• Don’t Lie About Your Credentials

    August 15, 2007 by

    Once upon a time I worked for a start-up company in Austin, Texas. I no longer work there but the company made news recently by being acquired by a very large well-known financial services firm. With the company making big news everyone associated with the start-up is doing whatever they can to get media coverage and recognition for themselves. Hey, who can blame them?

    The firms’ two founders who are no longer employed by the start-up have started another company and this week I happened to read some information that was posted on their website. Actually the information I read was forwarded to me by another former employee who was shocked by what she read. What shocked her was the new “bios” the firms two founders have crafted for themselves because some portions of the bios are just not true.
    Specifically the founders (who are brothers) claim to have earned bachelors degrees from the University of Texas. We know that one of the brothers did not earn the degree he claims to have. The other interesting thing in these reinvented bios is that the brother who does actually have a college degree now claims to have attended medical school which we know he did not. When I joined the start-up this particular brother used to claim to be a “decorated former Marine”. Wonder if that is true or not?
    These guys aren’t too smart to lie about things that are easily checked out. (With that said I read one interview in American Banker which referred to the brothers as college graduates so I guess that fact checking must be out of fashion with journalists these days.)
    Don’t fabricate facts related to your background, your experience, or your credentials because someone can find out and you will be exposed as a liar. And companies don’t hire known liars. The two individuals that I refer to in this article just made a lot of money from the sale of their stock in this start-up so it’s possible they will never have to work for anyone again. Therefore, their lies may not cost them jobs. But enough people know the truth about their backgrounds that they look like idiots to those of us who are aware of their made-up credentials.
    Lying about your background simply shows that you lack integrity and, quite possibly, confidence. There are plenty of successful people in the world who didn’t attend college or who dropped out to pursue a career. For example Bill Gates,founder of Microsoft, and the actor Matt Damon both dropped out of Harvard while Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, dropped out of the University of Chicago. No one would accuse those guys of not being smart and successful in spite of not finishing their degrees.
    Personally, I think it’s impressive that the brothers that I used as the example in this article started a successful company without the benefit of a top-tier education and the contacts that often come with such a degree. I think their story is more impressive when you know that they created the company just by working hard and persevering. They have cheapened their own accomplishments by lying about their backgrounds.
    Be honest and be confident that if you work hard you can be very successful no matter what your credentials. You don’t need to make up stories to impress others. Anyone who might be impressed by the stories you create is probably smart enough to find out that you weren’t telling the truth. And then you look like a jackass to the very people you hoped to impress.
    Article by Liz Handlin and courtesy of Recruiting Blogswap a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry level jobs and other career opportunities

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