Want to distinguish your resume from every other resume on the recruiter’s desk? Yes, you can! And you don’t have to create one that looks like a patchwork quilt. This type of a resume is one where an individual copies phrases and sentences from other people’s career marketing documents (resume, cover letter, bio, LinkedIn Profile), and present them as their own.
This is a fairly common practice, and one that might start quite innocently. Someone might read a line or two from a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn Profile that sounds great, and feels it would fit snugly into their resume. The problem here though, is that this is no different from the many documented cases of high profile individuals who embellished their resumes with degrees, skills, experience and awards that they did not have.
One incident that comes to mind is the British-born chef who once had a successful cooking show on the cable channel Food Network. He cooked up a lie that he had been a chef at Buckingham Palace, and was even knighted by the Queen.
Some may argue that it’s a stretch to equate some of these famous lies with copying blocks of text or bits and pieces from other people’s job search documents and inserting them into a resume. But, you can bet if such a patchwork quilt resume lands on the desk of an eagle-eyed recruiter or hiring manager, one’s credibility could be called into question.
HOW TO SPOT A PATCHWORK QUILT RESUME
It is very easy to spot a patchwork quilt resume. The information is incoherent; statements are generic, and some phrases do not match the person’s level of experience or background. Actions like these only serve to damage one’s brand, and elicit accusations of copyright infringements, plagiarism, and ethics. The fact is, if you are not able to capture your uniqueness on paper (or online), then you are better off seeking professional assistance.
HERE ARE SOME FACTS:
- Your resume is a branding tool that tells YOUR story. It is authentic and compelling and showcases your value. This means, even if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night, you could easily and effortlessly articulate your accomplishments without fumbling. Why? Because you own those stories.
- You are unique! There is no one else like you, with the same experience, accomplishments and work ethic. Your co-worker may have the same job description and may do the same work like you, but he or she is not your clone. Differentiate yourself.
- Your aim is to create a resume that captures YOUR unique talents, accomplishments and experience. As much as you may be tempted to copy phrases, keywords and sentences from other people’s resumes because they sound good, it doesn’t help you in the long run. You are unique, and so should your resume.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Instead of copying your friend’s resume or searching the Internet for samples you can reproduce as your own, take a look at your job description and ask yourself these questions: “What have I done with all the responsibilities I was given? What is my legacy in that role? How has the company benefitted from my presence?”
- Read each job description statement and apply the ‘so what?’ principle to each. If one of your responsibilities is to “monitor and analyze sales promotion results...” Ask yourself, “So what? What did I do? What happened? “What was the outcome?”
- Review your performance appraisals and comments from your boss and your peers. What is consistent about those comments? Do they highlight your strengths? Also, look for nuggets of your contributions from projects you worked on, objectives met and targets exceeded.
- Start building a resume that tells YOUR story. For years you have been accumulating education, training, and experience and depositing them into your skills bank. Now all you need to do is to tap into that bank, withdraw the experience and achievements that relate to the position you are targeting, and you are ready to craft a resume that’s uniquely yours. In doing so, make sure each statement addresses your value proposition, and answers the “Why should we hire you?” question.
In this highly-connected digital environment that we occupy, a patchwork quilt resume will not work. In fact, it does not speak to the real you, and will more likely give the impression you have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. You goal should be to craft a resume that reflects who you really are, and not one that could damage your brand.
Need professional assistance? Reach out to someone who can help you tell your unique story to make you stand out from your competitors.