Little white lies common on grad CVs

Embellishing qualifications is ‘common practice’ to improve job prospects, according to new HEDD research

In a survey1 by the Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) students and graduates report that it has become common practice to change or embellish qualifications to help beat the tough jobs market and improve chances of employment.

HEDD, the government-backed online degree verification service, found that 31% of students and graduates know someone who has lied about their qualifications and 37% said that it has become common to improve chances of getting a job. Two per cent admitted to embellishing qualifications themselves, while 7% had considered it.

Of those who know someone who has embellished qualifications on a CV, 40% had inflated their grade, 31% lied about the proportion of the course they had completed, 11% falsely claimed that they had a degree and 4% changed the subject.

HEDD ( is a secure online portal that enables users to verify the degree qualifications of UK graduates and check whether a UK university or college is or has been recognised as a degree-awarding body by the government.

HEDD is managed by Graduate Prospects and led by Director Jayne Rowley who commented: “There’s no getting away from the fact that people are applying for and taking jobs that they aren’t qualified for at the expense of those who are.

“The lengths people go to cover their tracks are also becoming much more sophisticated than tweaking a CV. We’ve uncovered candidates who have supported their claims with fake degree certificates and official looking letters, and even fabricated breakdowns of course modules, all of which appear legitimate on the surface.

“While a competitive jobs market goes some way to explain why there is such a significant minority willing to lie about their qualifications, we believe that the problem is much more deeply engrained in our culture. Chancers rely on the fact that the majority of employers don’t check qualifications with the issuing university. By raising awareness of the issues around degree fraud we hope to encourage more businesses to dig a little deeper and not take CVs at face value.”

1 HEDD surveyed 568 students and graduates online during April and May 2014.   

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