The gnashing of teeth and tearing of garments over Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s computer science degree that never was raises an important point: Make sure your work and education background is correct and verifiable wherever and however it may appear -- whether it’s on your official resume, LinkedIn profile or your bio on a blog post.
Thompson, hired by the struggling Yahoo in January, has been claiming to have the degree on various company bios for years – not to mention in a recent SEC filing -- according to Silicon Valley’s San Jose Mercury News. Problem is, he doesn’t have the degree, Mercury News reports, a fact that Yahoo investor Daniel Loeb, who uncovered the misstatement, says undermines Thompson’s credibility and makes him look like a liar (information about Thompson’s education is now conspicuously absent from his Yahoo profile).
Yahoo has tried to squelch the whole thing by calling it “an inadvertent error.” But the outraged denizens of Silicon Valley, along with many in the business press, aren’t buying that – they want to see Thompson, formerly president of PayPal, booted from his post.
The hullabaloo over Thompson’s phantom degree illustrates the importance of total transparency and consistency across all platforms when talking about your experience, education and accolades, says Heidi Golledge, co-founder and CEO of CareerBliss.
“I have seen plenty of great candidates miss out on jobs because they miscommunicated some aspect of their professional background,” Golledge say. “These days it is just so easy for employers to hop online and double check the info on your resume – everything needs to match or you will end up losing credibility.”
Your LinkedIn profile, for instance, can make or break your chance your get a job, Golledge says.
“It may seem harmless enough to fudge a few facts on your LinkedIn profile to make yourself sound a bit more impressive, but do not do it. There is a good chanced it will come back to bite you,” Golledge warns.
The bottom line, Golledge says, is to make sure everything is accurate.
“Just be honest. It is as simple as that,” she advises. “By all means, toot your own horn and highlight how great you are, but only when it is the truth. If you would not put it on your resume, do not put it on your LinkedIn profile – or anywhere else online.”