If You Ever Become a CEO, Make Sure Your Resume Is Flawless


The art of resume-writing is exaggeration; we are all taught to transform “filing” into “transferral of paper entities” and “job” into “duties and responsibilities.” Our listed activities and interests are always hobbies we dream of doing on our free time (“fly-fishing,” “biking up mountains,” etc.). And everyone knows you aren’t proficient in MS Excel because no one really is. They’re not lies – just simple abstractions to mete out a conversation come interview time.

That’s the Golden Rule of the Resume: do not lie. But Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson might not have gotten the memo about that and it’s going to cost him his job.
This morning, it was reported that Yahoo shareholder Daniel Loeb, a known activist hedge fund manager at Third Point who is currently in a settlement with the search engine website, discovered that Thompson’s resume had a teeny little flaw: his computer science degree from Stonehill College. The flaw: it didn’t exist. Turns out that Thompson only received an accounting degree from Stonehill; a point he forgot to mention on his resume. Oops.
Thompson became the CEO of Yahoo six months ago after leaving his old stomping grounds as the boss of PayPal, that service you use for anything eBay-related. He oversaw what many tech reporters are viewing as dark days for the website, with profits being cut in half in recent years as the Internet has shifted over to a Google-Facebook duopoly. Now, looks like he’ll be on the job hunt again as soon as Monday: the Times’ DealBook reported that the board of directors will announce his resignation as a matter of “personal reasons.”
However, Loeb didn’t do this simply for justice: Third Point owns 5.8% of the company as of now and is seeking to land some of their own influence on the future of Yahoo. The new interim head will be Ross Levinhson, the head of the company’s media wing.
But Thompson’s resignation teaches us something about the power of the resume. Whether you’re an entry level worker or a CEO, the little piece of paper reigns supreme. And if you’re going to break the Golden Rule, at least try to make it less vulnerable of a quick phone call to the Stonehill College archives.