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 on the web site of this major London law firm may look convincing, but ....
Mrs van der Zyl has publicly spoken of herself as 'a former student of Liverpool University', perhaps hoping to give the impression that she went to the prestigious University of Liverpool, a Russell Group member with ten Nobel Prize winners amongst its alumni. In an interview in the JC (18 May 2018) it states 'After school, she read law at John Moores University in Liverpool.'

Her profile on the Davenport Lyons web site where she was a partner for ten years until 2014, when it collapsed with £14 million debts, unequivocally stated: 'Marie graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 1988 with an Honours degree in law.' That is a falsehood because no such university existed at that date.
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 is 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 it was not a university when she was a student, but it is, at best, deceptive. On the Gordon Dadds web page shown above (retrieved 11/Nov/18), it abandons the 'now' and reverts to an earlier claim and clearly states 'Liverpool John Moores University'. A redesigned web page_ (retrieved 2/Jan/2019) blatantly perpetuates the impression that she held a degree from a university.

What is the truth?
Fact: Marie Sarah Kaye (as she was then known) obtained her CNAA degree from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1988.
At that time Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) did not exist.
What was originally the Liverpool Mechanics' School of Arts morphed 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. 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 the item will eliminate any uncertainty.
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.

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 solictors who breach the mandatory principles.
Allegations of dishonesty are a serious matter and are subject to careful scrutiny.
Mrs van der Zyl's 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. The 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 ...

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)

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


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