Don't give away the goods!

Client after client tells us how friends or fellow colleagues in transition ask for copies of their resume. Flattering, right? Well, that depends on what the other person is planning to do with your content. A couple of times a year we get a new client and the resume they arrive with looks remarkably like something we've written for someone else.

Invariably, they've picked and pulled pieces of their resume together from other resumes. Was there malice and forethought in their unintentional plagiarism? Usually not; rather the candidate saw something in your resume they liked and thought, "Hey, I can copy that idea, that accomplishment or that material to my professional history and it will make me look good." Sometimes, the work that comes back to us under some else's name is an outright forgery. The problem is usually that whatever was copied and pasted doesn't match the "voice" of the document and sound credible with the rest of their experience. Sometimes the typing doesn't even match!

The takeaway: Share your hard-earned resume selectively. It does you no good to have your content repurposed on someone else's document — it blows the credibility of both of you! If someone you know wants to see your new resume, show it to them in person. Don't send them the Word or PDF! You want to make sure you have control of your history and that you do not unintentionally disadvantage yourself in your job search. After all, your resume was a significant investment in time, effort and money. Don't give away the goods!

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