Famous Résumé Lies

So, you want your résumé to represent your career and education in the best possible light. You might even be tempted to ‘fluff’ or ‘puff’ it up a bit, just to highlight your accomplishments. Before you do that, consider these famous résumé lies and the consequences they had:

CEO goes Boo-Hoo over Faked Degree, May 2012
• Scott Thompson, The CEO for Yahoo! is stepping down over a faked Computer Science degree, among other things. How did the degree get into his résumé if he didn’t earn it? He’s blaming a headhunting company error. Stockholders and Yahoo! employees aren’t buying it.

• In 2007, Radio Shack’s CEO Dave Edmondson claimed degrees in psychology and theology, while Bausch & Lomb’s CEO Ronald Zarrella stepped it up a notch and gave himself an unearned M.BA. Edmondson was terminated. Zarrella, unlike most employment fraud cases, was kept on, despite his deceit.

Chef Chopped from TV Show, February 2008
• The Food Network declined to renew chef Robert Irvine’s contract in early 2008 after his résumé fluffing came to light. Irvine claimed to be a knight, own a castle, and be a White House chef. None of which is true. Later that year, after extensive apologies, Irvine returned to projects with the Food Network.

Degreeless Dean of Admissions, April 2007
• Marilee Jones spent almost three decades at MIT, most recently as the Dean of Admissions. While she was busy bringing the cream of the crop into the school, it turns out she never attended any of the three colleges she claimed to have graduated from.

Lawyer No Bargain, January 2007
• Facing a lawsuit by his former firm, as well as felony and misdemeanor charges, Brian Valery’s lies got him into deep trouble. This paralegal pretended to attend night classes and then went on to tell his employers he passed the Connecticut State Bar in 2004. He worked for two years as a lawyer before his deceit was uncovered. In 2008, Valery was sentenced to $225,000 in restitution to his former firm and community service.

Lieutenant Colonel gets the Boot, April 2002
• Fox News employed Colonel Joesph Cafasso of the Silver Star as a consultant for several months before firing him. What went wrong? It turns out Cafasso did not serve in Vietnam, did not take part in secret missions in Iraq, and he did not win any medals as he claimed. One month-and-a-half of boot camp is his only military experience.

Football Coach Punted, December 2001
• After only one week as Notre Dame’s football coach, George O’Leary resigned. The man who promised to guide the Fighting Irish turned out to have no college football career or master’s degree, both of which his résumé claimed.

Keep yourself employed and out of the headlines by following Virtual Vocations résumé tips. We’ll help you make the most of your experience and education without landing you in trouble.

Cowan, Alison Leigh (22 January 2007). Case of the Paralegal Who Played a Lawyer Raises Many Questions. New York Times, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Italiano, Laura (31 January 2008). Bogus Att’y Takes a Trip. New York Post, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Lerer, Lisa (07 February 2007). Did You Lie On Your Resume? Forbes, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Montgomery, Ben (17 February 2008). TV Chef Spiced up his Past Exploits. Tampa Bay Times, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Rutenburg, Jim (29 April 2002). At Fox News, the Colonel Who Wasn’t. The New York Times, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Sos, Zak; Davis, Richard (27 April 2007). MIT Dean Resigns in Lying Scandal. CNN, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Sports Illustrated staff writer (14 December 2001). O’Leary out at Notre Dame after One Week. SI.com, online edition. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

Swisher, Kara (13 May 2012). Exclusive: Yahoo’s Thompson Out; Levinsohn In; Board Settlement With Loeb Nears Completion. All Things D. Retrieved 2012-05-25.

About the Author:
Mare is a Registered Nurse with a BS in Business Management, and is a social media fanatic. She’s had 18 years of experience working from home, and can be found at LiveWorld, where she’s a moderation manager. Mare found a position through Virtual Vocations back in 2007, and has been a fan of the site ever since.