Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson was fired a few weeks ago and suffered excruciating personal embarrassment when it was revealed he  claimed he had an academic degree he never earned.

He had been on the job for a mere four months.

Thompson claimed to hold a bachelor’s degree in both accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, when in reality he only held an accounting degree.

While adding an entire degree to your resume is an extreme version of resume padding, DU students can still learn from Thompson’s example. We all like to embellish our resumes a little bit.

We make that club we joined freshman year (and only went to the meetings twice) sound a little bit more prestigious than it was, and we include that honor society that only accepted us based on our GPA and willingness to pay the fee. There’s nothing wrong with sprucing up our resumes a bit, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

Thompson clearly felt that his resume wasn’t good enough for the types of jobs he was applying for.

But he was already qualified for the job, having been the president of the eBay subsidiary. Perhaps he may not have gotten the job without his padded resume, but he likely would have. Either way, he wouldn’t have been stuck jobless.

Students often fear the shame of unemployment after graduation, but we too should focus on our real and abundant qualifications and leave out the little things that don’t add to our professional experience. It’s important we know what really qualifies us for the jobs we are applying for.  Most employers can see right through a resume.

They know what’s important and what’s not. The important things are the long term commitments we make with the things we are truly passionate about – working on a presidential campaign, volunteering with a non-profit that we care about, an internship in the field we want to work in.

These kinds of things on a resume go much farther than a bunch of clubs from high school stacked on top of each other.

If an employer sees a never-ending list of things you have been involved in, they are more likely to toss all of them out as tacky resume add-ons rather than notice the ones that really count.

Even if an employer falls for all of your resume embellishments and hires you because of them, they’ll be disappointed and unimpressed when they discover that you’re not the rock star you claimed to be. That’s what happened to Thompson.

As accomplished students, there is simply no reason to fib on a resume.

Our real accomplishments should be enough to get us a decent job. If yours aren’t, then maybe you need to get out and get some real experience.

Go ahead and add that honor society from freshman year if you think it truly added to your character, and if you really were involved in cooking club, then there’s no reason not to include that as well.

If it was insignificant to you, it’ll be insignificant to employers as well.

Whatever you do, don’t follow in Thompson’s footsteps and flat-out lie, because that will only jeopardize your job as well as your credibility.


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