One part of a background check that hasn’t been covered thoroughly enough in this blog has been education in regards to background checks. Verifying education is only one part that gets checked in a background check but, as with all other portions, checking education history is simply to verify the information on a candidate’s resume. Resume lying, according to the blog on Monster is a fairly common occurrence, but, as listed in a post from a previous week, not all resume lies are created equal, and that also applies to education. Although lying on a resume should never be done – how will you back it up when you start the job? – the basic aspects concerning education on your resume should always be accurate.
The first part about your education history that should be accurate is the schools you attended and the degrees you earned – if you earned them. A background check can reveal what schools you went to and what type of degree you were studying for. If you earned the degree, that will show up on a background check, as well, and if you didn’t, a background check will indicate that the degree wasn’t completed and, in more detailed background checks, how many more credits short you were of completing a degree. Aside from the schools and whether a degree was earned or not, a person’s major should also be accurate, as this information regarding a person’s course of study will be revealed in a background check. Although mentioning you changed majors once – or twice – is irrelevant on a resume, having your final course of study, even if you didn’t finish it, should be listed. In addition, don’t make up a degree or major you didn’t study. If you only earned a bachelor of arts, don’t also list you earned an MBA on your resume, as the higher degree won’t show up on a background check.
Years of study should be listed, as well. In the case of college, if you started college in the fall of 2000 and didn’t graduate until the summer of 2006, those years should be listed. Although a four-year college degree is most common, completing a degree – not always in the expected amount of time – is more important.
If the highest education you had was high school, the same applies. List on your resume of you received a high school diploma or GED and if you finished high school. If it took you more than four years to finish high school, that should be listed as well.
For any discrepancies, or aspects that may seem odd like taking six years to finish high school or college, those can be explained during an interview.
Aside from the basics, other aspects, such as which student organizations and activities you belonged to, can be “padded,” although that isn’t recommended. These aspects, however, remain irrelevant a few years after graduating. Although participating and belong to certain groups can be helpful if writing a resume for an internship or entry-level position, they should be left of a resume designed for a mid-level career.