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I’m 24 years old and have just landed an offer for my dream job.

I sailed through the interview process and the company were extremely impressed with my experience and performance during the process.

I came from 6 months in a similar role that I got from graduation, long story short, my previous job thinks that I got a 2:1 in my degree because I hadn’t checked my CV, and my education certificates were never checked. I was lucky, and I completed the job very successfully with no complaints.

Now this new job I applied to have my actual grades (2:2), and after making an offer they have asked for references. I know they are going to confirm degree with previous employer as I am a recent graduate, and they will know that I lied.

Please try to avoid lecturing, I know what I did was wrong, but I guess I want to know what you would do in my situation? What consequences will I face?

Edit: I agree, an educational reference SHOULD come from university/college, however all it would take in conversation is “xxx joined us for 6 months after graduating with a xxx from xxx”, immediately not adding up with the truth.

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    "because I hadn’t checked my cv, and my education certificates were never checked." ...so you mean, this was a typo and unintentional thing, and never got corrected because they did not cross check the CV with the actual certificates, right? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 8 at 14:15
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    @SouravGhosh “so you mean, this was a typo and unintentional thing, and never got corrected because they did not cross check the CV with the actual certificates, right?” - Yes, I had realised only when I had started at my previous job and didn’t want to jeopardise the opportunity. Now the new company will get in touch to confirm what I have told them, and both companies will know I got away with a huge lie. – Tealover Apr 8 at 14:21
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    Why we they confirm your degree with your previous employer and not the educational institution that conferred the degree? – cdkMoose Apr 8 at 14:22
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    I'm not in the UK (which I presume if the locale), but don't employers confirm academic records with the educational institution? I've never heard of employers checking academic records with the prior employer. – UnhandledExcepSean Apr 8 at 14:27
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    Refrence: What does 2:1 or 2:2 mean? – rrauenza Apr 8 at 18:42
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I know they are going to confirm degree with previous employer as I am a recent graduate, and they will know that I lied.

Why would they do that? I'm uncertain why they would call your employer rather than the university/college? Plus why would they check your grades or gpa? I never heard of that before.

Typically the background process will check the school if you graduated and with what degree/certifications. I never heard of a employer calling to check grades nor have I ever heard of an employer calling a previous job to double check what you wrote on their application while applying and if that matches what you gave them. That sounds rather silly to me and a complete waste of time and resource. "Did he lie to you about his gpa?" would not be a question they would ask each other.

They will need your consent, of course before asking or calling anyone or anything. They just can't call each other willy nilly going crazy and double checking each other's resumes if you lied about anything.

I have heard of:

  1. Background agency checking your education credentials. They are not going to look at your resume, but instead what you submit to them in an application with your consent.
  2. They will call your previous employer to verify you were an employee. Since they can be sued for libel/slander, they will not give any other information other than if you worked there, and if you were fired/let go of.
  3. They will check criminal records of course.

Going forward just don't lie. I wouldn't worry about your previous employer and instead going forward with this employer, don't lie.

  • 1
    How much information is a (former) employer or university allowed to share about an employee/graduate? Are they even allowed to confirm that you worked/graduated there? – Michael Apr 8 at 19:51
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    "an employer calling a previous job to double check what you wrote on their application while applying" If OP is in the EU, their current employer might perhaps not even be allowed under GDPR to keep their application, because there is little value to it once the employee is employed and has moved past any probationary period. – a CVn Apr 8 at 20:29
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    It is not uncommon for an employer to check your GPA in the case of a fresh out. – KevinDTimm Apr 8 at 20:51
  • @aCVn Can confirm. That's why my company is right now introducing a system which the application PDF(s) may never leave (not even be printed), which auto-deletes every application after half a year. The original email is handled by HR, they know the procedures, but lest one techie or manager forgets about the contents in their inboxes or to put the printout into the shredder, they will never receive a pure file again. – Alexander Apr 8 at 22:49
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    Mostly irrelevant in this context but worth mentioning that checking criminal records is not an "of course" in many countries. Here (Nordic countries) you can only require proof of clean criminal record in very few specific cases, and most of the time only for crimes related to the job (e.g. someone applying for a job in kindergarten can't have history of sex crimes or abuse towards children.) The applicant must get the documentation from the police, the employer can't get it direcly. Asking for criminal records is illegal for any other jobs than the few mentioned in the law. – Moyli Apr 9 at 13:25
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No one cares about your gpa or college grades after you have work experience. Just go with the flow. You'll probably get away with this.

In the future, don't include your gpa in your CV or resume, it's a waste of everyone's time. It's also a very poor indicator of performance, so if a company sees that you have work experience and still cares about your gpa, that's a red flag.

That being said, as a few people in the comments have pointed out, if your grades were fantastic, 3.7+ gpa, then bragging about it probably won't hurt you.

I do know that some people purposefully avoid hiring people with 4.0s, so there is a risk to this. I personally don't think there's any reason to give your potential employer more information to judge you by than is necessary, but if you want to go ahead. If your gpa is less than 3.5 don't list it. If it's between 3.5 and 3.7 don't list it after you have some real world experience. Go by your industry's standards for that.

