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Katherine Lewis

Consequences for Padded Resumes, Post-Yahoo

By May 25, 2012

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The departure of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson after the discovery of his padded resume, which I wrote about for Fortune Magazine, highlights the importance for any of us to accurately portray our accomplishments. Thompson's resume somehow gained an additional college major he didn't earn, but other famous examples have included false institutions, accomplishments and positions. Once such fibs are discovered, the consequences have been dire indeed.

One executive I interviewed for the article said he received several resumes from the same company in which each individual applying for the job claimed sole responsibility for the same accomplishment. All those resumes ended up in the trash, so you don't need to be outed in the media in order to suffer for an inflated resume.

Have you ever been tempted to fudge your resume a bit? The lines are actually pretty clear. It's acceptable to leave off dates if you want to avoid age discrimination, but not to alter them if you're trying to hide a gap in your career path. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments
May 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm
(1) nola reporter says:

You padded your own resume when you said you contributed to coverage of Hurricane Katrina that won the Pulitzer Prize. None of those stories that were submitted to the Pulitzer committee had your name on them. You were in D.C. Meanwhile, reporters who were actually in New Orleans were working on the stories even as their homes were being flooded.

May 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm
(2) Katherine Lewis says:

Thanks for your comment. I agree that accurately describing your accomplishments is critically important. I was in the Washington D.C. bureau of Newhouse newspapers during Hurricane Katrina, and in that capacity I contributed reporting and shared bylines on two New Orleans Times-Picayune stories in the days immediately following the storm. All of us in the DC bureau did everything we could to help our colleagues in New Orleans communicate with each other, gather news and report the quickly developing situation online, since a physical newspaper couldn’t be printed.

However, my small efforts certainly paled next to the heroic work of journalists in New Orleans who risked their lives, lost their homes and remained committed to covering the aftermath of Katrina, even as much of the national media moved on. I certainly never meant to claim credit for their accomplishments, nor to offend anyone who reported from New Orleans. In that spirit, I am removing that line from my bio.

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