Never Lie on a Resume–Ever

Yahoo's CEO lied on his resume. He does not have a degree in Computer Science. Well, many senior managers of high tech organizations don't. So, that should have been okay. There are two questions here:

  1. Why did he feel the need to lie? Did he even realize he was lying?
  2. Why did anyone feel the need for a Bachelor's degree for the job was necessary? Especially a BS in Computer Science? For a senior manager??

This post is about lying on your resume. I'll address the need–or not–for a degree in another post.

There is no point in lying on your resume about anything that can be fact-checked. The more influential your potential role in an organization, the more likely your background will be checked. Many organizations fact-check resumes because they can.

If you have a resume (or a LinkedIn page) that has stretched the truth, fix it now. It is not worth the aggravation of discovery. Did you graduate or just attend a particular school? If you did not graduate, make sure you fix your resume so it doesn't show that you graduated. If you didn't attend that school, remove it.

If you didn't get that promotion, change the job title. If you didn't work in that language, that operating system, that group, change it.

Be truthful on a resume. Show your value. Read Andy Lester's Resume tactics from the grocery checkout lane or Rich Stone's Resume and Interview Preparation Tips.

Whatever you do, don't lie on a resume. It might get you in the door and hired. It will boot you out pretty darn fast. And then where will you be? Notorious and looking for another job. Not a happy place to be. It's difficult to manage your job search when you are notorious.

2 Replies to “Never Lie on a Resume–Ever”

  1. I’ve seen articles talking about how he “fudged” or “padded” his resume. Thank you for saying he “lied”, because that’s really what it is.

  2. I hired a guy who lied on his resume – said he could write SQL queries when he couldn’t. I sent him to training (at the time, keeping a body was important) and he couldn’t or wouldn’t learn it. As it was a requirement for that position, I fired him (warm body be damned). Years later he applied to return to the company I still worked for. Figuring he couldn’t get into the old position, he applied to a different group. Sadly for him it was a group I now managed. His resume, full of experience from a competitor, looked great. But I couldn’t believe his resume and didn’t interview him. Once you’ve lied, people don’t forget. Be honest. Be PAINFULLY honest.

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