Judith’s Take; Fluffy Resume’s are in the Midst

It’s not uncommon to get the career itch in the summer…is it time to move to where it’s not so hot (or cool)? I’m sick of the mosquitoes, give me the desert or I can make more money on the West Coast. Or maybe you just can’t stand the new CEO.

If you decide it’s time to see what’s out there and determine if the grass is really greener, make sure that what you put in print is squeaky clean. It’s easy to fudge sometimes about what you created, contributed or earned. Don’t. The magnifying glasses are out when looking at management and leadership candidates.

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,” you ask — what’s that? Plain, old-fashioned lying.

RadioShack’s 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 great 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.

What’s a manager to do if she 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.

Do a “random testing” of employee’s resumes…even those who’ve been with you for five, even ten years. Most employers don’t put enough teeth in their policies. If something is amiss, it’s time for a one-on-one. If you determined that they lied, they don’t belong on your team. Be gone.

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. Recruiters have also 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.”

Forget about fluffing up a resume. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, 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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