When is it a bad idea to share your executive resume?

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A colleague you’ve been friends with for years is ready to move up in his career. Or, he’s scared because of a looming layoff. Whatever the scenario might be, you want to help.

In that vein, you share some tips, offer to serve as a reference, and even send him the shiny new executive resume you just paid a professional to write.

“Maybe my new resume will give you some ideas!” you tell him.

I speak from experience when I say that it might be more than just some “ideas.”

What I’ve seen

I’ve seen it happen multiple times now over the years. Someone books an initial consultation with me to discuss the possibility of becoming a client; they say they were referred by one of my past clients.

Before the call, they send me their resume. I open it up, and WOW! Boy, does it look and sound familiar.

Not only have they used the same format that I created for their friend’s resume, but they have, ahem, “borrowed” a lot of the wording.

What’s the problem?

You might be thinking that this is no big deal. You want to help your friend, and you shared your resume with the hope that it would be helpful to them.

However, if you’re in the same industry or profession as someone, there’s a decent chance that:

  • Some of the same recruiters might be looking at both of you.
  • You might be applying at some of the same companies.
  • You might end up interviewing for some of the same jobs.

If your friend’s resume looks and sounds the same as yours, this could lead to confusion. Let’s say you send your resume to a recruiter and she opens it, then mistakenly confuses it with your friend’s resume that she looked at several weeks ago. “Oh, that guy again?” she thinks to herself. “He wasn’t the right fit for that EVP search I’m doing, so no need to waste my time talking to him again.”

The bottom line

Standing out from the pack is critical when you’re competing for sought-after executive roles. If you invested in professional help with your executive resume and LinkedIn profile, one of the primary reasons was probably so you could differentiate yourself. Think carefully before doing anything that would negate the time, effort, and money you spent on differentiation.


This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com