A C-level executive recently told me he was so impressed with a resume sample of mine that he was tempted to copy some of it. Instead, he decided to work with me to create one capturing his own unique promise of value and written for his career target.
You probably know that thousands of good resumes are readily available online and thousands of resume books are full of thousands more.
Because strategic resume writing is always changing to meet the needs of hiring decision makers, it’s a good idea to take a look at up-to-date samples by top resume writers to get a handle on new trends in formatting and what kind of relevant key words and content to include.
But it’s not okay to actually use the content. Why?
A great resume uniquely brands that specific job seeker. What you read in a sample may sort of sound like you, but it really isn’t you.
Don’t you want hiring decision makers to clearly know what differentiates you from everyone else and why your value proposition and ROI make you the best hiring choice? You can only do that by differentiating your resume with your own personal brand message crystallizing your own unique combination of key attributes, pivotal strengths, and passions.
The achievements on the sample couldn’t possible be the same as yours. The situations, people involved, numbers, and facts are all different.
Your own approach to solving the problem that led to the achievement will provide the evidence to back up your personal brand promise. Don’t settle for some generic achievement that sounds good, but doesn’t specifically brand how you make things happen.
Your resume needs to target the specific kind of job you’re seeking and resonate with hiring decision makers assessing people for that job.
The sample that’s tantalizing you can’t possibly align what you have to offer with the stated qualifications for the job(s) you’re seeking. You HAVE to determine the key functional areas required for the job and pump your resume with your expertise and contributions in those specific areas.
The formatting of your resume depends upon the compelling content you’re working with and how best to position your value promise.
Create the content first and then decide on the format. Don’t just choose a template and fill in the blanks.
Even though the resume samples you see probably have fictionalized names and other identifying information, they’re most likely real resumes written for real people who may still be actively job searching.
The resume sample that you copy may be in circulation right now for the same jobs you’re interested in. It may be hitting the computer screens or desks of the same recruiters and hiring decision makers you’re trying to impress.
How do you think it will impact your chances, if someone reviewing your resume realizes it’s suspiciously similar to another one they’ve got in their files?
“Using” published content is stealing and violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
ANYTHING published online is automatically copyrighted to the author, whether or not they clearly state the copyright. Integrity is a critical attribute for any business leader worth her or his salt. Certainly, your ethics should dissuade you from plagiarizing.
If that doesn’t stop you, do you really want to risk a law suit that could possibly tarnish your online and offline brand reputation?
There’s just no way around it — you have to invest the time and do the work yourself or hire a professional (and still expect to do some hard work), if you want to make your mark in today’s overly-competitive executive job search landscape.