Should You Really Copy Someone Else's Resume?

John Krautzel
Posted by

Standing out from other job applicants can be tough. Your resume is your ticket to your new career, but there's no guarantee that it will actually get you in. You can tip the odds in your favor by using a resume template. However, it's not as simple as just finding one and plugging in your information. How you use your template is going to have a huge impact on the results.

You may be wondering if using a resume template could backfire when applying for jobs. After all, there's always a chance that the hiring manager might have seen identical resumes in the past, and it's not hard to run it through a plagiarism checker. These fears are legitimate, and that's why you should never simply use a resume template and leave it as is. There are steps you can take to customize and personalize your resume so it fits you specifically.

Start by changing the wording. There are plenty of synonyms out there, so go ahead and make your resume unique. You can also shift the sentence structures to further differentiate your document. While this may feel like a form of plagiarism, the reality is that many of today's professional resume writers do the same thing. Much like how restaurants often follow similar recipes and adjust them to their needs, there's nothing wrong with taking a phrase or format from a resume template and tweaking it to make it your own. Of course, that philosophy doesn't apply in most other writing cases, but it's nothing to be ashamed of in a resume setting.

Another trick is to borrow ideas from multiple resume templates. There are plenty out there, so why not grab the best bits from all of them, creating a powerhouse resume that you can be proud to show confidently when seeking employment? You can also collaborate with friends, family members, and colleagues to get unique perspectives for your resume.

When applying for jobs, you don't need to use the same exact resume for every position. If you're applying for a customer service position, you should use a resume that highlights your experience interacting with people. If you're applying for a labor role, your related skills should be at the forefront. Your resume should always be evolving and changing. If you're rejected for a position, take a hard look at your resume and try to make improvements. Cater your resume to whatever position and organization your trying to join, and you'll boost your chances considerably.

Don't be afraid to use a resume template for inspiration, but try to keep it specific. You're only going to hurt yourself if you use generic words, regardless of how professional they sound. Make sure your resume clearly highlights exactly what you bring to the table. If using a resume template helps you to create a resume that truly embodies and highlights your unique skills, passions and experiences, there's nothing wrong with that.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch