EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Sad to say, a lie is a lie is a lie. Some would also argue that the withholding of important information is also a lie. I believe this to be the truth and you probably do too.

One would have to wonder then why those of us of the accounting profession who pride ourselves on “no surprises” and never telling a lie, feel the need not to show college graduation dates, and if we are really old, some of our first jobs.

I would have to ask those who do these things if they would ever hire someone they thought was hiding something about their background. I tend to think not.

If you are telling a little white lie or withholding what is considered to be important information about your work history to get an interview, am I to assume that you would do the same to get ahead when you are working for the firm that would like to hire you?

So, how does one get an interview if it is their belief that they are always subjected to some form of age discrimination?

Well, I would suggest that the information needs to be there, but you don’t have to go on at length about it. It is sort of like the fine print in a contract. You can squint your eyes and read it if you like, but if it is there and if you sign it anyway, the assumption is that you took the time to read it. True or not, no one can complain.

In the case of graduation dates for degrees earned, I like to see the format:

Masters of Business Administration, Finance, New York University, 1974

In this format, the most important information comes first, and the least important comes last. Chances are, since it wasn’t omitted and most people who are old omit it, I may initially skip over it in the process of deciding whether or not to closely read your resume. Who knows, I may not even get back to it.

As far as early jobs are concerned, the phrase I see frequently is something like: “several local CPA firms” or “several well known manufacturing firms.” Why is it the person hasn’t just told me? What exactly is it they are trying to hide? Frankly, those who are seeking new employees don’t have time for guessing games. There are 200 resumes or more in the pile and no one has the time for a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

A simple list of employers is all that is needed:

1973-81 CBS, Inc.
CBS College Publishing/Holt, Rinehart & Winston (1977-81)
Director, Financial Planning & Administration
CBS Radio Division (1976)
Manager, Financial Planning
CBS Records Division (1975)
Manager, Capital Budgeting & Cash Forecasting
CBS Corporate (1973-74)
Senior Financial Analyst
1971-73 B. Altman & Company
Internal Auditor

Notice there are no accomplishments listed. It is just a simple list and the point of presenting it is the early rapid career progression it demonstrates. No white lies. No hidden facts.

Those with differing opinions are welcome to write in as always. (How could I stop you?) It is the diversity of opinion on these issues that makes my life so exciting. Please title your response “Little white lies” and send it to Leads@TheFENG.org for posting in our “Notes from Members” section.

Regards, Matt

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