Life Lessons from Career Services: Karma and your Resume

The shocking news of Yahoo! CEO’s fibbed resume is just the icing on the cake for the troubled internet company.  Scott Thompson did what many people do - he embellished his resume and landed a great job. Don’t stop reading here though – the moral of the story is very important.

Thompson had a seemingly great future ahead of him having landed a job as the head of Ebay’s PayPal, and eventually becoming CEO of Yahoo, a gig that lasted him all of 5 months before his secret was found out.

Scott Thompson was said to have a Computer Science Degree from Stonehill College, which was a claim that could be found in his executive profile as well as filings with the SEC. Interestingly enough, he did graduate from Stonehill but with a degree in Accounting, not computer science.  This is a very large difference when you’re looking at running a company that claims to be the internet’s most visited site, according to Reuters.

In the end, the story really isn’t as shocking as it seems. After 6 years in staffing and recruiting I can sincerely tell you that many people fluff information on their resume and in the end it is always found out.

Examples of where information is embellished would include changing your graduation dates, GPA, and even your major/minor. And, there are a handful of people who imply they completed a degree by including it on their resume and hope it’s enough to get them an interview.

Any embellishing, or lying, on your resume can be verified with one phone call to the educational institution that you claim to be a graduate of. Colleges can release what is called “Directory Information” and includes information like your dates of attendance, degree of study, as well as diplomas and awards received, as described by the U.S. Department of Education.

From my experience, education is verified early on in the hiring process and often by a third party that reports its findings. In that case, it is especially important to be correct about your dates of attendance and official college degree name as any deviations could trigger a mismatch. The lesson to be learned is to work hard, earn your degree, and display it proudly on your resume knowing that you earned every grade on that transcript. Adding anything to your resume other than what you earned will undoubtedly catch up to you and have devastating effects that will far outreach the temporary benefits you may get. 

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Charity Morrow, is the Career Services Advisor for Rasmussen College in Bloomington. She has worked in the staffing and recruiting field for over six years. Her professional interests lie in bridging the gap between those looking for new opportunities and the “secrets” of the other side of the hiring desk.

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