x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Just tell the truth

Even after a distinguished career, a lie on you CV can come back to haunt you.

The curriculum vitae, that most basic tool of job-seekers everywhere, is not always as reliable as it should be. Many employers are sadly gullible about your impressive, hard-to-check past.

But beware: in an ever-growing number of cases, dodgy CVs have come back to damage the person making the claims. Even in midcareer, if it turns out that you seriously inflated your CV, you're at risk of being turfed out of that nice office, no matter what else you've accomplished.

Consider Scott Thompson: chief information officer of Barclays Global Investors, then executive VP for technology of a Visa subsidiary, then president and chief technology officer of PayPal, then CEO of Yahoo! - and then, with shocking suddenness, out of work.

His CV, it turns out, claims a university degree in accounting and computer science, but in fact the degree is in accounting only.

After such a career, what you learnt as an undergraduate hardly matters. But your business foes, internal or external, can detect a CV lie and start bellowing about the "character weakness" it shows, and when that happens you're done. That was Mr Thompson's fate.

The moral: just tell the truth.