Saturday, August 06, 2005

Resumes, Mail Order Degrees, and Integrity

I once had a boss who suspected everyone of cheating on expense accounts. This was back in the day before everyone issued corporate credit cards, and anyone making a trip would receive a cash advance from the company to finance the trip. Most folks would take the check to the bank to cash it and then buy travelers' checks. My boss, though, was not a travelers' check guy, and thought that anyone that put the fee for travelers' checks (a couple of dollars at most) on their expense account had to be cheating.

Someone said in response to those charges, "My integrity is worth too much to me to trade it for a few dollars I might get for cheating on an expense account." I think this sentiment also applies to ways one might lie to get a job.

We're all familiar with high profile cases of people who have lied on their resumes or bought mail order diplomas in order to look better when applying for jobs. These are blatant cases of individuals trading their integrity in hopes of gaining financial reward. The only explanation for their behavior is that they must not value their integrity very highly.

So how much do you value your integrity?
  • Would you trade it for a few dollars on an expense account?
  • How about for a few hundred dollars on your tax return?
  • How about trading your integrity for a promotion or a new job?
A couple of thoughts if you're sometimes tempted to embellish your resume or add a mail order degree:

1. Your integrity is much more valuable than any job you might get by doing so. Your integrity defines who you are.

2. Your chances of getting caught are actually pretty high. Then you'll either not get the job, or if you get it, you'll be fired. You offer resumes and diplomas as proof of your qualifications. Employers nearly always take steps to verify that these are true and accurate. False information provided in the employment application process is always grounds for dismissal. No one wants to have someone work for them whose integrity has been demonstrated to be flawed.

So, when preparing your resume, do tailor it to highlight your strengths and experience that offer proof that you can do the job that the employer needs done. Don't, however, ever succumb to the temptation to shade the truth or outright lie in an attempt to make yourself look more attractive to an employer.

Your integrity is worth to much to trade for anything, even a job.

Jim Hughes is a Christian Life Coach helping clients make successful career changes, including retirement. To learn more about how coaching might benefit your career change or to contact Jim, visit Mapmaker Coaching.


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