Write resume’s with caution

by | Nov 25, 2012

Lying on your resume can get you fired – or at least land you in very hot water. That is what Yahoo and its current CEO Scott Thompson learned last week when it was widely reported that he did not earn the computer science degree that his resume claimed. According to Thompson an executive search firm added the degree to his resume years ago and when it wrote his public biography, the story just stuck there.
Studies reveal that resume falsification is actually a common event. Statistics suggest that as many as fifty percent of all resumes contain some degree of distortion – from white lies to outright whoppers. So where will courts draw the line?
A few years ago “Doctor” Richard Clark applied for a job as a consultant with Coopers & Lybrand. In his application for the job he represented that he had a PhD in applied mathematics which helped him land the job. Coopers sent a memo to all staff welcoming “Doctor” Clark and it distributed his credentials as part of business pitches to earn more work. However, a few years later Coopers learned that Clark did not hold this degree and it fired him immediately, arguing he would have never been hired had it known the truth about his resume. Clark sued and he later lost as both a trial judge and the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that Clark could not benefit from his own wrongdoing.
Lying about academic qualifications is an extreme example. More often employees explain prior terminations for performance as “restructuring” just as they will find an excuse to avoid proffering their former boss as a reference. Neither of these explanations are technically true and most of the time they go unchecked. In order for these “types” of lies to amount to cause for dismissal, it must be shown that the employer based its decision to hire, in part, on those statements.
The law implies that not every act of dishonesty can lead to termination. Often, context can come before content and a mere error in judgment can be overlooked. However, when it comes to a resume, it’s best to stick to the truth.
Author: Daniel Lublin
Publication: Metro

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