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Friends Don't Plagiarize Friends' Resumes

Article Title:  Friends Don't Plagiarize Friends' Resumes
Author Byline:  Liz Handlin
Author Website:

Earlier this week I received the following email from a client/friend of mine:

Hey Liz,

I hope you're doing well and business is still booming. I wanted to ask your opinion of something. After nine months, it has come to my attention that a former colleague/friend has plagiarized large sections of my resume (the one you helped me with). I offered it to her to use as a template when our employer was downsizing. We have been competing for the same contract jobs and she has recently undercut me for $10 less per hour on a 6-12 contract gig working with client of our former employer. The client assumed we had the same background and experience because we worked for the same employer and because she copied my resume. She's even posted part of it on LinkedIn along with other falsifications.

Any thoughts/ideas about what I can do?



My response was this:

Dear Brad,

I am so sorry to hear about this. If I could sue this woman for copyright infringement I would. This happened once before when another client did exactly what you did and shared his new resume that I wrote with a co-worker. The way I found out is that the co-worker/idiot who plagiarized his resume had the nerve to contact me to ask if there was "anything I could do to improve his resume" - I told him that he had already copied my work enough and that unless he wanted to pay me for the work he had copied that we had nothing to talk about.

In the future I recommend that you not show co-workers your resume because you really can't trust people not to screw you the way this woman has done. Plus, since you paid for the resume I would think you wouldn't want to give away the contents for free. I always get pissed when I find out that someone has plagiarized my resume work but I don't think there is much I can do about it short of copyrighting every resume I write and that probably wouldn't make my clients happy. This woman will get what's coming to her...what comes around usually goes around.



The point of this post is: keep your resume to yourself unless you don't mind if ambitious co-workers copy your work or, possibly, take credit for your accomplishments. A huge part of the service I provide is helping my clients to target and articulate accomplishments. Do you want your co-worker to see the way you have described your success on a project and say, "Hey, I worked on that project too so I am going to put that great sentence on my resume."? What if, like my friend Brad, you wind up competing with this co-worker for the same job?

There are many ways to support friends and co-workers that don't involve giving away your resume so think defensively and don't share personal information that others could use to boost their careers at the expense of yours.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


Steven Rothberg,

I agree with Liz that there is likely little that the rightful owner of the resume can do about the plagiarism, I disagree with the implication that the resume owner does not have a copyright on the resume. Copyrights are automatically created when you create new works such as resumes.

You don't need to put a copyright symbol onto them, you don't need to register them with any governmental or other entity, it just happens. Putting the (c) on your works and registering them with the trademark office provide you with extra protections, but when you create a resume (or pay someone to create one for you) then you own the copyright to it.

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