Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Verifying Your College Degree and Your Past

A new hot button on the employment scene is the need for new applicants to verify their college degree with prospective employers. In times past, very few companies took the effort to verify the degree with the applicant’s school, leaving trust to complete the transaction. That was until December 2001, when former Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary accepted a position as head coach at Notre Dame. Before O’Leary took office, Notre Dame found that the coach-to-be had not completed his Master’s degree from New York University as was stated on his resume. Since then, companies have been more focused on digging deeper into an applicant’s background so a complicating and embarrassing situation does not arise in the future. Companies will no longer accept a copy of a person’s diploma due to “diploma mills” making it easy for one to create just about anything on the internet.

Every person who is currently employed or will be in the future should have a degree verification letter from their graduating school. For authenticity, this letter should have a watermark, or be notarized by the school prior to receiving it. It should be kept with other documents such as birth certificates, living wills, etc. If a school has been closed or records misplaced, websites such as can help a person retrieve these records at very little cost to them. This will save headache and heartache in the future. A recent example encountered by The SearchLogix Group was a candidate that had earned a Master’s degree, walked with fellow students, and received the diploma. The candidate went into the business world never thinking there would be a problem. When it came time for the prospective employer to verify the degree, it was found to have never been entered into the school’s database. A small clerical error on the school’s part turned out to be a last minute nightmare for the candidate. This situation and many like it could be avoided by requesting a degree verification letter.

Along with a degree verification letter, applicants should also take time and perform a full background check and credit history check as well. These checks should go back at least twenty years and include information of traffic tickets, DUIs, lawsuits and judgments, or credit disputes. The purpose is to make sure nothing in the candidate’s background would send up red flags for the search firm or the hiring authority. For example, a ten year old unpaid parking ticket in another state may have been forgotten, but has turned into a bench warrant for arrest. Another example would be a candidate who has a delinquent $800 cell phone bill, but does not own a cell phone. This information will turn up while performing these checks, but the earlier a candidate knows of the problems, the easier they are to get fixed and explained. Some employers will run checks that go back as far as twenty years. Credit history can be obtained from and can be monitored often. Driving and civil information can be obtained from a local police department. Prices range from $15 to $100, but could save an applicant’s future at a great company. Being prepared is always the best policy.

- Artie Cressman

Artie has worked for the past nine years in the automotive industry with American Honda most recently with BMW North America. Prior, Artie was with Delta Air Lines in DFW and ATL. Finding the talent you are looking for is Artie’s drive to excellence. Artie’s areas of industry experience include: Automotive, Customer service, Airline, Aviation, Logistics, and Sales. Artie also thrives on the gratification of helping individuals develop their careers. You can email Artie at or telephone him at 770-517-2660 x19.