When you’re in a time crunch and need a resume quickly or are struggling to get onto paper exactly what it is you do it may be tempting to go the easy route and simply copy a resume sample you find elsewhere – maybe online, in a book, or a friend’s resume. However, this is never a good idea and won’t do anything to help you stand out from the crowd.
In all honesty, the resume samples that I’ve viewed online and in resume books have much to be desired. They are usually generic, with outdated formatting and content that is lacking the necessary qualities needed to capture your personal brand. By copying a sample resume you are essentially labeling yourself as a cookie cutter candidate with nothing special to offer. If you want to rise to the top and stand out among all the other candidates the last thing you want to do is use a resume, or borrow from a resume that isn’t completely you.
The most blatant misuse of a resume sample would be inserting your name at the top and leaving the content as is. This is so lazy, not to mention deceitful. Plain and simple you are lying about who you are, what you’ve done, and what you can do. You might think that no one would be stupid enough to do this but you would be surprised. Even if you would somehow manage to get hired using a resume that misrepresents you, there is no guarantee that you wouldn’t be found out eventually. Why risk tarnishing your reputation? In fact, just recently the CEO at Yahoo was fired because it was discovered that his resume contained inacurracies.
When you are creating your resume it is perfectly okay to view samples that apply to your industry, that’s why they are there, but you should be using these examples as a resource and not as a cheat sheet. If you’re looking for a great format to make your resume stand out by all means take a look at what’s out there. It would also be okay to look at sample resumes to find industry specific keywords or a more creative way to say skilled at or responsible for. Lifting complete sections from someone else’s resume would not be acceptable.
What makes you think that no one else has copied the same resume for the same position or that the hiring manager won’t Google a portion of your resume to see if it’s perhaps borrowed from somewhere else. They have and they will. Don’t risk your professional reputation by taking the easy way.
If you struggle with writing your resume there are resources available to help. Most cities have a career center designed to help job seekers or you could check with a local college or university to see if they have any services. Many times an employer will provide downsized employees with resume services and job search advice, if they do take advantage of them. There are also countless career professionals, counselors, coaches, and resume writers available for hire.
You can’t portray your authentic self if you are stealing the resume of someone else – no matter how closely it matches your situation. When it comes to your resume you need to own it. You will have the most success if your resume reflects you and not generic one size fits all content.
by Megan Koehler