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Older job applicants advised to change qualifications on their CV

by on January 19, 2015

Ros Altmann, UK goverment’s older worker champion appears to have caused quite a stir with her suggestion that the ‘O’level generation’ should amend their CV’s to suggest that they completed GCSE’s instead.   By way of background, ‘O’ Levels were awarded mostly based on final exams at aged 16, in comparison to the less prestigious CSE which were regarded as an easier award for the same age group.  As the David Barrett in the Telegraph states “O-levels, widely regarded as the gold standard in secondary level qualifications, were scrapped in 1987 and replaced with GCSEs the following year, meaning the youngest O-level cohort is now 43 or 44”.  Thus, “O-levels equals ‘old’” Ros Altmann is reported to have told the Sunday Times.

I don’t have access to the Sunday Times site but the Telegraph article has already racked up nearly 350 comments; in general suggesting that this advice rather poor!  Many commenters draw attention to the potential legal implications of lying on your CV.  Interestingly a separate recent article in the Telegraph highlights the risk to trust from this practice, even when the lie might be deemed a ‘white’ lie.  Other commenters proclaimed pride in their ‘O’ levels which have long been regarded as a more difficult qualification than the GCSE’s that followed them.  A third perspective was that for many of us around this age, there is likely to be much more recent relevant career information and even qualifications than O’levels – so why would you included them on your CV in any case?  It is the case that some job application forms will request this information, along with dates of education etc which do allow age to be determined.  However, as many commenters on the Telegraph article suggested it is about selling experience and relevant qualifications to the job being advertised.

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