Balancing Act: Yahoo CEO's resume scandal -- when is lying OK?
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Have you ever exaggerated just a little bit to put yourself in the best light possible?
Most of us do, particularly when it comes to our bios or resumes. We take what we've done and word it just so to make ourselves look as accomplished as possible. It's what we're told to do.
But resumes are tricky. Experts tell us it's OK to airbrush our photos, glamorize our accomplishments. Yet, we aren't supposed to cross the line into overembellishment or take it a step further and add facts that aren't true.
That's where Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson went wrong. He just was fired as CEO after it was found he padded his resume with an embellished college degree, ending his term at the company after just four months.
As college grads begin putting together their resumes, I think there's a lesson here. Don't put yourself in a position where you have to fear being caught. Airbrushing is OK. Lying is not.
If you think your resume needs some flair, do something about it -- the right way. Take a class. Do volunteer work. Gain the skills or experience you're missing. Yes, gaining those skills or experience could cut into your work-life balance, but so can losing your job.
Chris Lawson, CEO of the Eli Daniel Group in Dallas, hires people for a living. I asked him for tips on airbrushing a resume without lying:
• Why do you think people lie on their resumes? People lie on their resumes to cover up or enhance the information in hopes of "getting that interview."
• Are the lies increasing as the unemployment rates rise? When economic times are tougher, the desperation creates a sense of "why not, I am not getting any interviews anyway." The problem will usually backfire, especially if their skills are exposed quickly once hired.
• What can people do to boost their resumes without lying? People can boost their resumes by ensuring they list every skill and job function they performed at each job. Keywords are huge, especially since many searches for online information are performed by typing a few critical keywords to pull up a list of prospects. In addition, listing accomplishments that are factual demonstrates a higher performing candidate. People that narrow their job target objectives and tailor their resumes factually based on the job description will always get a good look as well.
First Published June 3, 2012 12:00 am