By Michael O’Donnell
Imagine this — what if someone could go on the Internet anywhere and hit some banner, or ad, and buy a degree and a resume for a few hundred dollars? The person never did any of the work, never pulled an “all-nighter,” never stressed out over finals and never even opened a book. All he did was click a button.
For Flagler College seniors anticipating graduation day, as each student is handed his diploma, as they head out into the work force, this is what all students must deal with.
Resume doctoring has steadily become a larger problem. Mike Worthington, co-founder of Resumedoctor.com, a company that sponsored a study that examined 1,000 resumes, found that 42 percent of those resumes had lies. The most common of these were broken down into three major areas that candidates were misrepresenting or stretching the truth in — education, dates of employment and job titles or overall duties.
Worthington, who was a guest on “The Situation,” hosted by Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, was asked whether he was shocked by this. “Well, I mean, I guess, when we first started this survey, I was thinking maybe 15 percent. But yes, basically, 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,” Worthington said.
The most recent and high profile case dealing with resume doctoring happened on the same day that the story aired on MSNBC. The chief executive of Radio Shack, Dave Edmondson, resigned on Feb. 27 because of inaccuracies on his resume, including claims he had received degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California, which moved in 1998 to
Oklahoma and renamed itself Heartland Baptist Bible College. And TIME Magazine reported in September they had uncovered “discrepancies in [former FEMA head Michael Brown’s] online legal profile and official bio” after he had resigned his post.
According to Paul Carpino, director of Career Services at Flagler College, resume doctoring may have serious consequences for job candidates. “Some job candidates tend to use powerful descriptive adjectives, such as ‘extensive production experience.’ This statement may be challenging to back up in an interview if the candidate only had one internship. Inconsistencies on a resume may prevent the candidate from landing an interview,” Carpino said.
There are mixed feelings on the issue among students on Flagler College’s campus on the issue of resume doctoring. Jeff Garrison, a senior at Flagler College who will receive his degree in communication with minors in advertising and graphic design, is concerned with the issue.
“Yes I am worried to know that I could be beaten out of a job because some other person is lying on their resume. It scares me and makes me very frustrated. I have worked hard to achieve the things and skills that I put on my resume,” Garrison said.
Nicole Pease, a senior who will receive her degree in accounting and business administration with a minor in economics, was not concerned in the least when it came to resume doctoring. “I am not worried about this trend at all. A thorough employer would do background checks to make sure that what I or anyone else reports on their resume is true. If an employer does not spend the time to do that, a small thing, than they do not care to know me as a person, and are therefore not worth my time working for them,” Pease said.
Has resume doctoring reached epidemic proportions? Yes. Do people get away with it? Yes. Is it worth it? Probably not. If someone got a higher-paying job on the basis of misrepresentations on his resume, he could be fired or even sued for fraud. Experts recommend being honest and selling legitimate skills as hard as one can because this is what potential employers want to see.
In the end, a job hunter might be surprised at how far sincerity and hard work will take them.