5 Dangers Of Online Resume Samples

No one wants to spend money they don’t have to. If you’re in a job search, you may be tempted to try writing your own resume using samples you find online instead of hiring a resume writer. It's an investment, so it’s understandable you might want to save the money and DIY. However, the strategy of using content from resumes found online might end up costing you more in the long run.

Dangers Of Online Resume Samples

Many people don’t realize there are some possible negative consequences to using online samples. If you get tempted to recycle content you find online in your resume, heed these words of caution first. What’s the worst that could happen? Here’s what has been the result for some of my clients before they came to me:

1. Inauthentic

One client just didn’t feel like the resume she wrote for herself was really “her.” That’s because the words used by a professional writer are chosen because they represent that individual’s personality and talents well. Just because a word is commonly used in many samples, doesn’t mean it honestly describes you or is appropriate for your profession. The result is a document that just doesn’t match the personality of the candidate.

2. Errors

Clients come to me all the time with serious errors in their DIY resumes. There are many nuances of resume writing that take years to study and apply accurately. Grammar, formatting, and words that are overused or inappropriate for a resume can't be learned quickly from looking at samples online.

3. Outdated Design Or Content

One client looked online and wrote his own resume from samples only to hear me tell him how outdated it was. (Sorry!) He was pretty mad at himself for wasting the time after I explained that some “resume” websites are scams with incredibly antiquated samples, hoping to attract folks who just don’t know what an excellent, current resume looks like. (To avoid a scam site, look for a real person as the owner.) Note: Even some very talented resume writers sometimes have outdated samples on their websites. Staying current with the latest best practices is important to good writers and using these techniques in everyday writing for clients takes priority. Sometimes updating resumes on the website falls to the wayside until samples really need to be overhauled. To be cutting-edge, stay away copying from samples. If you're networking, (I hope you are, because you’re much more likely to see success with a little help from your friends) do you want to hand your contacts something outdated that could embarrass you later?

4. Not Strong Enough

Using content that was originally written for another person can sound generic and weak when reused. It’s crucial to describe your unique successes with language that substantiates the claims you are making about yourself. Please don’t be tempted to use overly general descriptors from samples online to fill out your resume. It will just sound lame. It is extremely important for those who have extenuating circumstances in their career to have a strong resume. If you’ve been let go, taken a sabbatical, made a big change, then you NEED to have every advantage. If you are applying online (tough enough for candidates who don't have difficult issues to overcome) do you want to risk your resume not making the cut because someone else had a much stronger one? When my clients use their resume that really packs a punch, plus networking, they see results so much faster! This is what you really must be focusing on to shorten your search.

5. Illegal

One client of mine was in a hiring capacity at her job. She told me that she always Googled the content of candidates’ resumes before interviewing them to be sure the person hadn’t just copied it from a website somewhere. If you use wording from other writers' samples, you could be breaking copyright law. Be careful with this. Being a plagiarist doesn’t make you look good in the eyes of an employer. The sample page on my website has a warning to this effect, but not all do. Given all of this, is it possible for you to write your own resume well? Maybe. It depends on whether you have the time to research how to do it properly, the expertise with the software, the ability to know what will resonate with the employer, and can create original content without copying others’ work. Of course, it might be better to just hire a writer. I even had help with mine! Whatever you decide, just please don’t use content from samples online. Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles: Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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