Inaccuracies on Your Executive Resume May Come Back to Haunt You!


The New York Times > Sports > Baseball
“Medical Adviser Says He Regrets Resume Errors

Published: March 31, 2005

Elliot J. Pellman, the medical adviser to the commissioners of professional baseball and football and the Jets’ team doctor, said in a statement yesterday that he regretted what he called discrepancies in his educational and professional credentials and would correct them.”

Laurie’s Comments:

This is yet another in a series of recent incidents that have proven extremely embarrassing if not catastrophic to the careers of high-profile professionals and executives. Multiple survey results have shown that 50% or more of resumes examined contained inaccuracies, while anecdotal testimony of hiring managers indicates figures as high as 80%.

Inaccuracies can range from creative embellishment or exaggeration to blatant lies. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found in a survey late last summer that 3 out of 5 HR professionals identify discrepancies in resumes after conducting background checks, in a study reprinted on AICPA’s CPA Career Center.

Consequences of discovery of inaccuracies on a resume include summary dismissal and loss of all earned benefits such as retirement, pensions, or stock options. This can and has on a variety of occasions included employees of 20 years or more, even those in academia or government who otherwise enjoyed exceptional job security under the umbrella of tenure.

Presentation of credentials on the executive resume, executive bio, and official employment applications is a situation in which an executive’s integrity is routinely put to the test. Amid the plethora of corporate scandals in recent years that have put integrity at the forefront of public scrutiny, it is now more than ever inadvisable to be found wanting in this area.

My position on this is as it has always been: It is dishonest to exaggerate or lie on a resume, and clients who knowingly attempt to materially misrepresent their qualifications or accomplishments will find themselves looking for another executive resume writer. Not only is honesty the best policy and healthy for your career, it is also the only ethical course of action.