Hey buddy (best friend, cousin, uncle, neighbor, insert whatever name applies), I need a resume. Can I take a look at yours and get some ideas? We’re in the same career so I’m sure we do a lot of the same things. I’m really in a time crunch to apply for this job and don’t have time to write a resume from scratch can I use some of yours for mine? Whatever the reason, it is never a good idea to let someone “borrow” your resume. No matter how similar your careers are, a resume is a very personalized document that is specific to the user. There are several issues to consider if you find yourself in this situation.
If your resume is so generic that someone else could simply insert their name on the top and have it apply to them then you’ve got a big problem. In order for your resume to be at it’s most effective it should be specific to you and clearly capture your personal brand. If your resume is lacking those things then it is lacking the qualities that will set you apart as the candidate they want to interview.
If someone borrows your resume just to “get some ideas” you never really know if they are going to use it simply for that reason or if they are going to help themselves to parts or even the whole thing. If they would use your resume and pass it off as their own chances are they are going to be submitting it to career sites, LinkedIn, or other online resources. Now what if you’ve done that also? A quick search can turn up both resumes and leave a potential employer wondering which one or if either of them is authentic. You definitely don’t want employers questioning whether or not you copied your resume from someone.
Even if your best friend worked at the exact same job that you did it is essential that your resume has some particular selling points that are exclusive only to you. You want your resume to stand out among all the others so putting in some extra effort will go a long way. More than likely everyone applying for the same position is going to have a similar skill set and qualifications necessary to do the job; this is why you need to make every effort to identify your unique value and incorporate it into your resume so that you don’t blend in with everyone and this is where your personal brand comes into play.
Don’t do someone else’s work by offering up your resume. Chances are you put a lot of time and effort into creating your resume. It’s like when you were in school and someone wanted to copy your homework because they hadn’t taken the time to do it; don’t diminish the work you put into your resume by supporting someone else’s failure to put forth the effort.
If you are someone that is considering using a resume that belongs to someone else (whether someone you know or perhaps a resume you found online) I would strongly encourage you not to. This is a form of deception that you do not want following with you throughout your career, especially if you use inaccurate or false information. Even if the resume gets you an interview and you receive the job, you never know when you may be discovered and called out on it. If you are contemplating borrowing or lending a resume I would urge you to reconsider.
by Megan Koehler