update from the reader whose assistant was using her title on LinkedIn

Remember the reader whose assistant was using her title on LinkedIn? Here’s the update:

In a strange turn of events, Management changed hands shortly after I arrived (Corporate Restructure) and the HR Assistant position was eliminated.

Unfortunately for this young man, he made the mistake of having my position listed on his resume and who do you think the prospective new employer called to verify his previous employment with?

Karma gets them every time!

{ 31 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    It boggles my mind why this guy would think he wouldn’t get caught doing this! Who did he think would be called to confirm it?

    If you were going to lie like this, why not just be a complete scumbag and put down the incorrect information like that of an equally scumbaggy friend claiming to be the previous supervisor…

    I’m not advocating being unethical like this, but at least if you’re going to do it, why not make an attempt to get away with it more?

    1. Laura*

      I think a lot of people considering it not outright lying, just a little “stretching” of the truth. They did work at Company X, held a position *similar* to the title they have on their resume, and worked hard enough to have been promoted to supervisor (or whatever role), so why not? I’ve had to talk friends out of doing something similar. People don’t think companies are going to check references or that anyone will ever notice that they are masquerading under a different title. If the OP’s former employee’s prospective employer had not been thorough, he could have gotten away with it.

        1. Interviewer*

          Okay, I had to go search out that bit of bad advice, just to see it online for myself. Oh, the horror.

          1. Joey*

            This is why she remains relevant. Sort of like Ann Coulter, their views are so out there they’re not taken seriously and they become entertainment. It’s the same reason why you rubberneck- you know it’s irrelevant to you, but you still slow down.

        2. Anonymous*

          And it’s ridiculous advice like that why Penelope Trunk has been banished from my bloglist while Ask A Manager is one of the first I read every day, zealously.

          1. Another Reader*

            “And it’s ridiculous advice like that why Penelope Trunk has been banished from my bloglist while Ask A Manager is one of the first I read every day, zealously.”


        3. Laura*

          I honestly do not understand why people still read her stuff for career advice. Everything she gives seems to fly in the face of common sense.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I want her to stop giving career advice and just write about the other stuff she writes about, which I think she does very well. The career advice, though …

      1. AnonMouse*

        What about people who tweak the official name of their master’s degree? I know a classmate who writes that she has a “master’s in XYZ management”, when we have the exact same real degrees — it’s really a “master’s in library science, with a specialization in XYZ”. We didn’t learn ~management~ of XYZ at all!

        I know this is sort of vague, but it really irks me that she mis-represents what our degree actually is. It boggles me that employers take her word for it, when that degree doesn’t exist, and all the interviewers are people who HAVE our exact degree.

        Guess I’m nitpicking. ;)

        1. Anne*

          I also have a MLS. This is definitely not nitpicking at all. I’d probably toss a resume over this. And I’ve had my transcripts required by employers so if I had fudged my degree, I would have been caught.

          There are only so many MLS programs and really hiring managers should be able to spot this. Most of your applicants are going to come from the same program anyway so it would stick out if the degree was called something different on every resume. Bottom line is there are so many candidates for any library gig that you don’t want to get eliminated over something like this.

          Here’s what it says on my resume:
          Master of Library and Information Science (2008)
Emphasis: Public Library Services to Children and Young Adults
          Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

      2. Piper*

        What about if you have a really ridiculous title that no one in the industry understands but the company you work for? I’ve actually had two completely ridiculous titles and people always seem confused by them , so I end up explaining, well my title was “Creative Artist” but I really was a graphic designer (just examples, not my actual titles/job). I try to get around this by putting what the rest of the industry calls the job in parenthesis after my actual title, then explaining it in a one-liner in my cover letter (“my actual job title was “x,” but in reality it was the job function of “y” and here’s what I accomplished,” blah, blah, blah).

        Is this okay? I never put a title that’s above my actual rank; it’s just there for clarity. And while we’re sort of discussing it why do employers feel the name to make up weird titles for people? Can’t we just call it what it’s recognized as in the industry?

          1. Anonymous*

            What do you think about a title that is absurdly long? By the time I left a company, I was WWW, XXX, YYY, and ZZZ Manager. It doesn’t fit/looks ridiculous on a resume, so I usually list it as XXX and ZZZ Manager (those being the more relevant).

