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When Leaders Lie About Education on their Résumés

Last week it was discovered that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson lied about his education on his résumé. Apparently, Scott does not have bachelor’s degrees in accounting and computer science as he has claimed. He has a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting, but no degree in computer science at all. This revelation makes him the latest executive to be targeted for falsely claiming to have a college degree.

graduation caps

It may sound insane that high-ranking executives would lie about experience or their credentials in the age of Google searches, but it happens more often than you may think. From white lies about time spent as a call center rep to claims about earning an MBA, résumé padding occurs regularly, experts say. In a 2010 survey of 1,818 organizations, 69% reported catching a job candidate lying on his or her résumé, according to HireRight. That large statistic doesn’t even include those who got away with lying on their résumé’s.

Résumé “embellishments” among leaders of industry have led to mixed results:

  • Former RadioShack CEO Dave Edmondson resigned less than nine months after taking his post after the revelation that he did not have degrees in theology and psychology.
  • Bausch & Lomb’s Ronald Zarrella offered to resign when it was discovered that he had not earned his MBA from NYU, as he’d claimed. The board did not accept his resignation, but he was forced to give up his bonus that year.
  • Former Notre Dame football coach George O’Leary resigned after five days on the job when it came to light that he did not have a master’s in education from NYU or play football at the University of New Hampshire.

What does resume embellishing say about these titans of industry and their companies? Is there a point in one’s career when what undergraduate degrees you have stops being relevant? Or does it reflect a much larger ethical issue?

Tell us your thoughts below in the comments section.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, please refer to this CNN article: //

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