Should You Lie on Your Resume?

Earlier this week, Scott Thompson resigned as CEO of Yahoo after news broke that his computer science degree wasn't exactly legit. The worst part of the story, depending on who you ask, is either that he'd had the degree on his resume for over a decade — or that, in light of his other credentials, he probably didn't need to lie in the first place.

People lie on their resumes all the time, of course. For most folks, the lies are small: taking credit for projects that weren't entirely under their idea, or stretching a nodding acquaintance with a software program to "proficiency." Still, any lies at all can come back to bite you where it counts.

"A resume should not be embellished or exaggerated," said Brian Drum, president and CEO of New York City-based Drum Associates, Inc., a global executive search firm. "It's not an exercise in writing a novel. If there's anything that is not correct or is misstated, it could be a reason for not hiring you."

Or for firing you once your truth stretching comes to light. Scott Thompson isn't the only high level executive to lie and get caught. The New York Times notes that David Edmondson lost his position as CEO of RadioShack in 2006, when it was revealed that he had falsely claimed to have bachelor's degrees from Pacific Coast Baptist College.

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