Video: Doctoring the Resume

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updated 3/1/2006 5:06:04 PM ET 2006-03-01T22:06:04

Have you ever given yourself a few extra points on the old college GPA, maybe trumped up your previous job title to impress a potential employer?  It‘s OK; you can admit it, because a new study shows you really are not alone. 

Resume doctoring has reached, apparently, epidemic proportions.  Mike Worthington is the co-founder of ResumeDoctor.com, a company that sponsored the study.  He joined Tucker to discuss his findings.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, THE SITUATION:  Now, you just finished a six-month examination of 1,000 resumes and found that, what, about 42 percent had lies in them.  Were you shocked by this?

MIKE WORTHINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, RESUMEDOCTOR.COM:  Well, I mean, I guess when we first started this survey, I was looking at—I was thinking maybe 15 percent.  But, yes, basically, I hate—I hesitate to use the word lies.  Maybe inaccuracies or maybe misrepresentations.  But over 42 percent of them—of the resumes we examined randomly across a lot of different industries, from entry level all the way to the executive level, had some sort of misrepresentation or inaccuracy. 

CARLSON:  Well, you‘re always seeing stories, seeing examples of people getting canned from jobs.  I think the head of Radio Shack just lost his job the other day over resume inflation.  What—so actually, it doesn‘t come as a huge surprise to me, anyway, but what—I‘m wondering what kind of inaccuracies they were?  Were they big?  Were they little?

WORTHINGTON:  Are you talking about the Radio Shack example?

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly—Dave Edmondson, Radio Shack.  That‘s right. 

WORTHINGTON:  If I‘m correct on that particular story, I think he had said that he had a particular degree, a bachelor‘s in something that he really didn‘t have. 

CARLSON:  Right.

WORTHINGTON:  And actually in our study, we found there were three major areas that most candidates were, you know, misrepresenting or stretching the truth, and education being one of them.  The other two areas were dates of employment and job titles, overall duties. 

CARLSON:  Do you think it‘s a big deal?  I mean, do you—do you tell the truth on your resume, for instance?

WORTHINGTON:  I honestly don‘t really have a resume, running our own place here.  But it‘s tempting.  I mean, the thing is there‘s so much competition in the workforce now.  And it‘s sort of like that Olympic athlete, you know, I‘ve got to have that extra little, you know, stimulant or, you know, some banned substance in order to stay competitive in the job market. 

CARLSON:  It all seems so picayune, though, so totally minor.  If you‘re going to lie on your resume, give yourself a Victoria Cross for Gallantry.  Right?  Give yourself an Everest expedition or a Congressional Medal of Honor or something.  But it‘s always, you know, “I got a master‘s in education from some college that I didn‘t actually go to.”  Who cares?

WORTHINGTON:  You know, I guess if you‘re going to lie, you maybe take the Hollywood approach.

CARLSON:  Yes.

WORTHINGTON:  And sort of say, based on a true story.  I mean, but you know, in terms—it‘s usually—yes, we did see candidates who actually said they went to a particular university and never attended there. 

But more often than not it was a candidate that‘s halfway through finished a degree or three quarters of the way finished a degree and says, “Let‘s just say I have my bachelor‘s degree from there” and “I actually have completed an MBA” when they‘re just still in the process or they—basically went through and quit after awhile. 

CARLSON:  Now, I have done a number of stories for print on people who have doctored resumes, just in the course of reporting a story, and found out they had made up things on the resumes.  In case after case, it was the same.  People were listing degrees from mail order universities as legitimate, you know, match cover colleges, correspondence schools as actual degrees. 

WORTHINGTON:  We definitely did see a lot of these, which are called diploma mills.

CARLSON:  Yes.

WORTHINGTON:  I mean, you and I can basically get on the Internet anywhere and hit some banner add and buy a degree for a few hundred bucks.  The reality is, is you know, did they actually go through coursework?  And did they actually do the—you know, from typical bricks and mortar institution?  The answer is no.  So you‘re basically just paying someone else to lie for you.

CARLSON:  I totally agree.  One final one word answer here: who lies more, men or women, on their resumes?

WORTHINGTON:  We didn‘t actually look at it from a gender standpoint. 

CARLSON:  Well, what do you think?

WORTHINGTON:  I would probably say, if I were to guess, probably men. 

CARLSON:  Of course. 

WORTHINGTON:  But I‘m not about—you know, we didn‘t look—we didn‘t break it down by gender or age or anything like that. 

CARLSON:  Women are above that.  That‘s—that‘s the lie I tell myself, anyway.  Mike Worthington from Burlington, Vermont, tonight, ResumeDoctor.com.  Thanks a lot for joining us.

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