Monday, February 27, 2006
Honesty best policy for job searches, resumes
By DONNA CALLEA
Call it concocting, fabricating, fudging, distorting, omitting or stretching the truth.
But whatever it´s called, it´s risky to do it on a job application or resume.
"Never lie. Never," cautioned Beverly Harvey, a professional career coach and resume writer. Based in Pierson, Harvey´s clients include a former Enron executive who spent a year in jail, and the downsized chief information officer of a major company who´s never been to college.
Past problems or lack of credentials do present obstacles to getting hired, she acknowledged. But they can be overcome by emphasizing strengths and accomplishments, and demonstrating that "you can deliver enough value to a company´s bottom line," Harvey said. Those who lie to prospective employers, on the other hand, risk giving themselves "a black eye forever."
Whether a person is seeking an entry-level position or is at the top of his or her field, there´s a good chance the truth will be revealed, either through pre-employment background screening -- which is becoming increasingly common -- or in a very public way.
Last week Radio Shack´s chief executive David Edmondson resigned after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported he had no college degrees, even though he claimed, on his resume, to have two when he was hired by the Texas company in 1994.
Closer to home, John Redigan, head of the Association for Retarded Citizens of Volusia, resigned this month after public claims he made of being a Thunderbird pilot, prisoner of war and a Jacksonville Jaguars coach, were checked by The Daytona Beach News-Journal and found to be untrue.
Football fans will remember that University of Central Florida coach George O´Leary was forced to resign from his job at the University of Notre Dame a few years ago, because he lied about his educational credentials on his resume.
"If you have something in your past, be honest," stressed Sandie MacGowan, owner of MacData Advantage, an Ormond Beach research firm that does pre-employment background screening for businesses and staffing agencies locally and statewide. Companies want to protect themselves from potential lawsuits or other problems that can result from unknowingly hiring people with questionable histories, she noted. And although "mistakes don´t define us," it´s important to come clean from the onset, MacGowan said.
"It´s only a matter of time before the truth is found out," agreed Ashley Flannery, staffing manager for Vision H.R., a Daytona Beach company that provides human resources services for companies in several states.
Criminal-record checks are a standard requirement for many businesses. Depending on the position to be filled and the company´s policies, previous employment and educational and other credentials may also be checked. If the new hire will be handling money or writing checks, their credit history, agreed to by the applicant, may also be checked.
"It´s only fair to the applicant to know what information is being pulled up on them," MacGowan said.
If "unfavorable information" is discovered that the applicant claims is incorrect, MacData will work with them to set the record straight, she said.
News-Journal news services contributed to this story.