Overheard on CNN.com: So, yeah, about that bachelor's degree thing ...
Yahoo removed all references to CEO Scott Thompson's degree from his biography on its website.
May 7th, 2012
07:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: So, yeah, about that bachelor's degree thing ...

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson does not have a bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science. Rather, he has a bachelor of science degree in business administration, with a major in accounting. The discovery that his resume was fudged a little has sparked a discussion among our writers and readers about the act of resume embellishment and what it says about a person.

Résumé padding: inconsequential or inexcusable?

One reader says some sins are of omission.

jt99: "I have never padded my resume, but I did not include one item, which is on my resume now. I am a veteran, serving from 1968 to 1972. I the '70s and '80s, being an honorably discharged veteran was not viewed as a positive. I never denied my service during that time period, but I didn't make it a resume line item. I won't go into the issue any further."

This person feels they got the raw end of the stick.

Morgansher: "I never once padded my resume. It was unthinkable and unconscionable, but I am bitter about having lost out twice to people who lied on their resumes (for different jobs) and got the jobs I'd been applying for. The only consolation was learning years later that one of the people hired had been hiding a criminal record and that they embezzled nearly $350,000 before getting caught."

Maybe Thompson was just management material.

Steven Arnold: "The most sought-after skill in management is the ability to cover up for your boss, or if it comes to it, fall on your sword. That is the key to corporate advancement."

basketcase87: "No, the key to corporate advancement is to AVOID having to fall on your sword, and have the guy next to you do it instead. The guy who falls on his sword isn't getting any advancement."

But not everybody does.

notmyfirstnamechoice: "I'm proud to say that nothing on my resume is a lie or even slightly exaggerated."

Watch out for those Bahamas neurosurgeons.

shadow0529: "Well yes, I have as a matter of fact. I put down that I went to college for 12 years for neuro surgery and listed a bunch of fake hospital jobs ... and I just landed a great job in the Bahamas as a chief neuro surgeon. Only issue is that I studied refreigerator repair in tech school. But, hey, how hard could this be."

It's not just employees who lie.

NC2: "What about employers who lie? I know some of them, who promise all kinds of things during the interview, but never follow through. But, I guess no one can hold them accountable."

RickDkciR: "Yes, you can hold them accountable. Quit! They'll cut the ties if you lie and you can do the same if they lie."


oonster: "No wonder I am not getting ahead ... I don't lie on my resume. And from personal knowledge only one job I know of actually checked out my past employers, my education and references. Most HR people are lazy not to mention rather use a temp firm to fill jobs. Plus, it always make me laugh that an interview let alone several are required before they accept someone. You didn't hire the best candidate just the one who acts the best."

From an employer's standpoint, says this reader, it depends.

Justin Hamaker: "As an employer and someone who handles the hiring and firing of employees, I see most pre-employment lies as grounds for terminating an employee if grounds are needed. But unless the lie is substantial, I'm more concerned about the person's job performance. For example, a receptionist referring to her position as an administrative assistant would not be a significant issue for me. But omitting a felony conviction or a recent job termination would be significant."

Does the degree matter? The reader wasn't sure.

Justin Hamaker: "I think one of the factors causing people to pad their education is that so many companies put a priority on a degree without regard to experience. The last time I was in the job market, I was amazed at how many positions would consider someone with a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, but wouldn't even consider an otherwise qualified candidate without a degree. Personally, I see a resume as a highlight reel. As long as the information is truthful, I have no expectation that a resume would include any negative or unflattering information. I would view lying on an application much more seriously than padding a resume."

But it's hard to get away with nowadays.

iceman777: "In this computer, Twitter, Facebook and Google age it's very difficult to pad your resume. With a few clicks of a mouse you can find out almost anything about someone. On the other hand a resume is basically used to get an interview. If is not considered a legal binding document unless you signed it. Once you actually fill out and sign a job application then it becomes binding especially if you lie on the application or if through investigation it matches your resume, then you are SOL. Keep your resumes honest and be sure when fill out a job application that they match.

Similar, but different.

Smalrus™: "I'm doing a PhD in Business Administration with a major in Marketing. But every person in the field calls it a PhD in Marketing. It's a distinction without a difference, and that's exactly what Thompson's snafu is."

Guest: " ... no, not quite!"

Let your wallet do the walking and talking.

stevetundra: "I sold all my shares of Yahoo before the 4 p.m. close today!!!! I think others should do likewise and send a message to those at the top!!"

Fibbing is bad.

OrangeChief: "Lying about education on a resume should be considered criminal. There are so many people out there who worked hard and sacrificed to obtain a college education that it is inexcusable for someone to blatantly lie about what they didn’t accomplish. If you think you need a degree that bad, there is nothing stopping you from re-enrolling in college."

Does it matter if that fruit from the poisoned tree was good or not?

