What they say might not be what they did...
It was a complete fluke, running across this person's name in LinkedIn. This individual had just updated their profile as they had landed a job and a feature box popped up on the side of my home page. It was a name that I hadn't seen, nor thought about, in a very long time - a former employee from a time long ago and far away.
"I wonder what they've been up to?" I asked myself, and clicked on their profile.
This person worked for a good chunk of time for a major employer in their community. Prior to that, they worked for me when I was in a management position in another large organization.
You can probably tell that I'm being completely neutral on both the gender of the person and the names of the organizations; there is a reason.
I read through the LinkedIn job highlights until I got to the section that applied to when this individual worked for me. What I saw then shocked me.
While there were a few lines that bore a resemblance to this person's actual role, there were outright lies, exaggerations, and activities and achievements that are as far from the truth as you can possibly imagine. However, there it was for everyone to see, along with the logo of the organization.
"How could someone do this?" I wondered. Then I thought about it again.
Almost everyone who could refute any of the misstated deeds and accomplishments is gone from the organization. Time passes, and people move on to other things. Those who remain would have to look deep into a human resource file to ever conclude that someone is misrepresenting themselves. So, what does this individual stand to lose? Not much, in terms of increasing their employment potential, but everything, in terms of living with integrity. Except...
Yup. You called it. This person wasn't concerned with integrity back then either.
Take what you read online, or in a resume for that matter, with a grain of salt and a dash of curiosity. Do your due diligence and, insofar as much as it is possible, do some fact checking. If things don't add up or make sense, it's likely a signal that something might be amiss.