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ExPRessions :: Personal Branding :: Lying on LinkedIn

Lying on LinkedIn

June 28, 2010 11:26 am

I was shocked this morning when I was referred to someone’s LinkedIn page that stated this person worked on a particular project. Since I also was involved on this project, I knew the truth. This person did not actually do what was claimed on LinkedIn.

Lying on LinkedIn is a bad idea. If you elaborate on your resume and cover letter, only the employers you apply with will see it (still, it’s a bad idea). But, LinkedIn is open to not only employers, but also previous coworkers.

Someone once tried to tell me that your resume experience is all about how you spin it. You should make the best of each and every experience, even if it does not relate to PR. But, you should not blatantly lie.

As a young professional, how do you make your experiences look great? Should you list projects, such as events, that you did not contribute much to (or had just a minorĀ involvement)?

As an employer, how do you combat inaccurate claims?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: […]

  2. This is a big deal. I don’t think people realize how big but over selling your experience/accomplishments can do great damage to your rep. On my LinkedIn page and on my resume, I try to combat this by saying group projects were “with a team” or commenting only on the part of the project I had control over.

    Better safe than sorry on this one. Good post Rachel!

  3. What’s the point…? I mean sure, some people are at a point where they can convince themselves that things actually happened and for them I show sympathy. But all others, I revert back to a line by Mark Twain:

    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything…

    One lie will result in 20 more… You’re sure to get caught at #21

  4. Evan: That’s a great point on combating the issue. I think sometimes its good to look at your portfolio and say to yourself, “What did I personally do here?”

    Ross: Great point! And, once you get caught lying, it’s really tough to recover your reputation.

  5. I love this post, Rachel!! I, too, have seen LinkedIn profiles and resumes that have taken credit for things they didn’t do — including my work. It’s not a fun experience to look at someone’s profile and see all of your hard work and effort attributed to someone else.

    I agree with Evan’s great advice about only taking credit for your part of a project, or mentioning the team. Just be honest, and take credit where you deserve it.

    Furthermore, I include results that I, specifically, accomplished. Results, results, results! More than likely, the person taking credit for the work they didn’t do can’t post these specifics, so the more information you provide, the more legitimate your claim (and the less likely it is to be stolen by someone else).

    I also recommend slyly mentioning to the person that you caught them red-handed. They may not change the claim, but if they know that you know, and that you have the capability of exposing them, they might re-think doing something similar again.

  6. Jeana,

    I like your suggestions. Results are really important, but saying you were able to get 400,000 media impressions on a project you simply sat in a meeting on would obviously be wrong. Thanks for the comment!

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Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.