Monday, September 22, 2014

8 Famous Resume Lies & Tips to Help You Keep Your Resume Clean




Have You Heard of these 8 Famous 
Resume Lies?



Robert Irvine ~ Food Network host of “Dinner Impossible

In 2008, Robert Irvine was caught embellishing his work history and lost his television show, “Dinner Impossible”.  While Irvine correctly listed that he worked for the White House and Britain’s Royal Family; he did not create Princess Diana’s wedding cake, cook White House Dinners, and he never knighted by the queen.

Despite Irvine’s very public fallout, he was invited back to the Food Network in 2009 and currently hosts his own show.  However, the embarrassment of being caught in his lies lingers.




Joe Biden ~ Vice President

In 1988, current Vice President Joe Biden ran for president.  During his campaign, it was discovered he lied about attending law school on a full scholarship (he had only a partial scholarship) and about graduating in the top half of his class (he was 76th out of 85). When the truth came out, Biden had to abandon his presidential bid.




Marilee Jones ~ former dean at MIT

Jones was employed by MIT for 28 years before it was discovered that she not only hadn’t earned the master’s degree listed on her resume, she hadn’t received any college degree at all.

Upon resigning in 2007, Jones stated that after getting the job with MIT, she “did not have the courage to correct” her resume.




George O’Leary ~ Notre Dame Football Head Coach

Before being hired by the university, O’Leary claimed he had earned a Master’s degree in Education from New York University and that he played college football for 3 years at the University of New Hampshire.  

In reality, O’Leary did attend NYU in the 7o’s, but never received a degree.  And as far as his starting football career for New Hampshire?  O’Leary never even played in one game.

His career at Notre Dame lasted 5 days when he was forced to resign after the truth was found out.




Adam Wheeler ~ former Harvard student

Wheeler’s entire academic career was a lie.  He fabricated his education history with the sole purpose of getting into Harvard.  

In his application to Harvard, Wheeler claimed he was transferring from MIT.   In reality, he was a former student at Bowdoin College, where he was suspended for “academic dishonesty”.

After being accepted into Harvard, Wheeler plagiarized essays and research proposals that earned him $40,000 in grants and prizes.

Surprisingly, Wheeler was only found out when he applied for the Rhodes and Fullbright scholarships in his senior year at Harvard.

Wheeler pleaded guilty to 20 varied felonies and misdemeanors including identity fraud and larceny.  He was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $45,806 to the university.




Brian Valery ~ Impersonating a Lawyer

Valery was a paralegal at a Connecticut law firm.  While employed there, he told his employers that he attended night classes and passed the state bar in 2004.  He worked for two years as a lawyer before the deception was discovered.  

In 2008, Valery was sentenced to $225,000 in restitution to his former firm and community service.




Laura Callahan ~ former Homeland Security Deputy Chief Information Officer

Callahan worked for the Department of Homeland Security in one of the most important IT positions in the country.  Her job entailed managing the databases containing vast information on our nation’s terrorists.

Before gaining this position, Callahan had held a similar one with the Department of Labor.

She stated a Ph.D in computer science along with multiple other degrees that made others consider her an expert in her field....or did she?

In 2003, it was discovered that Callahan's Ph.D., and actually all three of her listed degrees, had been purchased from Hamilton University, an online diploma mill.  Callahan had even had them all back dated to make it seem as if she earned them at the right times in her career.

Callahan resigned in 2004, but was never charged with any crime.




David Tovar ~ V.P. of Communications for Walmart

Tovar claimed a B.A. degree from the University of Delaware in 1996.  He was hired by Walmart in 2006 and became its lead spokesman on many high-profile issues.

The truth is that Tovar never really earned that degree.  Despite, according to him, walking in the graduation ceremony, months later the university informed Tovar that he was actually a few credits short.

By that time , Tovar explained that he had already gotten a job and decided not to go back to finish his credits.  

However, when Tovar was being evaluated for a promotion to Senior V.P., the decades old lie was discovered.  Tovar has resigned and will leave Walmart by the end of September, 2014.


As you can see, resumes lies can come back to haunt you, even long-ago ones!


And while these are examples of what can happen when “big leaguers” lie, there are many “common" resume lies that will get you in hot water:

  1. Education - claiming an unearned degree, raising grade point average, faking Credentials, Certifications and Licenses
  2. Employment - listing better job titles and responsibilities, omitting a past employment to cover being fired,  fudging dates of employment, or listing “Self-Employed” (usually to cover periods of unemployment).
  3. Salary - Citing an inflated salary 
  4. Fraudulent References - having friends serve as professional references or hiring a company to do it.




The best thing you can do is to make sure your resume is clean from the beginning.



But what if you have already fabricated information?  What should you do?


In the second part of this series, you will find steps you can follow to help.

See You Then!


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