Don’t Pad Your Resume

Summertime always involves the great hunt for new grads—where will I work, who will hire me? It’s also a good time to look around for advancement opportunities or fine-tuning what you are currently doing.

If you are on the search, be it with a new degree in hand or just wanting to upgrade your career, think hard about what you include on your resume.

Early this year, the embattled President and CEO of RadioShack finally tossed in the towel and resigned. Why? Resume padding, simple and bold.

Resume padding—what’s that? Plain, old-fashioned lying. 

David Edmondson’s resume claimed that he had received two degrees from schools that stated they had no record of his graduating. Records showed he had attended a couple of semesters, but never offered degrees in the areas that Edmondson claimed he had earned one in.

With public rumors circulating about Edmondson’s credibility, RadioShack decided to launch an investigation by researching his resume. With the heat on, he resigned.

Some may think, “Well, so what, he was doing a good job for RadioShack—what’s a degree anyway, it’s results that count.” Others will disagree. “If they lie on a resume, what else will they lie about?”

RadioShack’s Board agreed with the later…they felt that it was critical to restore the company’s credibility. Edmondson was out.

Lying on resumes isn’t an exclusive of the corporate workplace. It happens everywhere, including sports and academia.

A few years ago, the newly hired basketball coach of the University of Louisiana was given the pink slip. The school learned that Glynn Cyprien’s claim of a degree from an accredited university that was claimed on his resume was a myth. Ditto for George O’Leary who was exposed just a week after he was hired as Notre Dame’s football coach.

It’s not just a guy thing. Sandra Baldwin stepped down as president of the U. S. Olympic Committee after it was learned that the PhD in English she claimed on her resume didn’t exist, nor did she graduate from the Colorado school she claimed she had.

According to www.ResumeDoctor.com, a resume advisory service, over 43 percent of resumes have inaccuracies in them. Some can be a wrong date; others claims/credentials that are non-existence. 

It may be viewed that exaggerating a tad will move you up the ladder faster, or get you hired ahead of others. There’s a belief that you won’t get caught—similar to athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs.

Gordon Miller, Director of Coaching for Colorado Careers (www.ColoradoCareers.com), author of The Career Coach: Winning Strategies for Today’s Job Market and career expert on WB2 adds his two-bits, “As a coach, my main job is to help clients determine what is holding them back and to design an action-oriented, results-based path to quickly bridge the gap between where they are in their career and where they want to be.” 

Resume padding doesn’t fit into Miller’s methods of operation for the savvy employee.

What’s a manager to do if he suspects an employee (or potential) isn’t all what was initially presented? What’s an employee to do who’s boosted his or her resume a bit?

For managers, don’t accept all that is written. Get out the phone and call references, check claimed degrees, credentials, writings and awards. Let the Internet by an ally, especially with young people.

Gordon recommends that you do “random testing” of employee’s resumes…even those who’ve been with you for five, even ten years. “Employers don’t put enough teeth in their policies. If something is amiss, it’s time for a one-on-one. They should be called on the carpet and fired if lying is exposed.”

The Internet can be very revealing about a potential employee, especially the under 25 crowd. Websites, such as www.MySpace.com, www.Facebook.cm, www.Tagged.com, www.Bebo.com, www.Bolt.com and www.Friendster.com should be routinely checked for blogs and comments that could be viewed as negative or risky.

As the largest, www.MySpace.com has over 65 million digital subscribers. Over 150,000 new users register each day. They chat about anything and everything…maybe it should be called BlabSpace.com. Many have not made it past the interview process because of questionable postings that have been put up when checked by a manager or HR professional.

Your next senior executive is not going to be found on one of these sites. But, on the plus side, recruiters have also sought out entry-level and mid-level managers. College recruiters have learned that this is a great way to “remote” recruit new hires.

For employees and job-seekers, be smart with any postings that you put on the Internet, especially if you are ticked about something. With search engines, it’s not hard to find out what someone’s position is.

When completing a resume, many job applicants don’t hit the mark because they fail to target their resume to the employer. Instead of making 500 copies, do some customization. You’ve got a computer or access to one—personalize it. Tweak it so that your background fits with the company. You want that piece of paper to say, “I’m what you are looking for and here’s my background to support it.”

When if comes to fluffy up the resume, it’s taboo. Gordon tosses out this simple question, “If the roles were reversed, would you hire someone who lied on their resume?”

Most who fudge on their resume don’t find their names and deeds on the front page of the business section of the newspaper. But they could lose they job they prize the most. Don’t you.

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