Resume fudging, formally referred to as resume fraud, is the act of planting inaccurate or exaggerated information regarding one’s qualifications or experience on their resume. This has proven to be done in an array of forms --whether that be modifying certain dates, incorrectly stating age, exaggerating skills, misrepresenting the position they held in a particular firm and even lying about the degrees and diplomas they hold.
Speaking relative to the business industry in which we work, one that is constantly advancing and modernizing, it is an unfair reality that many of these fabrications frequently manage to slip through regulations placed by firms and benefit these deceitful, or even in some cases, ignorant individuals. However, various high-level executives for some of the largest companies in the world, have indeed been caught presenting inaccurate information on their resume. For instance, a former vice president of corporate communications for Walmart had to resign from the firm after it was revealed that he had not received his Bachelor's Degree. It was stated on his resume that he had earned his BA. However, during the process of being promoted to senior vice president, it was uncovered that he had not earned enough credits to conclude his coursework. Thus, the gentleman in question had unknowingly stated that he had a degree which he had in fact not received. After having resigned from his position and exited the firm, he immediately contacted the university and received his degree nearly 23 years after joining the university. It is evident that as mentioned previously, resume fraud can immorally lead to certain individuals working at high ranking positions as a result of them claiming they hold seemingly fictional skills and qualifications.
The situation had caused a plethora of repercussions, not only for professional but also for the firm he previously represented. As a result, the executive in question saw his reputation deteriorate as others not only saw his acts as extremely unethical but also undermining to those who have genuine accomplishments and capabilities to work in similar high ranking positions.
Although such executives are required to resign from their positions, their actions have shed light onto the other possible, yet harsh consequences of committing resume fraud. Even in today's world, there is a very thin line between what is considered a truth and a lie and what is acceptable and unacceptable. This thin line is quite varied depending on who you ask and this happens to be what makes resume fraud such a contentious topic that is open to widespread debate. Nevertheless, the consequences of this offense are absolute and irreversible. Even though damaging one's reputation can lead to long-term career and personal related issues, but in the grand scheme of things, this is perhaps one of the situation’s tamest ramifications. As the severity of the situation increases, so does the punishment that occurs as a result of it. Ranging in extremity from simply being discharged from the firm all the way to being prosecuted for criminal activity by the government, meaning that resume fraud can hold multiple outcomes for the culprit. Something that is truly disheartening about this issue is that an otherwise hardworking and honest person can face these penalties as a result of an innocent mistake they made decades ago, however small and unintentional it may be.
The culprits of resume fraud are not the only ones who have to face ramifications because as mentioned before, the firms which are involved in the situation also have consequences of their own to encounter. After an instance of resume fraud is revealed, the firm that employed the culprit is cast under criticism and controversy. Furthermore, the firm is required to allocate an immense amount of time and manpower in order to hire a replacement of an evidently high ranking position. Additionally, firms could be met with a colossal amount of backlash from individuals or groups who believe that the firm did not allocate enough time regulating and conducting thorough background and reference checks. Therefore, not only does the reputation of the culprit stagnate, but so does the firm’s.
Firms that are looking to employ C-Suite level executives now have the ability to utilize certain advancements in technology and the large network of information available in order to conduct more frequent and thorough background checks. Companies should also begin cross-referencing more routinely with schools and other firms to ensure that the information they have on their executives has not been forged. If firms begin to make use of these strategies, it could lead to a drop in cases where high ranking employees are hired with falsified information on their resumes.
In conclusion, the information that has been fabricated is not what ultimately matters, but rather the fact that resume fraud on any level is an unethical and immoral act of cowardice. In today’s cutthroat environment, integrity should be a hallmark for emerging leaders. The abandonment of that quality is what separates trivial leadership from exceptional and impactful pioneers.