Rewriting Your Own Story

Is your LinkedIn profile factual? Have you overstated certain accomplishments? Did you stretch the stated tenure at one job on your resumé so there would be no time gap between it and your next one? Have you ever constructed your own personal “creation myth?”

In the wake of allegations that Jack Dorsey didn’t invent Twitter all by himself (click HERE) and that Captain Phillips wasn’t quite the hero that the new movie presents him to be (click HERE), how important is it to be precise and accurate when telling your professional life story?

Although Scott “Dilbert” Adams writes about the value of failure in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal (click HERE for the link), you probably don’t want to play up your failures when telling your story. It’s okay to include your less than successful jobs on your resumé, but sharing details of your shortcomings is not advised.

This is not being deceptive; this is being prudent. As the old song goes, accentuate the positive.

Also, eliminate that which has no relevance to your current career path. In my case, people who look at my resumé or LinkedIn profile, may like to know that I have a lengthy background in St. Louis radio. But they likely don’t care about those months I moonlighted as a DJ in the bar at the Erie (PA) Ramada Inn.

Editing for length may require simplification of work duties. If you worked for a company for three years in the 90’s in several different positions, do you need to specify that you were in X position for seven months, Y position for nine months, etc.? Probably not, unless you went from the mail room to the C-suite.

In 2013 when online information can reveal such info as when you bought your house (and how much you paid for it), when your divorce became final, the outcome of your hearing at the courthouse and other vital details, fudging the story of your professional career is not a good idea. Even though companies don’t generally provide details of work performance, they may confirm work dates. And in specialized businesses with a small talent pool, information can often be obtained through back channels.

Bottom line: Even if you don’t tell your whole story, don’t mislead.


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