Sunday, August 08, 2010

SOUND OFF: HOW DUMB IS YOUR RESUME?

Of the readers who responded to an unscientific poll on my column's blog, 56 percent believe that it's OK to omit relevant experience from your resume if you believe that the omission might help you secure a job, while 44 percent consider it wrong to leave off advanced degrees or job experience for tactical reasons.

"As long as the information that is presented is accurate and the information that is left off wouldn't be damning - say a criminal record, for instance - yes, it is completely ethical to leave off information so as to better position your chances of landing the job," writes Bill Jacobson of Cypress, Calif.

"I don't see any ethical reason to include every piece of information on a resume," agrees Michael Buller of Boston, "as long as the omission doesn't create a false picture."

Charlie Seng, of Lancaster, S.C., disagrees.

"It's always best to be completely forthcoming in a job application," Seng writes. "Leaving out what you consider `enough' to get your foot in the door may later be treated by your boss as your having been dishonest to get the job."

"Being seriously overqualified for a job should not be a deterrent to applying for what's available," Patricia Selk writes. "If an employer already has another candidate in mind, or if there's an `I'm better than you' attitude that goes along with your degree(s), it won't matter what is or isn't on your resume."

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 630 Eighth Ave., 5th floor, New York, N.Y. 10018.

c.2010 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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