        1. Joe*

          I have the problem of “this title doesn’t mean what you think it means” all the time, making my job sound very different than it really is. I live in NYC, where finance makes up a huge chunk of the white collar workforce, and in finance, the typical hierarchy looks something like Peon -> Vice President -> Senior Vice President -> Director -> Managing Director -> C-level. But at the non-profit I work for, our hierarchy is Peon -> Manager -> Director -> Managing Director -> Vice President -> Senior Vice President -> C-level. (And to complicate things, Managing Director is the lowest level position where you typically manage other people. Not Manager, no, that would make too much sense.) So when people see my job title is Managing Director, they assume I’ve got a large division under me, and focus on high-level concerns, where I really co-manage a team of 10 people, and focus on day-to-day delivery. When I had to update my resume at one point, I decided not to put my official title at all, and just put the descriptive title of what I do, which is Team Technical Lead. If I’m filling out a job application, I’ll put my title, because they might want to verify that, but for a resume, the descriptive title just makes more sense to me.

  2. Anonymous*

    Ahhh, that karma train is sweet when you call it around and it works! It might take a while, but it’s just gearing up for the right amount of kick ass!

    Yes, the karma train just recently came around after I called it.

  3. Kat*


    Karma…she is a

    Anyway here is a totally kind of related, but not really, but in a way is, story.

    My co-worker is the founder of a non-profit for inner city children. She had an intern/mentor that moved out of state. Well my co-worker recently did a google search of the non-profit name just to see what was out there and found the resume of this intern. On the resume the intern has listed 3 professional jobs she has NOT held with the non-profit from a period of time BEFORE the non-profit existed, until present (she’s been out of town and not associated with the non-profit for at least six months) i.e., Service Project Director, Student Technical Assistant (clearly a position she held while in college) and teacher assistant. The only title she ever had was intern/mentor, and her only job was showing up at the bi-weekly meetings to assist and mentor the children, and even with that, the parent of the child she was partnered with asked for a different mentor because she never spent time with said child. She lists each position out separately, with actual dates, and added duties…duties that she did NOT perform for this company, at all. Funny thing is, she actually landed a job, but my co-worker was never called to confirm employment. If she were, my co-worker would have been blindsided when asked to confirm her titles of Social Media Manager (she’s never once touched the website/facebook/twitter account of the NP),

    We think it’s quite hilarious and crazy that she actually had the nerve to do this, AND that her employer didn’t even bother to check out previous employer (fyi, she also used my co-worker as a reference, but again she was never called).

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She blogs at http://blog.penelopetrunk.com. She writes a mix of career advice and things about her personal life, which is … often troubled.

      Her career advice is often way off-base (women should get plastic surgery to succeed in their careers, don’t worry about burning bridges, etc.), probably because (a) she writes to draw traffic and therefore wants to say things that are counterintuitive and (b) she doesn’t have the credentials to be giving career advice (fired from a bunch of jobs, self-admittedly a bad manager, self-admittedly poor social skills).

      That said, she’s often a beautiful writer, aside from the bad advice, and I have a lot of admiration for some parts of what she does (just not all!).

  4. Anonymous Mouse*

    This has been a good discussion of the dramas that come about with Linkedin Profiles. Browsing through linkedin profiles, its amazing how dodgy profiles correlate with a dodgy colleague you worked with in the past. It is particularly galling how people inflate their job titles – when you worked with them and knew what their job was.

    Also, I have noticed a profile for a dishonest prior colleague who has backdated his start date with a company – in order to beef up his experience on his profile. Should I feel obliged to contact this company and let them know their staff member is fudging his CV, or do I just “let it go” !

    If anything, its a sign that the individual is stupid enough to think that job agencies in the future will not properly vet his CV – so I hope the karma will get him in the future.

    I had thought of reporting this to the company in question (who I formally worked for), and wondered whether I should feel professionally obliged to do so. After all, an individual that fudges their CV is probably dodgy in other ways – and it could be a sign of future misconduct and fraud.

    But I realise with a website like linkedin, the individual could easily claim that it wasn’t their profile and some0ne else posted a false profile to frame them – and then the reporter (me) would just look like I was being vindicitive.

    I realise the best thing is probably just to leave it.

  5. Dame Knowledge*

    Funny that I came across this article. My former secretary (who gave me a terrible time with insubordination) has listed herself on Linkedin with her correct job title AND MY JOB TITLE!

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