So you've distributed a lie on your resume. Maybe a big one, maybe a small one.
Still, if you've been following the saga of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, any lie on your resume should give you cause for pause. Consider the rundown of Thompson's alleged character issue via a resume lie from the San Jose Mecrury News:
Thompson, who took over as head of the struggling company less than six months ago, claimed he received degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston, but Yahoo's largest outside investor revealed earlier this month that the accounting degree was the only one he earned.
Yahoo admitted Thompson did not receive a computer science degree, but termed it an "inadvertent error." That did not halt the controversy stemming from the revelation, however, and Thompson's attempts at damage control -- two apologies to Yahoo staff and claims that the error resulted from a mistake by an executive search firm that recruited him to his former job at PayPal -- did little to calm calls for his job."
Thompson did something that's common - he had a degree, but claimed a specific degree he thought would help him in his preferred career path. Then, when his career took off, he didn't remove the error.
I'm not telling you to lie. I'm telling you that if you lie, you need to get the lie off your resume at some point. Increasingly, that little lie is coming back to haunt people at all career levels.
Here's how to remove a lie from your resume:
1. Pledge to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
2. The next time you distribute a resume, go with the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Guess what? You get credit for the job you got with the resume lie in your new version of the real truth.
It's really that simple. You've lied on your resume. Just stop the madness with the next resume you distribute. Be brave.
Of course, simply changing the resume back to the whole truth and nothing but the truth isn't as simple as that.
Then you've got to figure out the LinkedIn thing as well. That's right, LinkedIn.
Odds are if you lied on your resume, you've lied on LinkedIn. That's problematic, because that's not nearly as private as you distributing a resume in a private job search.
Thoughts on dealing with the LinkedIn problem:
1. If you lose your job, change everything, including LinkedIn, automatically. It's a natural breaking point and the risk is low at that point.
2. If you're still employed, odds are the lie isn't about job title or broad responsibilities - since all your company could see those. It's probably a supplemental detail, like a degree.
3. One way to deal with the LinkedIn problem: Activity Broadcasts. Login and go to your name at the top right hand corner, then click "settings". Then check "Activity Broadcasts", then uncheck the box that alerts people when you make changes to your profile. This ups the chance you can make the change without people being aware that you're changing the detail in question.
4. If you don't think #3 provides you enough cover, go for neutralizing what your profile says. Instead of changing what your degree is in, do #3 and simply change the degree to "B.A.", without mention of a specific degree.
It's time to grow up and remove the lies - even the little ones - from your resume.
Do it before something that small and stupid causes your career harm. Trust me, it's not worth it, and after your second job and the experience you have at that point, no one really cares.