their CVs every year. Amongst the culprits, 40% exaggerate their academic qualifications, while 11% make up a degree altogether.
Lying about a degree or qualification is never a good idea. While many people make slight exaggerations about their hobbies, interests and skills, this is also far from recommended.

She joined Gordon Dadds LLP in 2014 and on an alternative web page it was more circumspect and records her 'graduating with a law degree from what is now Liverpool John Moores University'. The word 'now' is a clear admission that the institution was not a university when she was a student, but it is, at best, misleading. On the Gordon Dadds web page shown above (retrieved 11/Nov/18), it abandoned the 'now' and reverted to an earlier claim which clearly states 'Liverpool John Moores University'. A redesigned web page_ (retrieved 2/Jan/2019) discards any restraint and blatantly perpetuates the impression that she attended a university.

In an interview in the Jewish Chronicle (18 May 2018) it stated 'After school, she read law at John Moores University in Liverpool.' An interview published in The TIMES one day later, upped her false claim even more by saying she had studied law at the University of Liverpool - a Russell Group member with ten Nobel Prize winners amongst its alumni and far superior to Liverpool Polytechnic. Mrs van der Zyl has also spoken at meetings where she referred to herself as 'a former student of Liverpool University' (source: Board of Deputies Community Briefing).

What is the truth?

Fact: In 1988 Marie Sarah Kaye (as she was then) obtained her CNAA degree after studying at Liverpool Polytechnic. At that time Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) did not exist. What was originally the Liverpool Mechanics' School of Arts evolved into Liverpool Polytechnic, a UK government-recognised body that gave awards between 1970 and 1992.
LJMU is named after Sir John Moores, a local businessman, and it did not gain university status until 1992.
From 1965 to 1992 academic degrees in polytechnics were validated by the UK Council for National Academic Awards.
CNAA awards are comparable to those of universities and these are recognised by professional associations and employers.
(The same year as Marie's first marriage, when she became Mrs Kramer.) Given these incontestable facts, Mrs van der Zyl did not attend a university in 1988, but attended a polytechnic. The name of the degree-awarding body will be stated on the degree document and publication of that item will eliminate any uncertainty.

Latest Update (30/May/2019):
After a complaint was lodged with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the web site of Ince Gordon Dadds was changed and the entry for Mrs van der Zyl now reads:
Education (University): Liverpool Polytechnic (currently known as Liverpool John Moore's University)

So why claim otherwise?
Vanity? Insecurity? People rarely lie for the sake of lying. Deception is used to accomplish goals (e.g., appearing attractive or competent). Self-enhancing deceptions are common, and typically driven by the desire for positive self-presentation. In the self-presentational framework of deception, self-enhancing lies are part of an effort to manage how we convey ourselves to the world. Whatever the reason, it is dishonest.

In 2013 top city lawyer Dennis O'Riordan was dismissed from his top city firm and barred from practice after falsely claiming degrees from Harvard and Oxford. In truth, he was a qualified barrister with a degree from the University of East Anglia, but in his mind that didn't fit with his senior position. His exposure came about by pure chance, not as a result of a routine HR check. Clients and colleagues had nothing but praise for his abilities, but his vanity was his downfall. This case is a sobering reminder of the importance of being honest and straightforward.
The SRA acts against solicitors who breach the mandatory principles.
Allegations of dishonesty are a serious matter and are subject to
careful scrutiny.

Mrs van der Zyl's second husband, Darrell van der Zyl, has a similarly casual attitude to the truth. On his 2015 Linkedin page he claimed to have attended the University of Liverpool for the three year period 1980 to 1983 and obtained a degree in Economics. In fact his time at the university terminated at the end of his first year and he left without obtaining any qualifications. His Linkedin page retrieved February 2019 displays a different specious claim.

In 2017 a paralegal, formerly employed by one of Shropshire’s leading law firms, was disciplined by the SRA for - amongst other breaches of the SRA principles - giving the impression that he held a degree from the University of Leeds (est. 1904), when in fact it was from the lesser Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU). That institution was previously Leeds Polytechnic and the paralegal's claim, while similar, is less of a fiction than Mrs van der Zyl's university claim.

Really successful people who were caught lying on their CVs. (The Telegraph, Aug 2016)_, including ...

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said
lying was always morally wrong.
White lies are a 'slippery slope' to becoming a compulsive liar.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts says: "The consequences of telling a lie are invariably more serious than that which the lie sought to avoid or achieve." When is it OK to brag? (Psychology Today)

If you've decided to tell it straight, check out the UK based Career Improvement Club.

Note: the author of this article studied engineering at Hendon Technical College. Although it later became a polytechnic and then a university, he does not claim to have studied at either of those institutions.


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