Ever lied on your resume?
You’re in good company. The worlds of business and politics are rife with people who took the easy way out because they didn’t have the experience they needed to get hired.
That’s not so crazy. But what is unbelievable is that some people were able to keep the jobs they got by faking it.
Check out the people who totally got away with it:
Bausch & Lomb CEO Ronald Zarrella
Zarrella claimed to have a master’s degree in business administration from New York University. In reality, he only started the program.
But after finding out, Bausch & Lomb said Zarrella was “too valuable” to let go and let him keep his job. He did forfeit a $1 million bonus, though. Ouch.
Vice President Joe Biden
That’s right, even the Vice President has lied on his resume.
Back in 1987, Biden ran for president. During his campaign, a C-SPAN video showed Biden claiming that he had finished in the top half of his class at Syracuse University College of Law.
In reality, he graduated 76th out of 85. He later admitted that he had committed plagiarism while there, which he called “a mistake.” He dropped out of the race soon after.
This setback was obviously huge at the time, but Biden still made it to one of the most important political positions in the world.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal
During his campaign for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat in 2010, news broke that Blumenthal had lied about his military service.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Blumenthal said in March 2008. “… We owe our military men and women unconditional support.”
Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps but never went to Vietnam the way his speech suggested. In fact, he took repeated steps to avoid being sent into the war, the New York Times reported.
Blumenthal won the election – despite the lie – and holds the Senate seat today.
But it doesn’t always work like that.
It’s worth noting that lying on resumes doesn’t always turn out so well.
Dave Edmondson, former Chief Executive of RadioShack
Edmondson claimed to have degrees in psychology and theology from Pacific Baptist College in California.
But in 2006, local journalists found out that he actually had no degrees. Before being hired at RadioShack, Edmondson had a 30-year career at McDonald’s Corporation that began when he was 16-years-old and saw him rise through the ranks to chief restaurant operations officer.
This disclosure led to Edmondson being fired by RadioShack’s board and given a severance package.
In an interview with the New York Times, Edmondson admitted to lying, but didn’t say why he did it.
Former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson
During a 2012 battle between Yahoo! and shareholder firm Third Point, allegations emerged that then-CEO Scott Thompson had lied on his resume. The allegations turned out to be true.
Thompson had said he held a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College in Massachusetts. In reality, he never earned a degree in computer science.
He stepped down as CEO shortly after, but attributed the resignation in part to a thyroid cancer diagnosis.
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown
Brown was nominated to the job in 2003. In 2005 he was accused of botching the emergency response to victims of Hurricane Katrina and people started looking into his background.
Brown’s resume claimed that he had worked as the “assistant city manager with emergency services oversight” in the town of Edmond, Oklahoma from 1975 to 1978. But that wasn’t true. He actually just worked as an assistant to the city manager from 1977 to 1980.
“The assistant is more like an intern,” Edmonton’s head of public relations told Time magazine in 2005.
These are only a few cases of resume padding that have been publicized.
Just in case you’re thinking about fibbing on your resume, I’m going to step back from moralizing and offer you some action points.
Top Tips for Lying Successfully on Your Resume
I read this incredible Reddit thread about a guy who allegedly fabricated his entire resume and got his dream job. He had zero prior experience. Here’s what I took from his and other similar stories.
When Fibbing, Backdate
If you’re going to put fake experience on your resume, associate it with jobs that are older. Hiring managers are more likely to check on positions that are in your recent past.
Look interesting with fake skills
If you say you can code HTML, you better be able to do it. Don’t fake that shit. What you can fake are more random, fun skills that make you look interesting. If you’re applying for an accounting job, it probably won’t hurt if the hiring manager thinks you speak Swahili and have written an unpublished novel about medieval weaponry.
What Happened in Vegas Stays in Vegas
If a potential employer asks if you did drugs in the last decade and you were never arrested for it, it might be better to just say “no.”
Even if your potential employer is going to give you a drug test, it’s unlikely to show up if you haven’t done any drugs for months or years. Pot stops showing up in blood tests after 14 days, urine tests after 30 days and in hair tests after after 90 days.
But every drug is different. Take a look here for a full breakdown of most kinds of drugs.
Put as many skills on your resume as possible
Sometimes, the recruiting coordinator who is filtering resumes knows next to nothing about the position they’re filling. But they might have a few keywords they’re searching for in a candidate’s resume, especially when hiring for a tech position. In those cases, it’s better to overfill your resume with every skill you could possibly put, even if you embellish, to make sure the keywords they’re looking for are on your resume.
Then again, maybe don’t lie
Lying might get you what you want in the short term, but it also might take a toll in the long run. First, there’s the anxiety that comes from lying and worrying that you’ll be discovered. Then, there’s the fact that lying about who you are and what you want might land you a job that doesn’t suit you well at all.
As Mark Twain used to say, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”