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    This is true in mid-to-late career, but if you are just starting out, I would think exemplary grades/scores can work in your favor. – mcknz Apr 8 at 18:16
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    I have a Master's and 10+ years of experience, and I still put my GPA on my resume. I still get comments about it (4.0 for both B.S. and M.S.). It takes up what would otherwise be empty space and won't hurt me, so why not? I say use every advantage you can get; anything could separate you from another candidate. – Bloodgain Apr 8 at 19:01
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    @BloodGain Putting a US 4.0 GPA on the CV makes sense because it's a distinction. A UK 2:2… not so much. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 9 at 0:36
  • Yep, and is remarkable even after 10 years. If you would put it on your Wikipedia page or obituary, then include it. Otherwise it dates very quickly, particularly in tech. – mckenzm Apr 9 at 1:12
  • A UK 2.2 is a lower second-class honours degree grade, equal to a NARIC GPA 2.6+ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Michael Harvey Apr 9 at 12:52
30

TL;DR You're overthinking it, it's all in your head!

A company is not going to call a previous employer - even if it's your first employer or a company in which you were an intern - and talk about your grades.

They want to know how well you perform, your character, how well you work with others etc.

Grades might be checked with your university but they're more likely to check that you indeed got the degree from said university.

You just got out of school and grades are the prism through which you see the world. This will change very rapidly and you'll see that they don't matter that much in a work environment.

“xxx joined us for 6 months after graduating with a xxx from xxx”

This isn't likely to happen. Your current employer doesn't even know your grades. What may be said: xxx joined us for 6 months. What might be said: xxx joined us for 6 months after graduating from yyy

In the very very unlikely event that your grades make it into the conversation AND someone notices the discrepancy, they might double check your CV and your degree and leave it at that.

Addendum:

Declaring the problem upfront as is suggested in other answers can only be detrimental to you as it will only raise questions to which there is no answer besides the fact that you made a mistake and fixed it.

You made an honest mistake that your previous employer didn't even notice, you fixed it before applying to this new job. Don't mention it. End of story.

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    Yes. What's more, in the unlikely event your previous employer does say anything about your results, you simply say they had it wrong. You are presenting the authoritative source of your results. There is no need to say why your previous employer had the wrong idea. – Concrete Gannet Apr 9 at 1:51
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    I've never had an employer check my grades with my former employer. Some new employers have asked for my degree certificates but you already told your new employer the correct grades. Once you've got over the hurdle of your first graduate job your grade becomes irrelevant pretty quickly. I really wouldn't draw attention to it as it stains your character reference. Ignore answers saying randomly own up, this is essentially career suicide for no reason. – TJB Apr 9 at 15:09
  • The old employer will NOT be inclined to check your CV, if they even have it available. – Underminer Apr 9 at 16:04
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So, from your statement, what you did

  • Made a typo in the CV, however produced documentation with actual grades.
  • The company never cross-checked the documents and went ahead with having your record updated as per the CV.
  • You found out later that your record was wrong but you did got get it corrected.

So, I'd say, you're in a grey area. You did not correct a mistake you spotted, which would not have been there if the company would be careful. So, I'd not categorize that as a lie, it's a case where records were not verified and a mistake was overlooked.

You did not lie to the current organization you're applying to. It's highly unlikely (and in majority of the cases, legally not possible, though IANAL) that your prospective employer will go looking for your degree-related information to your previous employer instead of the graduating college / university. So, there should not be any problem for the employment with prospective employer.

Let's learn from the mistake and move forward. Nothing to be worried.


Original Answer for "Lied on resume at previous job"

Well, there's only one way to recover from the pitfall of lying, tell the truth.

Given the state:

my previous job thinks that I got a 2:1 in my degree because I hadn’t checked my CV, and my education certificates were never checked

I'd say, you and your previous employer, both are at fault here. It is generally not considered a white lie, if you have a mistake in CV with the supporting documentation to get it cross verified (and corrected).

So, to declare the problem upfront, is the best solution here.

You did not lie (or, repeated the same mistake) when you applied at the current position, that's a good thing. You can also mention something along the line of:

"Oh, and one more thing I'd like to mention, in the records of my previous company, my grades are entered incorrectly. The actual is the ones I submitted the proofs for. In previous company the records/certificates were not checked properly, and the mistake in the CV went through to official records. I"m making sure it does not repeat here."

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    In the case the new employer ask about it, I agree with your answer. But otherwise, I would not make a fuss about it... OP gave his/her true grades to his/her new employers so from my perspective, the truth is needed only if they ask you about it – Tom W. Apr 8 at 14:18
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    @ThomasW. I'd beg to differ: the erroneous record is in the previous company, in the current company, it has nothing much to do with. However, mentioning proactively can help OP to "come clean". – Sourav Ghosh Apr 8 at 14:21
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    I'm probably just confused because I've never heard about 'checking a new employe's grades'. In my country, it's quite common to check for diplomas for new graduates but not their grades. – Tom W. Apr 8 at 14:33
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    For your first job out of college (maybe first 2 if you job hop quickly) I can see them caring about your GPA enough to check it. Maybe. – Adonalsium Apr 8 at 14:41
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    @SouravGhosh If the previous employer never even bothered to verify their qualifications, I highly doubt that there is an "erroneous record" actually saved anywhere. Certainly not one that would ever be referenced again for any reason. I'm all in favor of honesty, but at this point you'd just be telling a third party that you've once lied to someone else in the past. It isnt a great starting point for trust, and would really come off as a rather strange non-sequitur. – Tal Apr 8 at 19:29

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