That biography of yours.
If you are thinking about becoming a candidate for public office, or if you have made the decision to run, scour your biography at the get go, make sure it is dead accurate and that nothing in it can be subjected to challenge.
Why? Your opponent, if he or she is smart, will examine you from head to toe. And if your opponent finds you claiming a degree you have not earned, or an honor you did not receive, or a position you never held, you are in for a very bad day when that information lands in the lap of a reporter.
I post this rather obvious and straightforward counsel because it is a mistake that even seasoned professionals make and one that has felled the careers of long serving office holders. (My favorite is the one about a long serving KY State Senator who for years claimed he had earned two degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy. No one ever bothered to check that little factoid on his resume until he ran for Congress. Turns out he was kicked out of the Naval Academy after his first semester and had never earned either of the degrees he claimed. He lost the election. Surprise. Surprise.)
Resist the temptation to exaggerate your accomplishments, or to embellish that which you may have done. (In 2010, a young candidate for public office in NY’s Hudson Valley claimed to have been a high-ranking pentagon official during the Iraq War. A Google search revealed her tweets to a one time boyfriend, in which she described the position as an unpaid internship. Her campaign crashed before she got to the starting gate.)
Have friends and colleagues ready to verify any claim that you make in your biography, for even if what you say is true, your opponent may suggest that it is not, and on a day when you are busy on the campaign trail, it is a distraction to find the friend who will verify that you served in the soup kitchen you claimed, or that you really received the Lion’s Club award for meritorious service in 1997, or that you really did volunteer and assist in organizing the local science fair.
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