Skip to content
September 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Erica Roberts: Does Lying on Your Resume Ever Pay Off?

lying on a resumeWe’re taught from a very young age the difference between right and wrong, what’s appropriate and what’s not. And many of those principles carry directly into the workplace. Honesty is one of those principles.

I’d like to share a post about honesty that I came across this summer, written by millennial, Erica Roberts. 

Whether you’re new to the business or an industry vet – Erica helps paint a great picture (and reminder) of the importance of honesty in the workplace.

-- David

Someone’s resume pants are on fire.

Scott Thompson served as CEO of the long-struggling internet company Yahoo!. Did, until a shareholder discovered Thompson had lied on his resume – stating he had a computer science degree he never actually earned.

Scott Thompson left his position at Yahoo!, citing “personal reasons”.  Apparently, Thompson discovered he has a disease, under tremendous pressure to resign, his illness became the main reason for departure (that his resume lie was discovered in the same week is not another lie, but rather one big coincidence).

I’ve heard about job seekers fudging the details on their resume… and after reading about the uproar at Yahoo!, I wondered: Is being careless on your resume worth it? 

Scott Thompson is feeling the heat from these accusations after decades of being a highly successful businessman. Now, although he netted $7.3M for less than 5 months as CEO, this resume exaggeration may follow him for the rest of his career.

Many college students have a difficult time getting hired because without work experience their chances of being considered for a job are vastly reduced. In light of this problem, some young professionals choose to “enhance” the details of their resume. Commonplace examples include changing dates of a job worked to cover resume gaps, or stating that they led a project when in fact they just participated.

What happens when a reference check is made? Does lying on your resume pay off?

In most cases (but apparently not at Yahoo!), your true past will quickly be revealed.  Even if you somehow get past the reference check and into the job, these issues have a way of surfacing later. Having to admit a lie on your resume most likely will taint your employers’ opinions of you for the duration of your employment; your reputation may never recover.

Lying on your resume can also affect the perceived quality of your work. Scott Thompson created much bad press for Yahoo!, the last thing the company needed since it was already a PR pro’s nightmare due to its financial troubles. New CEO Marissa Mayer now has to pick up where Thompson left off, while gaining employee trust and cooperation.

All of this because of a single untruth on a resume.

In the end, changing even minor details on your resume is NOT worth the risk. Learn from Scott Thompson – and the countless others – who have found themselves ousted because of a resume lie: Finding work while focusing on the “true” you is a better long-term strategy. 

And… you won’t have to buy new pants.


Erica Roberts graduated from Oregon State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing. She is an avid reader and writer, and is extremely passionate about social media. Erica currently holds several part time marketing positions, including a social media internship with YouTern, and is searching for a full time career. Connect with Erica on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Sign up


Comments on this post

Other posts you might be interested in

View All Posts