Denman838: "I don't care what job you're applying for; get caught lying on a resume, even years later, and you're out the door. AND the company ought to be able to sue you for fraud. This is real simple: If you cheat and lie to get something, everything that comes afterward is founded on that lie. And you more than likely screwed someone else over who wasn't lying and was probably the better candidate."

hostrauser: "Fine, but by that "fruit of the poisonous tree" rationale, any BENEFITS the company gained by having him as an employee should be rejected too. Like, say, all profits he directly contributed to should be returned as a dividend payment to the stockholders. I doubt companies are going to jump all over that, but to not do so would simply be cherry-picking your ethics standards. Unless you're arguing that it's okay for a corporation to profit by an employee's fraud, but not the employee himself."

Occasionally, you'll see a red flag or two.

sammy99999: "We suspected a guy here one time after it became apparent he had no idea what he was doing, and asked for an actual copy of his college diploma. He gave us a piece of paper from a fictitious school that said "Batchelor of Science" across the top. As in Batch of cookies."

Yahoo, shmahoo.

Phil: "No one with any amount of internet savvy uses Yahoo anyway. So the point is moot."

senCybil1: "Which by itself should be sufficient evidence of where the CEO is driving the company with his lack of a real (computer science) degree."

Do not anger the programmers.

Tr1Xen: "I'll bet some of the programmers who are several ranks beneath him on the corporate ladder aren't too happy about his fudging a CS degree that many of them worked their butts off for."

Just remember to stay flexible.

MuddyMama: "Miss America is allowed to pad her bra but not have implants. Thus bend the rules but don't break'em. :P"

Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Business • Jobs • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. YUPP

    Something tells me that CNN is just trolling for ideas so they can leave and work elsewhere. Get lost, ya bums!

    May 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    I wonder if Bill Gates fudged on his degree?

    May 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • max33333445555

      no degree. he left school to start a business

      May 8, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jj

    Ide lie too of I was stupid enough to get sixty thousand dollars in debt with student loans...

    May 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. held back

    @ Jj, of I was stupid enough Ide bye a six dollar book on grammer.

    May 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rvwrb

    I have never padded my resume nor embellished it in any fashion in my nearly 40 years of experience. Having spent a lot of time on a Board of Directors, I believe it would be prudent for a Board to ask its CEO for a resignation because of the misrepresentation – simply because if he or she misrepresents themselves, what is the likelihood of them misrepresenting something to do with the company? – especially to the financial community!!

    It doesn't matter how experienced that individual is – continued employment puts the shareholders and the Board at risk.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. not holding back

    @Jj my MOTHER!! lived every day with two out of her five boys in COMBAT! in the middle east!
    The one that was lucky enough to get a college education is paying his loan off..you punk a$$!!!

    May 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sunday is Mother's Day

    Probably not a good Idea to bring up someone's mom... .

    May 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dazzle ©

    Hush troll!

    May 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    in my fields of expertise college educated people make themselves look stupid. i have literally had to make life size templates of designs made by engineers and show them in the real world why their designs wont work.(for example i had to draw a giant triangle on the ground and cut a small piece of cardboard to match. i then had to take that piece of cardboard and show the egghead that the bumper of an average car would be torn off by every access ramp in his multimillion dollar parking garage. a ramp has to be a minimum of 4 feet in lateral length for every foot of vertical elevation for a common car. you still wont get some cars up that ramp.) now my boss immediately finds me to ask me if the eggheads plans will work. did i mention i am a high school dropout?

    May 8, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. dazzle ©

    hamsta, that is a troll making those comments to you. Now will you please stop.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat (in a hat) ©


    May 8, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat) ©


    Memory was something you lost with age

    An application was for employment

    A program was a TV show

    A cursor used profanity

    A keyboard was a piano

    A web was a spider's home

    A virus was the flu

    A CD was a bank account

    A hard drive was a long trip on the road

    A mouse pad was where a mouse lived

    And if you had a 3 inch floppy ..

    ... you just hoped nobody ever found out!!

    May 8, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. dazzle ©

    To my troll and hamstas troll nice segue to open up the discussion for what you perceive is my line of work. I am NOT a shrink. Just because someone has an advanced degree in psychology doesn't mean they are an analyst. Somehow you seem to be threatened by that. Behave and I am going to bed.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. hamsta

    @ dazzle at least you know that was a troll. so i guess its a good thing we had that discussion already huh? by the way im stuck with this crappy phone without a qwerty keyboard and with limited options. but i guess my troll thinks that i cant use proper grammar and punctuation. sorry troll im not like you, mommy didnt give me a fancy computer to make my life easy.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ineedbeer

    Do what you have to do to get that job. Forget everything else. You need dollars? you running out of life savings?, need a job after 2 years of looking? Better do what you need to do, then. No one gets ahead by being totally & completely honest. Here's a tip, when trying to maximize how much money you'd get for a job offer, in the initial phases of the interview process, tell them the number you'd like to be making, regardless of how much you really make. (example: you make $50,000, but really should be/want to make 80,000. In the initial phase, verbalize that you were making $70,000). Then, once you get an offer and you are filling out paperwork, make sure to write down what it was you were ACTUALLY making, this way, you are safe.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • max33333445555

      what you make currently is not their business.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
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