Your Resume: Keep it Real, Folks….

Hello and happy Tuesday!

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably read about Scott Thompson, chief executive of Yahoo Inc., who stepped down after an activist shareholder reported a discrepancy in his resume. Thompson claimed that he holds a computer science degree, but it turns out, he doesn’t. And now, the lie has been uncovered and his story is known across the globe.

Ouch.

A few clients I’ve had have asked me to – we’ll say, embellish – certain facts on their resume. Someone who took classes towards an uncompleted degree might ask me to list the degree anyway, for instance. I have never done this, and this recent story is the perfect example of why I believe it’s crucial to be 100% honest on your resume.

If you tell a lie on your resume, chances are it won’t become front page news. But, thanks to the rise of social media outlets such as Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s becoming easier for recruiters to spot resume discrepancies. The pool of folks looking for jobs is larger than ever before, which means if a recruiter spots a lie – even what some would consider a white lie – on a resume, that candidate is disqualified. And let’s say the resume makes the cut, and you get the job: down the line, the truth could surface and you will lose your job, if not your reputation. It’s simply not worth the risk.

It can be all to tempting to add that degree, extra work experience, or skill that has yet to be attained to your resume, particularly with the high level of competition in certain industries. But know that there is a line between focusing on your best qualities and outright changing your experience to match job requirements.

As I’ve mentioned, employers are looking for candidates who stand out from the crowd, and honesty is a strength, not a weakness. Don’t apply for a job for which you aren’t qualified – nobody wins in that situation. Focus on jobs where you can be proud of your background, and where your most unique qualities will be seen as an asset. No embellishments needed.

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